Friday, July 16, 2010

By Faith - Galatians 3:10-11

"For as many as are under the works of the Law
are under a curse; for it is written,
'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all
things written in the book of the Law,
to perform them.'
Now that no one is justified by the Law
before God is evident; for,
'The righteous man shall live by faith.'"
(Galatians 3:10-11)

"The curse of God is like a flood that swallows everything that is not of faith. To avoid the curse we must hold on to the promise of the blessing in Christ." (Martin Luther)

So begin Dr. Luther's thoughts on this section of holy writ.

Matthew Henry writes in a similar vein:

"We cannot be justified but by faith fastening on the gospel, because the Law condemns us. If we put ourselves upon trial in that court, we are certainly lost and undone."
These fathers of the faith are clear because the Word of God is clear. Paul himself could be no clearer than he has been about all of this. Yet he continues on with reminding reproof because we are...
                             ...because we're hard headed. 

Repetitive reminders regarding our redemption are a good thing.

Hear this well: The Law kills. Christ gives life.

The Law condemns. Jesus redeems!

"A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Jesus Christ."

Elsewhere Paul reminds us that "that which is not of faith is sin." Only works that are fixed to faith are of any worth - and even then they are only of value as salvation's fruit and not in any way shape or form are they to be construed as salvation's root. We cannot earn God's favor for His favor is a gift freely given. We are all lost and undone by the Law's standard. Gloriously, we are all found and restored by Christ's fulfilling of that standard!

"The righteous man shall live by faith." That faith is in the Son of God who gave Himself for our sins. As Peter preached at Pentecost - words which were drawn from the gospel of the Old Testament: "And it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Later, when Peter is preaching to the Gentiles at Caesarea he holds forth this same justifying message (still resounding with Old Testament gospel language): "Of Him [Christ] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." (Acts 10:13).

We are cursed and condemned under the weight of the Law. Our Lord Jesus Christ became a curse for us and stood condemned in our place that we might be freely forgiven, not because of our works but, because of His!

Luther writes:

"Because God saw that we could not fulfill the Law, He provided a way of salvation long before the Law was ever given, a salvation that He promised to Abraham, saying, 'In thee shall all nations be blessed.'
The very first thing for us to do is to believe in Christ. First, we must receive the Holy Spirit, who enlightens and sanctifies us so that we can begin to do the Law, i.e., to love God and our neighbor. Now, the Holy Ghost is not obtained by the Law, but by faith in Christ. In the last analysis, to do the Law means to believe in Jesus Christ. The tree comes first, and then come the fruits."

Friends, the Law will lay you low in the grave. The Lord Jesus Christ - the Living Law - will set you free to produce much fruit. Live by faith in the Risen Son of God. In Him is life and life abundant.

"The righteous will live by faith." Are you living?

In His glorious grace,

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