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“Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’”—Galatians 3:6 (NKJV)
When we come to the Book of Galatians, it’s important to understand that everything in it has a deliberate purpose, including the passage before us. All that Paul writes is carefully constructed to bring the reader to a great reality: that people can only be right with God through faith in what He’s done for them.
To set the stage, Paul is fighting a false teaching that had infected the Galatian church—the doctrine that observing and obeying the Jewish law given through Moses was also necessary in order to be “right” with God. In other words, it wasn’t just faith in what God has done, but also what a person did that saved them. This is the diabolical doctrine that Paul had to dispel.
So what does he do? He reaches back into the Jewish Old Testament to the forefather of the Jewish race, to the figure who was more “Jewish” than any other man, woman, or child could claim to be. Paul brings Abraham forward as his star witness, because Abraham’s life shines brightest when it comes to faith being the sole means of making a person right with God.
Citing the Book of Genesis, Paul reminds his readers that Abraham simply believed God’s promise to him, and based solely on that, God declared him to be righteous (Genesis 15:6). Faith equals righteousness . . . that’s the message Paul preached all over the ancient world. And he goes on to show that those who follow Abraham’s example in this are His true descendants: “Only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. . . . So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Galatians 3:7-9 NKJV).
Those who exercise faith in God’s gospel are spiritually related to Abraham, which is a far superior connection than any physical bond. Furthermore, by using the ultimate example of Jewishness, Paul shows that it’s faith (not the law) that makes a person right with God. This was the ultimate “checkmate” to those preaching the Jewish law as a way toward righteousness.
Sometimes we can get off track as the Galatians did. We can start to lose sight of the fact that it’s faith alone that makes someone right with God. So it bears reminding that there’s never been another way for a person to get right with God—not even as far back as Abraham—whose sons and daughters we are when we simply believe God.
DIG: What’s the significance of Paul using Abraham as his star witness?
DISCOVER: How is one able to be spiritually related to Abraham today? Why is it so important to be reminded of our connection to Abraham?
DO: Thank the Lord for making you His son or daughter, an inheritor of the promise made to Abraham and a co-heir with Christ.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.