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Are You A Son Of Abraham?

Paul has spent the first two chapters of Galatians defending his ministry and the gospel.  In chapter 3, he has turned his attention to giving doctrinal reasons for not following the Judaizers who are false teachers.  In verses 1 through 5, Paul states that the Galatians received the Spirit by faith, not works.  He continues his discussion in verses 6 through 9 today.

In verse 6, Paul says Even so, Abraham BELIEVED GOD AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  You can almost hear the false teachers screaming with pride to the Galatians:  Follow us!!! We are the sons of Abraham.  For Paul to bring up Abraham at this point, word had to be getting  back to Paul that they were using this to further this case.  As someone who zealous for the Law at one time, Paul knew where these false teachers were coming from.  So, he set outs to show the Galatians that the Judaizers are wrong.

Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 in Galatians 3:6.  In Genesis, the Lord had come to Paul in a vision.  He told Abraham that He would his shield and his reward would be great.  Abraham tells the Lord that he is childless and his servant will be his heir.  God tells Abraham he will produce offspring from his own body and takes him outside and shows him the stars.  He says that his descendants will outnumber the stars.  Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

Abraham didn’t work for his righteousness.  He simply believed.  He had faith.  So, Paul is saying to the Galatians, “Why would God require more from you than He did from Abraham?”  The Lord did not require Law from Abraham.  Why is he suddenly requiring Law from you?

Paul says in verse 7, therefore , be sure  that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  Here, Paul explicitly says that those who come to faith in Christ are sons of Abraham.  Paul is exploding the thought that to be a son of Abraham, you had to be born a Jew.  We might recall Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees as this point.  In John 8:39, the Pharisees claim Abraham as their father.  Jesus tells them to do the deeds of Abraham.  What did Abraham do?  Believed.  Paul expands on what Jesus said and says that birth does not guarantee whether you are in Abraham’s line or not.  It’s believing as Abraham believed and having his faith.

Verse 8 is curious.  Paul writes The Scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham saying ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.  Think about what Paul is saying here.  He tells the Galatians that God justifies Gentiles by faith and that the scriptures testify to this.  The scriptures that Paul is talking about is what we call the Old Testament.  Then he says that the gospel was preached to Abraham in Genesis 12:3.  This is when God initially calls Abram.  The Lord tells Abram to leave his family and country and go to a land that He would show him.  God said that he would bless those that bless him and curse those that curse him.  And all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.

Let’s simplify that for a second.  Basically God is saying, “Abram, I am going to start a nation out of you.  Out of that nation will come the means to bless the world.”  This is the gospel.  Is it the full nature of the gospel as we know it?  No, but Paul calls this the gospel.  The blessing is Jesus Christ and to partake of this blessing requires the same thing that Abraham did:  BELIEVE.  Paul explicitly says this in verse 9: So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham the believer.

What does this mean for us in the 21st century who are 2,000 years removed from what Paul is talking about?

1.  Physical birth is not the same as spiritual birth.  It doesn’t matter who our parents are or what church we are born into.  Our backgrounds do not matter when it comes to faith.

2.  We must believe like Abraham.  Abraham believed in the impossible and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  He had faith that God could give him a son in his old age.

3.  Faith gives us a new family.  If we are sons of Abraham for believing as he did, we gain a whole new set of brothers and sisters.

4.  Faith takes a load off of us.  No longer do we have to work for our salvation.

5.  Faith makes it possible for us to carry the blessing.  God promised that all the nations will be blessed.  We are blessed and we carry that blessing with us to others.

6.  Faith leads us to be justified.  We are acquitted in front of God for all of our sins.  We are not guilty.

7.  Faith allows us to have the Spirit.  Claiming to be a son of Abraham means little.  Unless you believe as Abraham did, you won’t receive the Spirit.

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