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Thursday, October 10, 2019

2019.10.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 3:10-12

Questions from the Scripture text: “Of what” are the first group mentioned in Galatians 3:10? What is the condition of those who are “of the works of the law”? Whom does Deuteronomy 27:26 say are cursed? How many people were ever justified this way (Galatians 3:11)—and therefore how many who are “of the law” are cursed? How is it that the just live (cf. Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38)? What is the law not of (Galatians 3:12)? What kind of justification does the law offer (cf. Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5)?
You might have heard someone say that the Old Testament was a religion of the works of the law, while the New Testament is a religion of faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe that’s even something you still slip into thinking. Although the apostles’ opponents taught this, nothing could be further from the truth.

In the previous passage, the apostle had dealt with their claim to be the sons of Abraham. Actually, he said, it is believers who bear the family resemblance to Abraham, and believers who share in the family inheritance with Abraham.

Now, he deals with their claim to be the followers of the Old Testament. “Not the Old Testament that I’m reading,” says the apostle. Quoting from Deuteronomy, Habakkuk, and Leviticus, he shows that the Old Testament taught the very thing that he has been teaching: if you’re hoping that the works of the law are going to make you right with God or foster spiritual life, you’ll find out that you end up cursed by the very thing in which you hoped. That kind of justification or life always required—and never been able to deliver—perfect, personal, perpetual obedience.

So, did the Old Testament ever offer hope of being just (right with God) or alive? Well, yes—by faith (just as the apostle has been teaching)! So, it is the gospel of righteousness and life through believing in Jesus Christ that produces true offspring of Abraham. And, it is the gospel of righteousness and life through believing in Jesus Christ that is what the Old Testament truly teaches.

From cover to cover, the Bible teaches a religion of grace. Being made right with God only by the merit of what Jesus has done, only through the instrument of believing in Him. And having spiritual life for the good that we do in response only through that same faith by which we were made just.

Ironically, those who accuse the Old Testament of teaching a religion of works align themselves not with Jesus and Paul, but with the Pharisees and Judaizers who opposed them. For us who hold to a religion of faith that rests entirely upon Jesus Christ, the entire Bible is ours!
What are you depending upon to make you right with God? What are you depending upon to enable you to obey the Lord? Where in the Bible can you learn about that kind of righteousness and life?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH130A “Lord, from the Depths”

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