Devotional # 89. 6/2/14. Galatians 3:1-14.
Galatians: Since we started Galatians we’ve seen the theme of not adding anything to faith in Jesus. Last week chapter 2:14-21 was Paul’s recollection of what he said to Peter about his hypocrisy, but really more about the reality of a Christian’s freedom and true salvation. Chapter 3 starts Paul’s address to the people of the Church in Galatia, wanting them to keep in mind what he just said in chapter 2.
vv. 1-4. Paul takes the Galatians back to truth. What had they been convinced of when they became Christians? The Holy Spirit worked in them, not through the law but through faith in Jesus.
vv. 5-9. Paul refers to “He who supplies the Spirit to you”. Now from our study in Acts we remember this to be Jesus (see Acts 1:8, Devotional 43, specifically “vv. 1-8”; also John 14:16; 16:7). Paul doesn’t beg them to go back to the truth because of him or something he has done. He tells them to go to Jesus who is Truth! We can learn a lot from Paul directing them back to Jesus who gave them the Holy Spirit and has been working miracles around and through them. Sometimes we need proof that God is working in our lives or is even there. A great idea is to keep a journal of “miracles” that are from God. Then when you doubt you can read through it and God’s actions will comfort you. I’ll give you an example: On the morning of 8/25/2010 I was trying to find one particular DVD from something called The Truth Project (see http://www.thetruthproject.org for more). I had looked on Netflix but had no idea how I was going to get that 1 specific DVD. Later that day I really wanted to review my notes before our work Bible study but I felt led to encourage one of the guys from that group instead. When I encouraged him that he was doing well in the faith he said that he had been going through The Truth Project and it really helped him! Then one of the other people from the study said that he had the whole series on DVD! I asked if I could borrow the specific DVD and he got it to me the next day. God was so good! I would never remember that story if I hadn’t write it down! Another idea is when you’re reading through the Bible mark the promises God gives. Then memorize them. God’s words will never come back to empty (Isaiah 55:11).
Paul backs up his point by stating that true descendants of Abraham are not by blood but by exercising the same faith that he did. Hebrews or Gentiles are given equal opportunity to believe and accept Jesus.
vv. 10-12. Paul is giving the Hebrews the correct perspective on the law, from Deuteronomy 27:26. The law was never meant to save but to point towards Jesus who does save. So we see that if anyone breaks one little part of the law then they have broken all of it and will not be accepted. Jesus, however, kept the entire law and sacrificed Himself for our sins, all we have to do is accept that. So why would the Galatians try to add the bondage of law, which no one can keep, to the salvation and freedom that Jesus offers, which everyone can accept?
Paul is stressing “by faith” here. “the just shall live by faith” is a really neat topic to look into. The phrase is first used in Habakkuk 2:4 then used three times in the New Testament. Each time emphasizes something different. I did an entire sermon on this phrase and used Mark Mayberry’s article, which was very helpful (you can read it here: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-habakkuk-2-4.htm ).
vv. 13-14. Paul continues by directing our attention to the fact that Jesus didn’t just deal with our problems without getting dirty. Jesus had always been God, and if it wasn’t weird enough to come to earth as a Man, He then became “cursed” to the Father. What does that mean? Yesterday Pastor Troy preached on Matthew 27:35-56 which is about Jesus’ crucifixion. He gives great insight for “hanging on a tree” (i.e. the cross). Go to sermonaudio.com: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6214131252 to listen. Even if you’re not interested in that specifically you should still listen to the sermon because there is so much good stuff! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Conclusion: So nothing should be added or taken away from the good news of Jesus. Least of all the law which was given by the Father as a sign pointing towards the Son. Think of it like being trapped in a tunnel with a flashlight. If you are content just turning the flashlight on and watching it until the battery dies then you will die. But if you use it to find a way out then you will have life. Once you break out of that tunnel and feel the warm touch of the sun and breathe the fresh air why would you go bury your head in a hole with your flashlight? In the same way once you have felt the warm touch of the Son and breathed in the Spirit’s life why would you go back to the law? Keep this in mind: Paul says the gospel is three things: 1. Jesus died, 2. He was buried, 3. He rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If anything is added, we reject it.