Year 3 Day 53
Read - Galatians 3
Message - Scott Woodburn
How is anyone saved? It is not by human work but instead by an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation does not happen unless the Spirit works and raises a spiritually dead individual to life. That individual is born again and with a new will freely chooses Christ as Saviour. Salvation is all of God and all of grace.
Sadly the Galatians had been bewitched by those seeking to add to salvation (v1) but Paul had no patience for such deception. He stressed that we receive the Spirit by hearing with faith (v2) therefore did the Galatians really believe that the work of salvation had been started by the Spirit but was now being perfected by works (v3)? Did they suffer for the Gospel in vain (v4)? Does the Lord save by works or by hearing with faith (v5)?
To answer the doubts of the Galatians Paul reminded them of Abraham. Abraham was not saved by works but by faith, he had believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (v6). Anyone who has received Christ by faith is a spiritual descendant of Abraham (v7). It was just as predicted by Scripture. In Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed (v8). He heard the Gospel and believed it and so can rightly be considered "the man of faith" (v9).
Individuals who seek salvation by the works of the law may be sincere but they are sincerely wrong. Indeed the Scriptures say that such a person is under a curse (v10). What is this curse? If you walk the path of law observance then you must do everything required by the Law every single day (v12). Imagine that burden. Imagine every waking moment striving to keep the Law of God. Imagine having to watch every action, every word and every thought. Salvation by works is impossible. No one can be justified before God by the law (v11). The righteous shall live by faith.
But there was One who kept the Law fully. Jesus actively obeyed the Law's demands and Jesus passively received the Law's punishments. Jesus became a curse for us in fulfilment of Scripture by being hanged upon a tree (v13). It is by Christ that the promise made to Abraham has been fulfilled. Jew and Gentile alike must be saved and it is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
The Covenant of Grace was proclaimed in Genesis 3 and reiterated to Abraham. This Covenant was in place long before the Law was republished at Mount Sinai (v17). Paul's point is that the blessings to Abraham and his offspring were given by a promise not by works (v18). The Law did not annul the Covenant of Grace or add to it (v15). The Gospel is all of grace.
So what is the purpose of God's law? It has a threefold use in the Christian's life. Paul stated that the law was added because of transgressions (v19). In other words, the law shows us our sin and in turn it displays the holiness of God. The law is not evil or contrary to the promises of God (v21). It acts as a restraint of sin and it instructs us in what is good and pleasing to Almighty God. Finally, the law acted like a guardian until the arrival of Abraham's offspring who is Christ (v24). The law makes us realise our inability to please God and it causes us to run to Jesus.
As Christians we should seek to know God's law and love it. We remain bound by the demands of God's moral law but we must never allow ourselves or others to add law observance to the Gospel of grace. Now that faith has come we are not under the guardianship of the law (v25) for in Christ we are sons and daughters of God by faith (v26).
It doesn't matter who you are or your background. Jews, Greeks, slaves, free, male and female can only be saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. The righteous shall live by faith and they are made one in Christ Jesus (v28). Abraham was not given a gospel of works for that would have no gospel at all. Instead father Abraham heard the good news that a Saviour would come and meet the law's demands. Christ is that Saviour and He has set us free from the curse of the law.
If you are tired of trying to save yourself and if you are well aware of your inability to keep the law of God then remind yourself of the good news. Christ has done it all. As you have received Him as your Saviour, rest in His finished work.
Q54 What is required in the third commandment? The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.