Justification by Faith
Galatians 2:15-16; 3:1-14
INTRODUCTION Another lesson on justification by faith adds some more Scripture to that included in a recent lesson. The subject is of vital importance and merits frequent repetition and emphasis. Galatian believers were neither the first nor the last to be confused by false doctrines. We need always to be on guard against natural inclination to trust in our own efforts instead of trusting Christ alone as our Savior. Contrary to hyper-dispensational nonsense, our lesson reminds us again that Jews and Gentiles alike can be saved in no other way than Abraham was saved: that is, simply by believing God. For lesson outlines, note: 1. Examples, Galatians 2:15-16. a. Apostolic admonition, 15. b. Justification in Jesus, 16 2. Experience, Galatians 3:1-5. a. Beginning by birth, 1-4. b. Following from faith, 5. 3. Exegesis, Galatians 3:6-14. a. Father of faithful, 6-9. b. Christ and the curse, 10-13. c. Blessed by believing, 14. NOTES ON THE TEXT: EXAMPLES, Galatians 2:15-16. One way to avoid or correct errors in our own lives is to learn from other people's examples. So believers in Christ may learn from the examples given us in the lives of the apostles and other New Testament believers. We can be sure that doctrines officially adjudged false by the apostles are as false today as they were when the apostles learned the truth from Christ and from the Holy Spirit in miraculous revelation. Apostolic Admonition, 15. Reference here is to Paul's rebuke to Peter at Antioch. Peter's temporary error was corrected in his better moments, and especially in the Scripture he was inspired to write, where his doctrine agreed perfectly with that of Paul [II Peter 3:15]. Justification in Jesus, 16. So the apostles knew "that a man is not justified by the works of the law;" the apostles believed in Jesus Christ that they "might be justified by the faith of Christ" -- that is, by the faith of which Christ is the Object. In this matter we can do no better than to follow the examples set for us by the apostles.
EXPERIENCE, Galatians 3:1-5. However, all who have had a genuine personal experience of God's saving grace can hold on to something more real to ourselves than other people's examples. We must be foolish and "bewitched," indeed, to doubt the testimony of experience in our own minds and hearts. Beginning by Birth, 1-4. Thoughtful review of a true experience of salvation, be- ginning in the new birth, should clear away any illusions we might have that we worked ourselves into it. Our new birth was "not of blood, nor of man, but of God" [John 1:13]. Only God was able to give us new life in His likeness; and only God is able to make perfect or mature that new life within us. Can it be in vain that we have experienced so much of God's grace? Folloving from Faith, 5. Born-again believers, learning and following "from faith to faith" [Romans 1:17], can give only one answer to this question. Of course, it is not from works of law but from the hearing of faith that God ministers or supplies to us the Spirit and works miracles among His people.
EXEGESIS, Galatians 3:6-14. Yet more certain than the examples of others and even more certain than our own experience is the clear testimony of God's inspired Word. To this Word, therefore, Paul appealed as to final authority, with simple exegesis or explanation of its meaning. Father of Faithfu1, 6-9. What is hard to understand here? Is the truth not stated simply enough? Surely the difficulty is not in the Scripture, but in the perverse refusal of rebellious sinners to believe what God says. Christ and the Curse, 10-13. Again, the doctrine of substitution could hardly be stated more plainly. By nature and by choice we were sinners under the curse of God's holy law. It was by "being made a curse for us" that Christ "redeemed us from the curse of the law." Some touted theologians may have difficulty with the doctrine; honest believers find it simple enough. Blessed by Believing, 14. What blessing? "The blessing of Abraham." Come on whom? "Gentiles." How? "Through Jesus Christ." To what end? "That we might receive the promise." What promise? "The Spirit." By what means? "Through faith."
CONCLUSION [Romans 3:28] Bible believers can have no objection to the conclusion. ====================
[From AAB, August 27, 1976, pp. 2-3. - jrd]
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