Monday, 21 March 2016
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.” Galatians 3:8
As a reminder, Paul is writing to the Galatians who had been caught up in an ancient version of the Hebrew Roots Movement. They had been duped into believing that they would be more pleasing to God, and could only stand justified before Him, by observing the law and all of the practices of the Jewish culture. Paul has been demonstrating what a bunch of malarkey that actually is. In the previous verse he said –
“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”
Now, building upon that, he turns to Scripture. In doing so, he does something extraordinary by personifying it. “And the Scripture, foreseeing…” He has made a connection to Scripture and its power to reveal the future. As only God can do that, He has definitely identified Scripture as God’s infallible word. What it proclaims is the same as what God foresaw and then recorded for us.
In this, he says that what Scripture foresaw was “that God would justify the Gentiles by faith.” However, the word “justify” is in the present tense. Therefore, it should say, “…justifies the Gentiles by faith.” In other words, at any point in all of history, the means of justification is the same. Enoch was not a Jew and yet he is recorded in a favorable light as having pleased God. Ruth was brought into the fold of the covenant people by faith. And any person, from any nation today, is justified by that same means – faith.
In what Scripture foresaw concerning this, it “preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand.” The “gospel” is the “good news” and so this is what Scripture foresaw. The good news would be proclaimed. The hint of this is found in the words to Abraham which said, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” This is actually a mixing of two verses, Genesis 12:3 and Genesis 18:18. Taken together, they give the sum of what Paul is now citing.
What he is saying is that all nations shall be blessed in the same way that Abraham was blessed, which is by faith in the promises of God. In other words, it is not saying that the nations will be blessed through his posterity, meaning Christ, but rather that the way in which Abraham was blessed is the same as the way the Gentiles would be blessed. It would be through faith, meaning faith in Christ, which would justify them. This is certain based on the next verse to be analyzed.
It is true that this faith was only made possible because of the coming of Christ, but faith is the object of what Paul is speaking of. Faith in Christ is the explanation of the type of faith necessary to have proper faith.
Life application: If we stand justified by faith in Christ, then we are not justified by works of the law. Therefore, reinserting the law is a rejection of Christ. Don’t reinsert the law. Instead, trust in Christ alone for your right standing with God.
Yes! I have a sure and grounded hope. It is not in government; what a lousy place to put one’s trust! It is not in doing good deeds; how many would I need to do? Why, I could never know! Rather than any thing of this world, I have a sure anchor for my soul. I have the hope of God in Christ. It is the surest place of trust, the sweetest place of rest, and the most wonderful place of hope. Thank You, O God, for the life of Christ my Lord. In Him I have found a blessed place of trust. Amen.