Ladies Bible Study

A Study in Galatians

Part 6

"The Blessings of Abraham"

Before we get into this lesson letís briefly review the key points we have learned so far.

The Letter to the Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, a province of Asia Minor, the area we know now as modern Turkey. These were churches he had established through his ministry as an apostle. Churches in which Paul was responsible for the spiritual growth and maturity of the believers. Paul had left the area and false teachers had followed him, spreading false teaching. Most specifically that it was not by grace you were saved but by following the law, most specifically the act of circumcision.

It is a strongly worded letter, with Paul at one point even referring to the Galatians as

"foolish" or the original Greek word is closer to our word "stupid." We see by this that Paul was very upset with the Galatians, for following after false teachers so soon after he had left the area.

The two main themes of the letter are:

  1. Salvation by grace versus salvation by works.
  2. Spirituality by grace versus spirituality by works.

The Galatians were being led astray by accepting the teaching that works of the flesh, notably circumcision, was the only way to salvation and righteousness not Godís grace.

Galatians 2:20-21: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.''

The law was not given as a means of salvation; it was given to show us what sin was and to show us Godís plan of salvation. Everything in the law, pointed to Christ, every sacrifice, prayer, feast, everything pointed to the coming Messiah.

Paul goes on to tell us no one is justified by the law, "for the just shall live by faith."

He quotes this verse again in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38.

We are saved by faith to live an lie of faith, not works!

Galatians 3:12: Yet the law is not of faith, but "The man who does them shall live by them.''

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are under the law and required to live by it. Since it is impossible to live by the law, you are doomed to failure and spiritual death. Amen!

Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree''),

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us!

The curse of the law is threefold, poverty, sickness and spiritual death.

Jesus became what we are sinful, poor, sick and spiritually dead so that we could become what He is the righteousness of God.

Letís look at our main Scripture for tonight.

Galatians 3:13-19: 13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree''), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.

16. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds,'' as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed,'' who is Christ. 17. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

18. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19. What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

We discussed in the last lesson, that Christ became a curse for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ. Why? Paul answers the question in the next sentence, "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles."

The Greek word for "that" is hina, (Phonetic: hin'-ah) meaning in order that (denoting the purpose or the result): --albeit, because, to the intent (that), lest, so as.

So what Paul is saying is Christ became a curse for us, so that or in order that we as Gentiles can inherit the blessings of Abraham.

Verse 15. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds,'' as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed,'' who is Christ.

Letís look at the original agreement between Abraham and God.

King James Version:

Genesis 17:1-10: 1. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

2. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

4. As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

6. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

I went to the King James Translation, because the New King James translated the word "seed" as descendents. This is not a correct translation.

According to Vines Hebrew dictionary, this word is zera`, (Phonetic: zeh'-rah), seed; figuratively, fruit, plant, sowing-time, posterity: -X carnally, child, fruitful, seed (-time), sowing- time.

It is seed singular, not plural, it is the spiritual seed of Abraham, which is Jesus Christ, not the physical seed of Abraham, the Jewish people.

This is why in verse 14, Paul tells us we as Gentiles can receive the blessings of Abraham, because we receive them by a spiritual relationship, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not a physical relationship Jewish by birth. After the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, we all became the spiritual descendents of Abraham, and thus in line for his inheritance.

God, in the form of Jesus Christ, appeared to Abraham and made this contract. It is between God, the party of the first part and Abraham and His seed, Christ and then other believers, the party of the second part. God swore to it on himself and Abraham cut his flesh to signify his agreement, circumcision. Neither could change it without the otherís consent, just as contracts and convenants are made today.

Verse 17. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

This agreement was confirmed by God in Christ. Christ even then, as his role as intercessor, priest and substitute, our representative was starting the process that would in the greatest exchange ever. Our sin for His righteousness.

It was made by promise, Abraham had to believe it would come to pass. God told Abraham to walk before Him and be thou perfect and He (God) would make His Covenant with him. It was Godís promise, His Word, that Abraham believed in.

So, then why did God give the law to Moses?

Verse 19. What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

God gave the Law 430 years later, to point man in the right direction, to show man his sin and what the answer was! Jesus Christ!! It was given until the seed came, that seed was Jesus Christ.

Jesus said he came to fulfill the law.

Matthew 5:17: 17. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Hebrewís 5:7-9: 7. who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8.though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

Verse 7, is referring to the night before His crucifixion.

Luke 22:39-46: 39. And coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40. When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation.'' 41. And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42.saying, "Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.'' 43. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

44. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46. Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.''

Hebrews tells us that after praying incredibly hard, travailing in the spirit so that Father God even had to send angels to strengthen Jesus, that He still went to the cross. Jesus knew the incredible physical suffering he was about to face, but he also knew the ultimate end,

total separation from God through spiritual death!!

We were separated from God through our sin, but, Praise God, through our faith in Jesus we no longer are separated. But you see, Jesus was so totally separated from God that he cried out , "My God, My God why have You forsaken me?"

Mark 15:34: 34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'' which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?''

You see, it was at that moment that Jesus became completely all that God abhorred and God had to look away. Then Jesus experienced something none of us will ever experience, total separation from God, in hell! Jesus went to hell so you didnít have to!

Donít ever let that thought escape you!

Jesus became our sin, our poverty, our sickness on the cross, then He died spiritually and was totally separated from God so that Godís plan of redemption could be completely fulfilled. It was the only way it could be fulfilled! This is what the verse in Hebrews is talking about when it says he learned obedience.

Hebrews 5:8-9: 8.though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

When was Jesus perfected? When He rose again.

When did he become the author of eternal salvation to all who obey? When he rose again and ascended on high and poured his blood on the mercy seat in the presence of God, once for all!

Galatians 3:20-26: 20. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

22. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

24. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

The law pointed to Christ and it also defined in legal terms the Covenant between God and Abraham, until it could be fulfilled by Abrahamís seed, Jesus Christ.

God never broke His side of the bargain.

Abraham did, several times. Most notably when he slept with Haggar to produce a heir.

Also the times he lied about Sarah being his sister.

But you see the wonderful thing about God is He keeps His word, even when we donít.

Just like Abraham, we will sin, we will fall, we will not keep our end of the bargain, but Praise God He is faithful.

Hebrews 4:14-16: 14. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

15. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 1:8-10: 8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Even after our salvation, we will miss it, we will sin, and our flesh will betray us! But praise God, we have the right to go to the Father, confess our sin and He is faithful to forgive us!

Amen!

Let me close with this verse.

Ephesians 1:3: 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places! Where? In Christ!

Step out today and live in those blessing! Donít let what Christ accomplished on the cross be lost! Live life more abundantly! Amen!