Study 18: Ch.3:6-9
Even as Abraham
Every section of this epistle is marked
between: Spirit and flesh and faith and the works
of the law, and as we move
into a more formal teaching section Paul continues with
Even as Abraham
believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of
Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify
heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying,
In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith
are blessed with faithful Abraham.
previous study we saw
that Paul brought the Galatians back to their beginnings in the things
God, and demonstrated that they as they
had begun in the
Spirit, and by faith, they could not then expect to live the Christian
life in the flesh and by the works of the law. Paul now goes one step
further and takes us back to God's
beginnings with Abraham, for he is
declared here and elsewhere that he is the father of the
his argument, both here and in Romans, Paul demonstrates that
justification by faith was before the Mosaic law and has always
way into salvation, whatever the dispensation.
He therefore that ministereth
to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the
works of the law, or by
the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God,
those who minister
the Spirit in Galatia as having faith even as Abraham
believed God, so to
have a better understanding of Paul's teaching we need to
consider Abraham's life and highlight those parts pertinent
our theme. So we will briefly consider the main parts of his life as
they relate to our subject.
1. The call of
the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will
thee: And I will make of
thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will
bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth
thee: and in
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
By faith Abraham,
when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive
for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he
went. By faith
sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in
tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same
promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations,
builder and maker is God.
question we can ask
is: why did Paul single out Abraham's faith as the
example, and not say
Enoch, or Abel? These other men were men of faith as the Hebrew epistle
tells us, so why Abraham? The answer lies in the plan God had for
him. Up until the latter parts of Gen. 11
God was dealing
with individuals, Abel, Seth, Methuselah, Noah to name a few, but with
Abraham there was something new; God called him to be the father of a
multitude, God had not made this promise to any of the previous
saints, there was something different going on here.
God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, this was of God's
doing and not by any works of the flesh:
Abraham didn't decide to uproot and seek God by himself and make up the
promise he received, how could he?
As far as we know he was a heathen in that land. God chose to
appear to him and called him out of from his
family. Now we
know Abraham's obedience at this stage wasn't perfect, but he responded
believing God. There was no effort of
the flesh at all, just simple obedience to the spoken word of God.
was learning from God,
and he made mistakes; we know he went down to Egypt, and lied and had
to return to the place where he left off, (what a lesson that is for
us!) He parted with Lot, and gave him the choice of the land being
quite happy to trust God wherever he had to go. He then had to rescue
Lot from some invading kings, and refusing to take any earthly reward
from the king of Sodom. He then met a mysterious priest to whom he gave
tithes. But then God appeared to him once more.
these things the
word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram:
I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord
GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of
my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me
thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not
be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels
shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and
Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number
them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he
counted it to him for righteousness.
for Abraham (of
course he was still called Abram at this point) was that he
had no son to
inherit the promise of being the father of a great
God was teaching Abraham that His ways are not man's. Abraham
to fulfil God's promise by his own efforts, here he wanted his
servant's son to be the heir; but God said no, he was to have a child
from his own body, his own seed.
And then we have the declaration that Abraham believed God,
was counted for righteousness. Abraham believed the word of God to Him
despite the impossibility of it on the natural level. We note
that there was no work on
Abraham's part, no effort of the flesh, he didn't have to
himself up and say ' I must believe this';
God spoke His word and faith was
created in this man. It took many along year for him to see God's
fulfillment in bringing forth Isaac, but here right know his
faith was counted for righteousness.
Faith has always the been the basis by which God
has dealt with men
and women, the eleventh chapter of Hebrews makes this clear.
Notice in the opening verses of the Hebrews chapter that the saints
before Abraham were declared righteous by faith, and pleased God by it.
And then it says it is impossible to please God without
just as in the sixth chapter of Hebrews the writer says it is
impossible for God to lie. It can not be clearer than that! Faith is
the basis of 'doing business' with God.
Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of
God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do
appear. By faith Abel offered
unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained
witness that he was
righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being
dead yet speaketh. By
faith Enoch was
translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God
had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony,
that he pleased God. But
without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God
must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him.
Now these saints were before the giving of
so it is quite clear that Abel, Enoch and Noah could not please God by
keeping the law! So we can conclude that we can please God without the
works of the law. Paul takes up a similar argument in Romans.
Even as David also
describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth
righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man
to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon
the circumcision only,
or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith
was reckoned to
Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned?
when he was in circumcision, or in
uncircumcision? Not in
circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the
righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that
he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not
circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the
father of circumcision to them who are not of the
circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our
father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise,
that he should be the heir of the world, was
not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the
righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law
be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no
transgression. Therefore it is of
faith, that it might be by grace; to the
end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which
is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who
is the father of us all,
be part of the congregation of Israel one had to be
physically circumcised Lev. 12:2-3
and no one could partake of the Passover lest they were.
important was this ritual that no one was considered a part of the
nation of Israel unless they were circumcised. And to be part of the
nation circumcision was essential.
So Paul's analysis of Abraham is vital. He shows that
belief came whilst he was uncircumcised, that is when he wouldn't be
considered a part of the nation of Israel! Now let
clearly here: circumcision is a work of the flesh, so if Abraham
could only believe after he were circumcised it would have
been as a result
of a work of the flesh, for he would had done something in
to believe. Yet that wasn't the case he believed BEFORE
he was circumcised, before he received anything, he believed just
because God spoke to him. In other words Abraham believed simply what
God said, he trusted that God did not lie.
His faith and pleasing God was not the result of
|What shall we say then that
Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham
were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the
scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for
righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the
reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness......
....(As it is written, I have
made thee a father of many
nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the
dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
hope believed in hope, that he might become the
father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall
thy seed be.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body
now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the
deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise
of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully
persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it
was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not
written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also,
to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus
our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered
for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Rom. 4:15; 17-25
point in the first
few verses is clear, Abraham either obtained the
works, or by faith. If he had been justified by works then he
would have obtained the promise by his own effort and would therefore
have something to boast of, and God would then have given him
because He would have been in debt to Abraham; but this was
not the case.
Now this is important because it is vital to explain
can not be worked up. To hear some preachers one would think one has to
stir oneself up in the flesh in order to believe and have true faith.
Some say if you don't have healing, for example, it's because you don't
have enough faith; consequently people strive to work themselves into a
frenzy in order to 'gain' this faith! This is a work of the
flesh, and if it worked this way then healing
would a work of the flesh, with God as
had no heir, and
forbidden him to take children of anyone else to be the heir;
and his wife had
gone well past the natural age of child bearing,
had gone. There was no way he could have a son as God had promised,
impossibility was written all over the page. Even if Abraham
stirred himself into a frenzy, that would have been of no avail, how
could working oneself up reverse the natural processes of age? (cmp. Mtt.6:27-28)
God fulfilled his own promise Himself all would have
vain. Abraham though staggered
not through unbelief; whatever the outward circumstances
Abraham stood firm, he did not waver at what God had
promised he just trusted God and believed that what He
he would perform it .
And it is this sort of faith that identifies us with Abraham
if we are born again. Just simple trust in God and what He
promised. No works of the flesh involved , no self effort, no
trying to gain credit in God's eyes. Once God has spoken the word to us
faith is created in us and we just simply believe God. And
is how we are to continue in the Christian life: not by the works of the
law, nor by the works of the flesh trying to gain credit with
God We are to walk in the same way we came into new life: by
If we are truly born again
we are sons of Abraham, in this sense. And it is this that we shall
take up in the next study.