The Book of Galatians
James J. Barker
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR
- I mentioned in
my message Sunday morning that Abraham is referred to 311 times in the Bible -- 237 times in the Old Testament, and 74
times in the New Testament.
- Abraham is
mentioned nine times in the book of Galatians (cf. 3:6-9).
- Abraham is
referred to as "faithful Abraham" (3:9), i.e., "believing Abraham" (Scofield
- This means Abraham was "full of faith."
- The theme of
this epistle is we are saved by grace through faith, not the law. Abraham could not be saved by
keeping the law because Abraham lived over 400 years before God gave the law to
- This is taught
several times in the New Testament (cf. Romans 4:1-5; Hebrews
- In Galatians
3:6, the apostle Paul is quoting Genesis 15:6 -- "And he believed
in the LORD; and he counted (or "imputed") it to him for righteousness." "Impute" is an accounting term which
means to count, or put to someone’s account (cf. Rom.
- This is the
principle of justification by faith.
- Our Lord said
in John 5:24, “Verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on
him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation;
but is passed from death unto life.”
- Therefore, we are justified -- shall not come into
condemnation -- by faith. "He that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting
- It has been pointed out that being justified is more
than merely escaping condemnation.
Jonathan Edwards said, "A person is to be justified, when he is
approved of God as free from the guilt of sin and its deserved punishment, and
as having that righteousness belonging to him that entitles to the reward of
- Edwards is referring to Christ's imputed
Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTIFICATION ESTABLISHED
- The apostle
Paul has established that God's dealings with the Galatians were based entirely
on the principle of faith.
- Men were saved
in Abraham's day the same way men are saved today -- by faith. "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).
- Paul could use
Abraham as an example of a believer justified by faith because the Judaizers
were insisting that circumcision was necessary for salvation (cf. Acts 15:1;
Abraham was saved before he was circumcised. His willingness to submit to
circumcision was evidence that he was already trusting in God (Gen. 15:6;
- This was before
the birth of Isaac. Abraham
believed God even though God's promise was still
- Here in his
epistle to the Galatians, Paul is establishing the principle of justification by
faith -- not by works.
is the act whereby God declares righteous those who believe in
- God declares us
righteous. Not God makes us
righteous -- that is sanctification.
- God can
properly deal with guilty hell-deserving sinners in this way because they have
put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for their
- God gives the repentant sinner a righteous standing,
which makes him fit for heaven, not on the basis of works, but on the basis of
THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTIFICATION APPLIED
- The Judaizers
were very proud of their physical descent from Abraham.
- John the
Baptist said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, "And think not to say within
yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able
of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matthew
- Jesus warned
the Pharisees that there was a big difference between those who were Abraham's
seed physically, and those who were Abraham's seed
- They boasted in
John 8:33, "We be Abraham's seed."
- Our Lord told
them, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that
hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham" (John
- The Judaizers
taught that in order to be true sons of Abraham, the Galatians needed to be
circumcised. Today the SDA cult
teaches Christians must keep the sabbath.
- Other churches
say baptism is necessary for salvation.
All of this is contrary to Scripture (cf. Romans
- Abraham was
saved as an uncircumcised heathen.
He was circumcised after he was saved.
- This is the
principle of justification by faith established and
- Now let us look at the principle
THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTIFICATION EXTENDED
- The blessing
promised to the Gentiles was announced to Abraham back in Genesis 12:3, "And I
will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee
shall all families of the earth be blessed."
- The principle
of justification by faith was extended to "all families of the earth." All the families of the earth, all the
nations of the earth, all the tribes, all the people groups, will all be blessed
the same way God blessed Abraham -- by faith.
- All nations
shall be blessed (3:8, 9) means the Messiah
was to be descended from Abraham.
- The heathen
(Gentiles) nations would be saved the same way Abraham was saved -- by faith,
not by the law (cf. Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 14:6).
THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTIFICATION EXPERIENCED
- All those who
exercise faith in God are "blessed with faithful ("full of faith") Abraham,"
according to the testimony of both the Old Testament and the New
- This is the
principle of justification by faith experienced.
- Have you
experienced this blessing?
- A man was
trying to defend the false doctrine of justification by faith plus works. He used an illustration of two men
sitting in a rowboat arguing.
- One argued for
justification by faith, not works.
The other insisted that one could only be justified by his good
- According to
this man's illustration, the boatman settled the argument by saying, "It is like
this: I have two oars. I will call
one "Faith," and the other I will call "WORKS."
- "If I pull only
on this oar the boat will go around and round in circles, and we will get
nowhere. And if I pull only on the
other oar, the same thing will happen.
- "But if pull on
both oars, we will get across the lake."
- The man thought
he had won the debate by using this picturesque
- However, the
man he was debating was unimpressed. He replied, "That is a very nice story. But my friend, nobody goes to heaven in