Tuesday after the Tenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Galatians 3:1-14 (NKJV)
3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 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.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree “), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Some time ago while driving through a small town in Texas I saw a church sign that read, “God will judge us by how we treat the nation of Israel. Genesis 12:3.” In that verse God promised Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” That church interpreted God’s promise to Abraham to mean that all families of the Earth would be blessed as long as they do the work of supporting the nation state of Israel.
This interpretation is vastly different from the way St. Paul, writing by divine inspiration, read God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham was not justified by his works of obedience or his ancestry, he was justified by faith in God’s promise. Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” So it was for the Galatians. So it is for us. God will not judge and bless by our alignment with a man-made state, just as He does not judge and bless us by any work. We are judged solely by faith in Christ, even as Abraham was. “Only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”
How then are all families of the Earth blessed in Abraham? Because it was through the line of Abraham that the Triune God brought forth the Christ who would atone for the sins of all families of Earth, so that all who flee to Christ in repentance and faith have the forgiveness of every sin.
We pray: O God, who declarest Thine almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity, mercifully grant unto us such a measure of Thy grace that we, running the way of Thy commandments, may obtain Thy gracious promises and be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.