October 20, 2013

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

Tom Lowe

III. Doctrinal: Defense of Justification by Faith (3:1–4:31)

            A: Vindication of Justification by Faith (3.1-18)

                        2: The Example of Abraham (3.6-14)

Chapter III.A.2.d: The Blessing of Abraham (3.14)

 

Galatians 3.14 (KJV)

 

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on theGentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

 

 

Commentary

 

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.

 

Israel had the Law for fifteen hundred years and failed to live by it. At the council of Jerusalem, in Acts 15, Peter said in effect, “We and our fathers were not able to keep the Law. Why do we want to put the Gentiles under it? If we could not keep it, they won’t be able to keep it either.”

Christ took our place so that we might receive what the Law could never give us. The Spirit is the peculiar gift in this age of grace.

Two purposes for Christ’s redemptive work are given in this verse:

1)      In order that Gentiles might receive the blessing given to Abraham; as already stated—“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” (Gal. 3.8). This is not a reference to personal or national blessings, but to the promised blessing of justification apart from works of the Law, available to all who believe.

2)     In order that all who receive Jesus by faith might receive the promise of the Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, who was promised.

Again, the apostle proves that salvation and sanctification come by faith, not by works, a doctrine he accused the Galatians of rejecting. This he does with the example of Abraham, whose faith fastened upon the word and promise of God, and upon his believing he was acknowledged accepted by God as a righteous man. The death of Christ operated to bring the blessing of Abraham (justification) to the Gentiles. God having delivered His own covenant people (the Jews) from the curse of the Law, was free from all impediments in dealing likewise in grace with the Gentiles. The token of acceptance with God is the promise of the Spirit, that is, the promised Spirit—“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1.4, 5). Abraham received the promise as a covenant with God. By its very nature a covenant is something fixed, not subject to change, even when it is a human arrangement. The promise cannot be set aside by the Law, which came much later.

 

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