Friday, March 12, 2010

Children of Abraham

Part 7 of a series through Galatians

Text: Galatians 3:1-9

FOOLISH GALATIANS

Have you ever done something really foolish? “You foolish Galatians!” The Galatians weren’t stupid. But they were acting foolishly. He calls them “foolish” twice (vv. 1, 3). What the Galatians were doing was so foolish that Paul wonders (not seriously) if they had been “bewitched”—if a spell had been cast on them!

Paul had clearly presented the message of justification by faith in the crucified Christ. Now he is astonished that they are embracing a different gospel—a gospel of faith plus the law.

FATHER ABRAHAM

Paul’s enemies (the Judaizers) were saying that Gentile believers could not be justified unless they believe in Christ plus follow the law (circumcision). So Paul uses the example of Abraham, the father of the Jews, to prove that justification is by faith alone.
  • Abraham was justified before he was circumcised (v. 6; cf. Genesis 15:6; 17:10-11; Romans 4:9-11). Three times in Scripture we find God crediting (imputing) sin or righteousness to someone else: (1) When Adam sinned, his sin was credited to us; (2) when Christ died, our sin was credited to Him; (3) when we put our faith in Christ, His righteousness was credited to us. “God made [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • Abraham is the prototype of the Gentile Christian (Romans 4:11b-12).

BY FAITH

In Sunday School, we used to sing a song called “Father Abraham”:

Father Abraham had many sons,
And many sons had Father Abraham;
And I am one of them, and so are you,
So let’s all praise the Lord!

What does it mean to be a child of Abraham?
  1. Being a child of Abraham doesn’t mean physically descending from Abraham (John 8:39).
  2. Being a child of Abraham means having the faith of Abraham (v. 7).
  3. Being a child of Abraham means being blessed through Abraham (vv. 8-9; Genesis 12:1-3; 17:3-5). The ultimate blessing through Abraham is justification by faith. Justification removes two great fears: (1) the fear of standing before a holy God and (2) the fear of death.

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