Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 3, verse 8

Galatians 3:8 "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."

Here, Paul begins a series of proofs using Scriptures familiar to his audience here in Chapter 3.

Scripture foresaw” It was a common Jewish concept to personify the Scriptures. Paul did this in 1Timothy 5:18 when he said “Scripture says;” and it calls to mind to me when the main character in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye, is always saying “the Good Book Says. .” (And, humorously, he once in a conversation with God, “As the Good Book says … hey, why am I telling YOU what the good book says? . . .”) 2 Timothy 3:16 describes scripture as “God breathed,” and 2 Peter 1:21 describes God’s word as coming from the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 goes so far as to declare God’s Word is “living and active.” This not only plays to Jewish tradition, it emphasizes the divine origin of the Bible, as well as its power. But personifying the Bible also serves to emphasize the vibrant, “alive” quality of the relationship we have with the One who inspired the Scriptures. Once again, its all about RELATIONSHIP!!!!

It is a foregone conclusion for us non-Jewish believers today that God intended to save the Gentiles through Christ, as well as Jewish people. But the Jews of Paul’s day would have had a tough time with that concept, and would have answered that statement with the addition of the need for the Gentiles to come into the obedience of Abraham’s covenant – specifically, circumcision. Paul, of course, refutes this, emphasizing the concept of salvation by faith. Yet, ironically, Paul proves his point by citing to “the Law,” the very vehicle the Judiazers claimed was the path to justification. It’s a simple, straightforward proof, that completely refutes the heresy.

Paul says the Gospel itself – the work that Jesus would accomplish through His death and resurrection – was “announced in advance” through Abraham.

“All nations” – every nationality and ethnicity – the focus of Paul’s message to the Galatians is as much on refuting racism and ethnic/cultural discrimination as it is against legalism. Indeed, the two sins go hand in hand!

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