Blessed with Faithful Abraham Gal. 3:1-14 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
After Paul had preached the gospel to the Galatians, someone else, who was obviously a law abiding Jew, persuaded the Galatians that they had to keep the law in order to be blessed with faithful Abraham [Gal 3:9]. Those preaching this perverted gospel believed that people who keep the law are considered children of Abraham and are thus justified. Remember how the Pharisees justified themselves by testifying that Abraham was their father [Jn 8:39; Matt 3:9].
To counter this perversion of the gospel, Paul showed the Galatians that it is by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law that Gentiles and Jews are blessed with faithful Abraham. After the coming of Christ, a person who is “in Christ Jesus,” [Gal 3:28] is Abraham’s seed, whether he is Jew or Gentile, and is thus justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law [Gal 2:16].
When God promised Abraham that “in thee shall all nations be blessed,” [Gal 3:8] he testified that not only Jews but also Gentiles would be included in the promises made to Abraham [Gal 3:16]. By faith we are blessed with:
The promise of the Spirit – Gal 3:1-5, 14 – as Abraham received imputed righteousness by faith [Gal 3:6], even so we receive the promise of the Spirit by faith [Gal 3:14] – in Gal 3:1 the promise of the Spirit necessitated the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ [Gal 1:6-9; Jn 16:7] which Paul preached plainly – so the promise of the Spirit is not something that could have been given to Abraham, but was given to his seed through Jesus Christ – in Gal 3:2 the Spirit is received by the hearing of faith and not by the works of the law [Acts 2:38-41; 10:44] – in Gal 3:3 after receiving the promise of the Spirit a man cannot be perfected by the flesh [Gal 5:17] – in Gal 3:4 after receiving the promise of the Spirit men often suffer reproach because self-righteous men despise the simplicity of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ [2 Cor 11:3] – what the Galatians suffered was not in vain if they turned away from those perverting the gospel – in Gal 3:5 even the man preaching the perverted gospel could only minister the Spirit and do miracles through faith and not by the law.
Imputed righteousness – Gal 3:6 – as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness even so we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and righteousness is imputed to us [Rom 3:21-22; Rom 4:3-7].
The adoption as children of Abraham – Gal 3:7 – as it concerns the promise of the Spirit, the promise of imputed righteousness and the promise of justification, it matters not whether a person is a natural born descendent of Abraham or whether he is under the yoke of the law [Rom 4:9-13] – these promises, unlike Israel’s promised land grant, for instance, are spiritual promises given to the spiritual “children of Abraham,” who become his children by faith [Rom 4:11, 16]. Note: we do not replace Israel in the physical promises that God made to Abraham.
Justification – Gal 3:8-13 – In Gen 18:18 and Gen 22:18, the scripture preached the “gospel” to Abraham saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed” – the scripture foresaw and it preached the justification of the heathen through faith – the scripture did not preach to Abraham justification through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ though Abraham believed that God would provide himself a lamb [Gen 22:8; Jn 1:29] and that he would resurrect Isaac to fulfill the promise to his seed [Heb 11:17-19] foreshadowing the work of Jesus Christ in salvation [Jn 8:56] – Isaac then was a type of Christ – thus we see very distinct differences in the result of Abraham’s faith in what God said, and the result of our faith in the finished word of Jesus Christ on Calvary – Abraham’s righteousness was imputed in Gen 15:6 but he was not justified until Gen 22 [Jas 2:21] – we receive our imputed righteousness and our justification at the moment of salvation – Abraham was physically circumcised; we are spiritually circumcised [Col 2:11-12] – Abraham was not baptized into the body of Christ but we are.
In Gal 3:9, when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are “of faith” and thus we are blessed with faithful Abraham [“in thee shall all nations be blessed”] – in Gal 3:10, when we attempt to be justified by the works of the law, we are “of the works of the law” and are therefore “under the curse” of Deut 27:26 – see the contrast being blessed and being cursed – in Gal 3:11, a man can’t be justified by the law because “the just shall live by faith” [Hab 2:4] – Paul purposely omitted “his” when quoting Hab 2:4 because in the New Testament the faith of Christ in salvation is a gift [Eph 2:8-9, Gal 2:20] – in Gal 3:12, the law is not of faith, it’s strictly of works [Lev 18:5, Rom 10:5] – in Gal 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us [Deut 21:23; 2 Cor 5:21] – thus in Gal 3:14, the blessing of Abraham [Gal 3:8] comes on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Conclusion: Paul does a masterful job of reasoning that the promise of the Spirit could in no way come to the Galatians through the works of the law – thus they should turn away from the man who perverted the gospel by demanding that they keep the law to perfect their salvation – they have completed salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.