Justification by Faith

Galatians 3:1-9

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? 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? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

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?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 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.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

A BELIEVER CORRECTS ERROR

Galatians 4:16 – Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? 

  • Error causes misunderstanding and thoughtlessness
  • Error deceives
  • Error either leads to disobedience or comes about because of disobedience

A BELIEVER RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT BY FAITH

  • First the message must be heard.

Romans 10:14-15a, 17 – How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?….So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

  • The Holy Spirit is a gift of God.

John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Helper…

A BELIEVER IS A SPIRITUAL SON OF ABRAHAM

  • Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God’s promises.

Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:4-6 – But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out ‘abba, Father!

  • Abraham had done no works at the time he believed
  • Abraham’s faith led him to do what God has instructed him.
  • His faith preceded his obedience
  • It is not obedience = faith and repentance = our righteousness
  • It is faith and repentance = righteousness of God = obedience

The Law and Faith

Galatians 2:11-21

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

CONFRONTATION BETWEEN PAUL AND PETER

  • Peter was hypocritical
  • Followed pressure of the crowd
  • Showed prejudice

JUSTIFICATION – FAITH VS. WORKS

  • Not by the Law

Romans 3:23 –   For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

  • By faith in Jesus Christ

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

RIGHTEOUSNESS – FAITH VS. WORKS

Question:  By teaching us to trust in faith alone for our salvation, is Christ making us sinners, encouraging us to disregard sin in our lives?

  • A man who tries to keep the Law makes himself a sinner when he breaks it.
  • A man who trusts in God for his salvation will then follow Christ – because of love and gratitude.  Love is a greater force than fear or duty.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 –  For the love of Christ compels us,  because we judge thus:  that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.   

I John 3:16 – Hereby we see the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

HOW ARE WE JUSTIFIED?

  • By dying to the Law – to any effort on our part or any dependence on our own goodness.
  • By being crucified with Christ – by identifying with Christ in death to our own self – our good and our bad.
  • By allowing Christ’s divine nature to live in us. 

John 15:4-5 – Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.    

Ephesians 3:17-19   that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.