Our Sunday school class has been studying Galatians lately and today we were in chapter 3. The chapter starts out pretty strong with Paul asking them “who has bewitched you?” Apparently the Judaizers, who came in telling them they had to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses, had them all types of confused.
Paul, on a past visit, had preached the gospel to them, and miraculous things started to happen among them through God’s Spirit, but now they seemed to be wavering a bit, actually being tempted to put themselves under the Law of Moses. So Paul asked them “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” He then went on to ask, “does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”
The next thing Paul does is to point the reader back in time to Abraham the father of the faith. He says, “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” You see Abraham simply heard God and believed Him that’s it! Abraham is Paul’s go to man when it comes to illustrating a life lived by faith and rightfully so. After all, God gave Abraham a promise and he simply believed. Abraham had no Bible, sacrificial system, temple to worship in, history of believers in his family, and there didn’t appear to be any priest or preacher he could consult. He simply heard God and believed Him. Amazing!
You see the Apostle Paul is telling the Galatians, and we who live by faith, that is exactly what we’re called to do. We don’t live according to a set of laws or traditions but by the promise of God. In fact anyone attempting to live according to Law is charged with observing every bit of it. The life lived according to the Law actually ends in a curse because none of us are capable of perfect obedience. The good news is Jesus Christ became the curse for us by hanging on a tree so that we could be made righteous.
I think God has always wanted people who would simply hear Him and do what He says. The Law was only given as a keeper, or schoolmaster, until Christ came. Now that Christ has come we are no longer under the authority of the schoolmaster in fact it has actually served it’s purpose because it’s whole reason for existing was because of transgressions until the way of faith in Christ was opened. Now that Christ has come, we place our faith in Him and live according to the promises of God, not a set of laws.
Many don’t understand our true predicament as fallen people. According to the scriptures we aren’t simply bad people who need to be good, we’re actually dead people who need to be enlivened. In fact that’s what Christ came here to do. He didn’t come to make bad people good, He came to make dead people live. With that in mind we can agree with Paul when he said, “If a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.” The truth is “we are all shut up under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Don’t you love the simple yet wise plan of God? Jesus is the seed of Abraham and through Him all nations truly are blessed.