Saturday, March 22, 2008

Salvation Unavailable by Obeying the Law

Blessing Comes Through Faith

Galatians 3

1You people in Galatia were told very clearly about the death of Jesus Christ
on the cross. But you were foolish; you let someone trick you. 2Tell me this one
thing: How did you receive the Holy Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by
following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the Good News
and believed it. 3You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying
to make it complete by your own power? That is foolish. 4Were all your
experiences wasted? I hope not! 5Does God give you the Spirit and work
miracles among you because you follow the law? No, he does these things
because you heard the Good News and believed it.

6The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham: “Abraham believed God,
and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.”
7So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith.
8The Scriptures, telling what would happen in the future, said that God would
make the non-Jewish people right through their faith. This Good News was told
to Abraham beforehand, as the Scripture says: “All nations will be blessed
through you.” 9So all who believe as Abraham believed are blessed just as
Abraham was. 10But those who depend on following the law to make them right
are under a curse, because the Scriptures say, “Anyone will be cursed who does
not always obey what is written in the Book of the Law.” 11Now it is clear that
no one can be made right with God by the law, because the Scriptures say,
“Those who are right with God will live by trusting in him.” 12The law is not
based on faith. It says, “A person who obeys these things will live because of
them.” 13Christ took away the curse the law put on us. He changed places with
us and put himself under that curse. It is written in the Scriptures, “Anyone
whose body is displayed on a tree is cursed.” 14Christ did this so that God’s
blessing promised to Abraham might come through Jesus Christ to those who are
not Jews. Jesus died so that by our believing we could receive the Spirit that God

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers and sisters, let us think in human terms: Even an agreement made
between two persons is firm. After that agreement is accepted by both people, no
one can stop it or add anything to it. 16God made promises both to Abraham and
to his descendant. God did not say, “and to your descendants.” That would mean
many people. But God said, “and to your descendant.” That means only one
person; that person is Christ. 17This is what I mean: God had an agreement with
Abraham and promised to keep it. The law, which came four hundred thirty years
later, cannot change that agreement and so destroy God’s promise to Abraham.
18If the law could give us Abraham’s blessing, then the promise would not be
necessary. But that is not possible, because God freely gave his blessings to
Abraham through the promise he had made.

19So what was the law for? It was given to show that the wrong things people
do are against God’s will. And it continued until the special descendant, who had
been promised, came. The law was given through angels who used Moses for a
mediator to give the law to people. 20But a mediator is not needed when there is
only one side, and God is only one.

The Purpose of the Law of Moses

21Does this mean that the law is against God’s promises? Never! That would
be true only if the law could make us right. But God did not give a law that can
bring life. 22Instead, the Scriptures showed that the whole world is bound by sin.
This was so the promise would be given through faith to people who believe in
Jesus Christ.

23Before this faith came, we were all held prisoners by the law. We had no
freedom until God showed us the way of faith that was coming. 24In other words,
the law was our guardian leading us to Christ so that we could be made right with
God through faith. 25Now the way of faith has come, and we no longer live under
a guardian.

26-27You were all baptized into Christ, and so you were all clothed with
Christ. This means that you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
28In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person,
male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. 29You belong to Christ, so
you are Abraham’s descendants. You will inherit all of God’s blessings because
of the promise God made to Abraham.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

Galatians 3:1-4:7


Some Galatian believers were in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2). They already knew that God freely gave the Holy Spirit.


Paul used Abraham's example (Genesis 5) to prove that Old Testament Believers were also saved by faith.


I have often been asked by young Christians: "Why is it that I fail so? I did so solemnly vow with whole heart, and did desire to serve God; why have I failed?" To such I always give the one answer: "My dear friend, you are trying to do in our own strength what Christ alone can do in you.” And when they tell me: "I am sure I knew Christ alone

could do it, I was not trusting in myself." my answer always this: "You were trusting in yourself or you could not have failed. If you had trusted Christ, He could not have failed.” Oh, this perfecting in he flesh what was begun in he Spirit runs far deeper through us than we knew. Let s ask God to reveal to us that it is only when we are brought to utter shame and emptiness that we shall be prepared to receive the blessing that comes from on high.... I ask it of every member of Christ's church and of every believer: Are you living a life under the power of the Holy Spirit day by day, or are you attempting to live without that? Remember you cannot. Are you consecrated, given up to the Spirit to work and live in you? Oh, come and confess every failure of temper, every failure of the tongue however small, and every failure owing to the absence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the power of self.

(From "Having Begun in the Spirit" by Andrew Murray in They Walked with God)


Paul warned: Don't be tricked. Don't let anyone think that you must win God's approval. Rejoice that if you are God's child his love toward you is endless.


Law's Inferiority-Romans 3:19-20; 4:13-25; 8:3; Galatians 5:4-6; Hebrews 3:1-6; 8:7-13.

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