Daily email Number 213 – from the Vicar

We continue our journey through Paul’s letter to the Galatians, our reading today is Chapter 3 verses 1 to 14.And again Paul doesn’t hold back in his language, twice calling his readers ‘foolish’ in the early verses of this chapter, but I think with an underlying heartfelt concern that they don’t lose their spiritual livelihood and relationship with the Lord by going down false pathways.
And so his initial appeal (vs.1-5) is to ask whether they received the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, and seen Him at work amongst through miracles/answers to prayer by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Works or faith?  Do we earn God’s blessings or just receive them as a gift?
He then goes on to use the example of Abraham (vs.6-9), who was both the physical and spiritual father of the Jewish race, and quotes the famous verse that we looked at both in our daily emails and our Sunday sermons last summer, ‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.’  (GenesisCh.15 v.6)The point is simple: if God credited A with righteousness because he believed, then surely the true children of A are those who believe as he did.  
And to make the point that these children could be Jew or Gentile, Paul quotes the promise of God to A that all nations will be blessed through him (Genesis Ch.12 v.3).  The gospel is not restricted to one particular race, but to all people.
Then in the final paragraph of today’s passage (vs.10-14), Paul contrasts the blessings of being right with God that come through faith with the curses that come through relying on observing the law, or the law becomes a curse to us because we are sinners and are unable to keep the whole of the law perfectly, and therefore we fail in our own strength.  However, the wonderful truth of the gospel is that Christ redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us, by dying on the cross/being hung on the tree.  And at each point Paul is quoting OT scripture to make his argument against the Judaisers who are wanting to make these Gentile Christians more Jewish.  So he summarises in v.14, ‘He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.’
Let us rejoice today that as Gentile believers ourselves we too are children of Abraham by faith, and can share in his blessing promised all those thousands of years ago.  Let us thank God that these blessings are given as a free gift from Him, and we don’t have to earn them.  Let us appreciate we are not under a curse but have freedom in Christ.
From our church address list please remember in your prayers today,
– Roy & Rita- Robert & Jan.

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