Galatians Part 20 - Galatians 3:5-9

vs. 5-9. 1. Continuing on, Paul reminds them that the blessings and ministration of the Spirit which were peculiar to the N.T. gospel church were theirs to enjoy, not by law-works like circumcision, the “do and live” righteousness of Moses’ Law, etc., but by hearing the gospel of Christ and turning submissively to Him. This was the great lesson of ACT 10. He then makes an appropriate comparison with Abraham. 2. v. 5 asks another obvious/rhetorical question: “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” A. The language here demands a present condition: ministereth, worketh, doeth. Paul was not at this time among them (GAL 1:1-2) so he is referring to someone other than himself by “he.” B. “He” is God (c/w GAL 2:7-8) Who ministers the Spirit to the church. (1) minister: 1. To serve (food or drink). Obs. 2. To furnish, supply, impart (something necessary or helpful)... 3. To dispense, administer... (2) administer: fig. To dispense, furnish, supply, or give (anything beneficial, or assumed to be beneficial, to the recipient... (3) Ministration and administration may be used as synonyms. 2CO 9:12-13. C. God ministers in the church by diverse operations of the Spirit. 1CO 12:4-11, 28. D. The working of miracles was unique to the N.T. gospel to confirm that message of full salvation by Jesus Christ: the message of grace. HEB 2:3-4. (1) No such thing attended the O.T. synagogue-style service where Moses was preached, genealogy emphasized, circumcision a token of acceptance, and “do and live” righteousness the message. That system overall implied confidence in the sinner. (2) The lack of miracles among the Moses crowd was a dilemma for them. ACT 4:16. (3) They knew that sign-gifts attended prophecy. PSA 74:9. (4) The presence of such gifts outside the Mosaic synagogue system would have stood to convict them, as Jesus had designed. JOH 15:24-25. E. Though the season of the working of miracles has long since passed, the Spirit still ministers in the church: (1) He comforts (strengthens, encourages, heartens, inspirits, incites). JOH 14:16. (2) He teaches. JOH 14:26 c/w JOH 17:20. (3) He binds brethren in fellowship and unity. EPH 4:3; PHIL 2:1. (4) He empowers. ACT 1:8 c/w 1CO 2:4-5; 1TH 1:5. (5) He promotes righteousness, peace and joy. ROM 14:17. (6) He renders believing Gentiles acceptable offerings to God. ROM 15:16; 12:1. F. Consider this most important aspect of ministering the Spirit: (1) The word is authored by the Spirit. 2PE 1:20-21; EPH 6:17. (2) The N.T. gospel is the “ministration of the Spirit” in contrast with the O.T. which was the “ministration of death/condemnation.” 2CO 3:6-9. (3) The N.T. gospel of completed salvation in Christ is ministered or preached by the Spirit's enablement. 1PE 1:9-12. (4) Again, circumcision is obviously not a necessary prerequisite for that ministry, but belief of and submission to the gospel is. GAL 2:3. (5) It would be safe to assume that if Paul, according to his pattern (ACT 14:21-23), confirmed the saints and ordained elders to lead and preach in the Gentile Galatian churches, he did NOT insist they be circumcised. (6) Paul was essentially saying, “Oh, circumcision, etc.! Why didn’t I think about that when I first came among you in the power of the Holy Ghost preaching Christ crucified, buried and resurrected for sinners’ justification?!” G. The Galatians’ received spiritual benefits accorded with the hearing of faith: the message of the faith of Jesus Christ Who trusted God’s promise to deliver from death. The good news (gospel) is not what sinners do but what Christ did for sinners by trusting God.

3. Paul then vaults back in time to an event hundreds of years before Moses to emphasize the importance of faith in God: the faith of Abraham. vs. 6-9.

4. The example of faithful Abraham proves that faith (trust, reliance or confidence) in God takes precedence over law-works like circumcision. A. Abraham's faith was a stedfast confidence that God would faithfully keep His promise to him of a Seed when human reasoning would have denied such. GEN 15:1-6. B. Abraham's faith was obviously not a confidence in his own ability. ROM 4:18-22. C. Abraham's faith did not MAKE him righteous. It was ACCOUNTED to him FOR righteousness. It was a token or evidence of righteousness. c/w PSA 106:30-31. D. Abraham's faith, the evidence of his righteousness, was something he had BEFORE circumcision. ROM 4:8-10. E. Circumcision, therefore, availeth NOTHING! GAL 5:6; 6:15. F. Of particular and relevant importance was that Abraham trusted God to resurrect Isaac from the dead. JAM 2:21-23 c/w HEB 11:17-19. (1) He had not let the deadness of his body’s reproductive powers overwhelm God’s promise to create his seed. (2) He did not let the apparent certainty of Isaac’s death overwhelm God’s promise that in Isaac would his seed be called. (3) The message of Abraham is that one can trust in God’s promise of life even when death is in the equation. (4) This is what Jesus did. LUK 23:46; ACT 2:26-28. G. Those who, like Abraham, trust in God to do the impossible according to His promise, are the spiritual children of Abraham and share in his blessings.  vs. 7, 9 c/w ROM 4:11-12, 23-25. H. Abraham's circumcision was a SEAL of his already evidenced righteousness. ROM 4:11. (1) It was a follow-up token to the token of righteous faith he had exercised upon hearing the gospel. (2) Similarly, our baptism upon hearing and believing the gospel is a SEAL of imputed righteousness and assurance of sonship. I. From GAL 3:8, it is evident that the Judaic/dispensational interpretation of GEN 12:3 is wrong. (1) God was not promising eternal special favors for every descendant of Abraham to the exclusion of Gentiles. (2) Rather, He was foreseeing that ONE descendant of Abraham (Jesus Christ) would bring justification to the heathen through His faith. GAL 3:13-14. a. We are justified legally by the personal faith of Jesus Christ. b. We are justified evidentially by our faith in Jesus Christ, not in our flesh.

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