… in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29 NRSV)
Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest leveler that there is! It is ‘through faith’ that we become ‘children of God’ by believing in him and what he has done for us, and in who he is and trusting in him alone. Also when we are baptized we clothe ourselves with Christ, so when God the Father sees us he only sees us in Christ, this means he sees us all the same as he sees each one of us in Christ.
It is because of this that there is no longer any division between us on grounds of race and religion, ‘Jew or Greek’, on grounds of social or economic status, ‘slave or free’, or on grounds of gender, ‘male or female’. We are all of equal standing and importance united in Christ.
As Jesus was Abraham’s offspring and the heir to the promise that God gave to Abraham, so we are now also heirs to those promises as we are now in Christ.
These truths say a massive amount about who we are as Christians, and about how we should live.
Who we are? We are…
- All equal;
- A people of promise;
- A people of faith;
- In Christ Jesus;
- Under grace not law;
- Children of God;
How should we live? We should live…
- Through faith;
- In unity (though not uniformity);
- As free people;
- As God’s friends and family;
- By grace.
Let’s really get hold of who we are in Christ Jesus, it will transform us both individually and corporately!
Posted in Devotions, Galatians, Thoughts On...
Tagged Abraham, Christ, faith, family, freedom, grace, heirs, Jesus, promise, unity
Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed. (Galatians 3:6-9 NRSV)
In Paul’s argument for righteousness by faith not by works this passage is central! We are justified by faith alone because it has in fact always been that way!
Abraham was righteous because he believed God and put his trust in him, and all who believe are his descendants, whether they are Jew or Gentile. In fact God declared the Gospel even to Abraham when he declared, ‘All Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ Which they are through Jesus death on the cross, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
God made promises to Abraham which he believed, these promises actually had a far greater scope than Abraham could have imagined yet we only receive those promises the same way as he did, by belief and by faith, not by works.
This is another reason why Paul looks to Abraham as the father of faith rather than Moses or anyone else. Moses lived by faith, yet he will always be associated with the law, not with grace. Abraham, on the other hand, predated the law, and the covenants that God made with him were not conditional of works being fulfilled. Abraham’s part was to believe, God’s part was to fulfil what he had promised.
If we are true descendants of Abraham then any works we do will not be to try to make ourselves right with God, but as a result of our belief in God. We will want to do what God wants as a demonstration of our faith in him. After all true obedience to God is an act of faith. It is an outward expression of the faith we have.
Let’s walk in Abraham’s blessing, and as we are blessed through him, so let us be a blessing to others!
Posted in Devotions, Galatians, Thoughts On...
Tagged Abraham, blessing, cross, faith, grace, Jesus, law, Moses, righteousness, works
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21 NRSV)
No one is justified through fulfilling the law, because none of us are capable of fulfilling the law. Jesus fulfilled the law on all counts so did not deserve to die, but he did to break the hold of sin on everyone else.
Each of us was crucified with Christ, not because by doing so makes his death more effective, but because all our sinful nature must die so we can truly live our lives with Jesus, or more correctly so he can now live his life in and through each one of us.
Our whole lives should be lived ‘by faith’ in Jesus who died as a substitutionary sacrifice in our place. If we think, live or act as if anything we do can justify us then we are living hypocritical lives and saying that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was worth nothing and has no power. But this is not true, Christ’s death is totally efficacious in every way and is powerful as here the hold of sin on each of us was broken if we only accept the finished work of the cross in our lives.
We are justified by faith in Christ alone!
Also if we live as if we are justified by our own efforts then we make the gospel of no effect and will not be able to proclaim it with power and authority, if we proclaim it at all!
Heavenly Father, help me always to remember that we are only saved by faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and by that alone. Help me never to fall into legalism, the hypocrisy that goes with it and so cheapen your work on the cross. In your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.