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Not an Afterthought

Not an Afterthought

Words of Faith 5-23-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 3

     [7] Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. [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." [9] So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 

       So just how is it that Gentiles fit into the plan of God? What is it that makes one a child of God and part of the blessing promised to Abraham? Are Gentiles the late arrivals to the party or an afterthought in need of remedial work?

       The religious infiltrators had one answer, and Paul had another. Those known as Judaizers said that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism, including ritual circumcision and dietary rules before they could take Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

       Paul had a very different view. From the Word of God, he argued that righteousness was found in something much more straightforward, which goes all the way back to the heritage of Abraham, the father of the faith.

       Paul argued here that since Abraham was saved by faith, his true children are, therefore, even now, those who are saved by faith, as he was. Paul saw this as the critical link between the Old and New Covenants. Abraham's faith was precisely the same kind as the Christian faith. The result of that faith was precisely the same, and there was no need to add religious activity in between.

       Paul quoted from Genesis here to make two vital points. First, the blessing promised to Abraham from the beginning was intended to include the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Secondly, the promise of the Gospel preceded everything else in God's dealings with His people, including the giving of the Law. In other words, God has always been about the Gospel. The Good News was not an afterthought.

       We also see Paul's robust understanding of Scripture as the very Word of God proceeding from Him and virtually personifying the Lord. He writes that "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham."

       And who are the ones who enter into a spiritual blessing? It is those characterized by the approach of faith. They are blessed along with Abraham, who had faith. Since the blessing of Abraham is declared to have been intended for the Gentiles also, how could the Gentiles be blessed except by faith? To have been blessed in any other way would have involved their ceasing to be Gentiles.

       So, it is those who believe who are children of Abraham. And as John put it in his Gospel-- "All who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" (1:12-13).

       Sometimes the most profound and most beautiful truths are elementary. Trust God. Surrender to Him. Surrender all of the effort and good works. Surrender all of the religion and ritual. Surrender all of the dodging and excuses. Surrender all, and trust Him. In this alone, we find righteousness.

 

       Father God, thank You for Your magnificent plan of salvation that was in Your thoughts, and expressed in Your Word, long before we would ever hear it. Thank You for the approach of faith by which we can receive Your righteousness and become children of Abraham and children of God. In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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