Being SpiritualBro. David Chancellor
11/14/2010 6:00 PM
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received yet the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The first question he asks them is, "What happened?" Their belief had been affected. What you believe is tied to what you do. He wondered why they had turned from Christ to something else. Everything we have is tied into Christ coming and dying and rising again.
Paul wanted them to think about how they became spiritual. There are many things people do to make themselves more spiritual, but it doesn’t work. When you get done doing things, you still won’t have the Spirit in your heart. The works of man or of the law won’t bring the Spirit into your heart. The Spirit comes when we believe the word of God and what Jesus did.
Can the flesh perfect a spiritual work? No. What we do matters for our testimony, but to be full of the Spirit you have to have faith in God to put him there. There’s no work you can do that will make you greatly spiritual. It only comes through faith in God.
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 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?
You could do the works of the law, but where did the miracles of the Old Testament come from? They came from God. Elisha didn’t ask for the law, but for a double portion of the Spirit of God. You could keep the law, but without the Spirit of God you would be powerless. What God does, he does by faith.
Even as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Three religions today claim to be children of Abraham: Jewish, Muslim and Christian. The message of Christ teaches us to be children of Abraham by faith. The Jews point to the law of Moses. The Muslims point to Ishmael. We are children of Abraham through our faith in God.
"And the scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." The gospel was preached to Abraham then. The Gentiles would be justified by faith in one of Abraham’s descendents. We become his children by faith in the one God sent.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 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. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live by them. 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: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse…" In the book of Deuteronomy it pronounces a curse on those who don’t keep the law. There is a long list of curses. If you’re under the works of the law, you’re under all the curses, too. "Ignorance is no excuse." This was true under the old law.
"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." Our life came by faith. "And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live by them." Real life wasn’t found in doing the things of the law. There were some blessings, but man being what he was, he was more likely to experience the curse. Israel often experienced the curse. Spiritual life doesn’t come from the law.
"Christ redeemeth 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…" Jesus did this "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Christ became the curse and triumphed over it, so that "we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." We’re glad Christ was willing to be the curse for us. Jesus went to the cross so the blessing of God could be for all men. Verse 14 shows the fulfillment of the gospel preached to Abraham about the blessing for all nations.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The promise was to Christ and Abraham. God gave us an inheritance by promise. The law came later, 430 years later. What comes later can’t change what came before. God doesn’t pass retroactive laws. It didn’t change the promise made to Abraham. The promise is not changed or rendered ineffective because of Moses’ law. The promise is to Abraham and his descendents by faith and it includes the Gentiles.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
The law came to deal with the problem of sin – to restrain the behavior of man and expose the sin that was there. It couldn’t change you. The law could not give life. Spiritual life doesn’t come that way. The law gave a yearly reminder of sin. It never brought spiritual life. "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin…" Everyone needs to realize this. Everyone came here under sin. Parents correct children and then children forget. At the age of accountability we come to the realization that we sinned. There has to be an awareness that "I am a sinner." We all end up in that same place. We all start from there, but we don’t have to stop there. Faith in Jesus can deliver us from that sinful state. It all hinges on faith in Jesus. The only way out is by faith in Christ. The promise is for all people. There’s no other way to get there than to believe to be saved by Christ. Even if you can’t give a list of your sins, you can know you need God. Put your faith in Christ and receive spiritual life.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul tried to find spiritual life in the law, but it wasn’t there. He did all he could think of to find it there. He found it when he met Christ on the road to Damascus.
The law can awaken a knowledge of sin. All it can do is help us to see our need of God. It all pointed forward to Jesus. Faith in Christ is what makes us children of God. When we’re lacking, we can ask God for more. Faith in Christ affects how we live. Spiritual life will always be found by faith in Christ.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
This has a thought of unity, but it also tells us we’re all the same to God. We’re on equal footing before God. We’re all created equal. We’re not "special" but we are blessed of God. We all have to come to God in faith to have life and to be free from sin. To God you’re all the same. There’s only one kind of people to God: those who are under sin and need a Savior. We all have to come the same way, through Jesus. Even the Jews have to come this way. Jesus is the only door. He is the promise for everyone. We have to put faith in Jesus Christ and what he did for us. If we have the blessings of salvation today, it is because of what Jesus did for us. If you let him live through you, your life can be blessed. There’s no other way that will work. Put your faith in Jesus and walk in his Spirit here.