Let’s read Galatians 3:5-9: “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (NKJV).

The apostle Paul was burdened when he wrote this letter to the Galatians. Why? Because after he had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and many professed to believe in Christ as their Savior, Jewish teachers came along and told them that it wasn’t enough to simply believe. They went on to say you must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be justified before God. Many were giving ear to these legalistic teachers and thus Paul wrote to remind them they had been JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, and NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW.

In verse 5 he also reminds them that the Spirit had been given to them “by the hearing of faith.” The moment a sinner believes the gospel they receive the Holy Spirit. We see this brought out clearly in Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” The truth is every spiritual blessing that God gives to us is on the basis of FAITH.

In verse 6 Paul teaches the Galatians (and us!) that men have always been blessed on the basis of faith, no matter where and when they lived. He uses Abraham as a prime example of this, for it is likely that the Jewish teachers were pointing to Abraham to support their argument that one needs to be circumcised to be saved. But their argument is quickly refuted by the apostle in quoting Genesis 15:6: “And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham did nothing to merit God’s righteousness; he simply believed the good news that God had given to him and God justified him. And we learn from Romans 4:9-10 that God justified him BEFORE HE WAS CIRCUMCISED! Those verses read: “Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.” Is this not clear? If sinners are going to be blessed by God it must be on the principle of FAITH, and NOT WORKS. Yet throughout Christendom men are boldly preaching from pulpits that one must be baptized, or confirmed, or receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to be saved. Our passage refutes that false teaching by maintaining that FAITH ALONE justifies the sinner.

In verses 7-9 we learn that Abraham’s faith was actually a PATTERN for all who would believe the gospel and that the moment we believe God’s good news (as Abraham did) we are looked upon as “sons of Abraham.” We have already quoted Genesis 15:6; now let’s look at the verse preceding it: “Then He (God) brought him (Abraham) outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall YOUR DESCENDANTS be.” God was teaching Abraham that he would have “spiritual descendants” that would be made up of those who “believed in the Lord” as he did! A “son of Abraham” is not one who is born a Jew, or who converts to the Jewish religion, but one who is justified by simple faith. Like Abraham we must believe the good news of Jesus Christ, and the very moment we do we can lay hold of the precious truth in verse 9: “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Are you a son of Abraham? (255.5) (DO)