All the nations will be blessed in you
Galatians 2:17-3:9 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
17 But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
3 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, 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?
6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Paul continues to address the issue of faith verses works in today’s text. He says: “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” We know though that the Law could not bring about righteousness in man. Rather, the Law merely shows man what God’s standard of righteousness is. In Romans 7:7-11 Paul says: What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. From the very beginning, when God gave Adam and Eve one commandment, saying they should not eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were unable to live by the standard of righteousness of God. God created them and us with a free will, an ability to choose what we will do in respect to God’s Law, God’s standard of righteousness. The fruit Adam and Eve ate from opened their eyes to good and evil. They and every one of us must choose between good and evil. From the very beginning God, knowing man would be unable to live according to His righteousness, made another way. In Genesis 3:15 God says, to the serpent: “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” God planned to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem man from the curse of sin.
Still we all have a choice. Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19) For us, the choice is not whether we will follow the Law, for us the choice is whether or not we will believe in the only begotten Son of God, whether we will receive salvation through faith in Christ. Our actions, whether good or evil will be a result of our choice, whether we believe. Jesus continues in John 3:20-21: “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Our faith in Christ, our believing in Him and in the love demonstrated on the cross should cause us to live righteously through Him. What we cannot do on our own, Jesus enables and empowers us to do.
Paul also says, in today’s text: The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” This blessing of all the nations is not a birthright blessing. It is not to those who can trace their lineage to Abraham. If that were the case then many would be excluded. God does not exclude anyone because of their heritage. In Matthew 18:14 Jesus says: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. God’s free gift of salvation is for anyone who believes in His Son. It is not according to our birthright, the family or nation we are born into. Instead as Romans 8:14-17 says: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. In today’s text Paul asks: 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? So then, 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?
Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. We have a choice, a choice of whether to live by our own works, whether to believe that we are saved because of what we do or who we are, or to choose to believe, to live by faith and let that faith in Christ be our righteousness, our inheritance.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You that it is not who I am or what I do that matters. It is who You are and what You did, Jesus. I choose to believe. I choose by faith to receive the new inheritance in Christ. I choose to live and walk by the Spirit. In the name of Jesus, the only name by which men can be saved, I pray. Amen