Sons of Abraham, Part 1
Scripture: Galatians 3:6–3:14
Sons of Abraham
Text: Galatians 3:6-9
January 31, 2010
I. Abraham was justified as an uncircumcised Gentile. v. 6
“All of world history is related to the promises that God makes to Abraham. The final meaning of history will be found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a descendant of Abraham,” (Graeme Goldsworthy, According to Plan, p. 121).
Why does Paul appeal to Abraham?
“Most significant, however, is the probability that the obligation to become “sons” of Abraham through circumcision formed the central argument of the legalizers’ teaching. This argument would have focused on Genesis 12 and 17 and would have advanced the position that no one could be blessed by God who was not part of the company to whom God’s promises were made. It would have added that one entered this company solely through circumcision. These arguments Paul encounters head on, for he shows that even Abraham was blessed through faith, not circumcision,” (James Boice, Galatians, p. 456).
“The Christian life is often like this. We glide out of our harbor under full sail, thrilled with delight in knowing our sins are forgiven and that we are right with God. A new love for our Redeemer fills us with gratitude, and we are eager to follow the course he has set for us in His Word. Yet as we pass into the open seas, we encounter spiritual stress. God’s law, we find, provides the direction but not the power, and a panoply of spiritual technologies are available to substitute. We think that by reading this book or going to that conference or following this plan for spiritual victory or these steps for overcoming sin in our life, we can get the boat going in the right direction again.
These guides are usually neither law (i.e., God’s directives) nor gospel (i.e., God’s promises and acts in Christ), but helpful advice from fellow sailors. In a sense, the advice they offer is more law than gospel, since it imposes expectations and demands as conditions for success. Yet the more advice you get, the deeper your sense that you are simply dead in the water spiritually. Exhausted, you either give up and promise to never sail again or your realize that what you really need is a fresh gust of wind in your sails. That wind is always Christ in His saving office. What you really need is to be told all over again about who God is and what He has done to save you, and about the new world that awaits you because of His faithfulness to unfaithful sailors. This alone will fill your sails so that you can get safely back to the harbor when the gales blow hard.
Our whole life as Christians is a process of sailing confidently into the open seas, dying down in exhaustion, and having our sails filled again with God’s precious promises…
No less than when we first believed, we must always attribute to the gospel the power that fills our sails with gratitude, and to the law the proper course that such gratitude takes. At the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, the gospel ‘is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’ (Rom. 1:16),” (Michael Horton, God of Promise, pp. 193-194).
© John Fonville
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