Thursday, January 31, 2013

Galatians 3:5-14 Messianic Style


In chapter three Paul began by asking the Galatians if they had received the Holy Spirit by works of the law or by faith. He continued.

Galatians 3:5-14 (KJV)
5 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?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Paul asked another question in verse 5. Did God minister to the Galatians the Spirit and work miracles by works of the law or by faith? The answer was, of course, by faith. In verse 6 Paul pointed out that Abraham had received righteousness by believing in God just as the Galatians had. Therefore, all those that have faith in God are the children of Abraham (verse 7). This meant that the believing Galatians had been added to the commonwealth of Israel. They were a part of the Kingdom of God.

Ephesians 2:19 (KJV)
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ultimately, this implies that not all Jews were true children of Abraham. Belief in God was the determining factor. However, this argument does not imply that ethnic Jews were not ethnically children of Abraham, nor does it remove the prophetic importance of the physical nation of Israel and the promises given to the nation.

Paul's arguments do prove that the Kingdom of God was to be made up of both Jews and Gentiles. These Galatians simply did not have to become Jews in order to participate, nor did they have to add anything to their faith in order to become part of the Kingdom. This is Paul's message!

In verse 8 Paul continued to explain that God had hinted about the inclusion of Gentiles when He made His promises to Abraham, that all nations would be blessed in him.

Genesis 12:3 (KJV)
3 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.

Paul recapped his thinking in verse 9. The Galatian believers did not have to add those things that the false teachers were insisting they needed to add in order to be truly a part of the Kingdom of God.

Paul continued to explain that the nature of the Torah is such that its requirements are complete obedience. Any disobedience results in a curse (verse 10). In verse 11, Paul reiterated that no one was justified by observing the Torah, because everyone sins and falls under the curse of disobedience. He then quoted Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV)
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

This again informs us that salvation by faith was not new to Christianity. Judaism is also based on the same. Nothing has changed! God knew from the beginning of time that mankind would not be able to keep the Torah perfectly. So within Torah itself were remedies for disobedience. Repentance and certain sacrifices would atone and cover sin.

Torah obedience was not the way to salvation, but it is how the righteous live (verse 12)! Paul quoted from Leviticus.

Leviticus 18:5 (KJV)
5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.

Verse 13 states that Messiah Yeshua saved sinners from the curse of the disobedience of Torah by becoming a curse himself. Paul quoted Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Although Yeshua committed no crime and obeyed the Torah perfectly, He paid the penalty for mankind's sin by dying on the cross. Indeed, He was cursed for mankind. Through His sacrifice the blessing of Abraham was bestowed on the Gentiles and they receive salvation through faith.

Paul was continuing to make an argument that the Galatians received salvation by faith and not works either of the Torah or any deeds that the false teachers were trying to add. His argument here is not on whether the believers should continue in observing Torah after salvation. In fact, because of verse 12, Paul believed observing Torah was how the righteous (the saved) live! This makes perfect sense, since believers should understand that just because they aren't saved by Torah observance that it is not acceptable to murder, lie, or steal. Neither is disregarding any of the Torah's requirements acceptable. The false teachers were not advocating anything about Torah observance either, but rather traditions and culture that the Jews had come to believe were as essential as Torah observance.

We will continue next time with more of Paul's argument.


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