This is the fifth message in a series of studies by pastor Murray McClellan. It is our prayer that you are blessed through his labors in God’s Word.
Demonstrated in the life of Abraham (v. 6-9)
Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed. “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
Paul now turns to the testimony of Abraham.
He declares that a person is a child of Abraham, not through circumcision, but by believing God. In fact, Abraham was justified with God before he was ever circumcised and long before the law was ever given. Why Abraham was totally right with God when he was an uncircumcised Gentile – just like the Galatians!
The context of the above verses clearly show us that the promised blessing was justification by faith. The blessing is the forgiveness of sins and being put right with God. Acts 3:25-26 also speaks of the blessing promised in Abraham’s Seed (Christ). There it defines the blessing as being turned away from our iniquities by the ascended Lord. Luke 1:72-79 also speaks of the fulfillment of the blessing of Abraham in Christ. There Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, ties the blessing to being delivered from the hand of our enemies.
Our real enemies are spiritual (i.e. Satan, sin, and death).
In being delivered from these enemies we might serve God “without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:74-75) Thus, John the Baptist’s message was to prepare the way for the One in whom the blessing of Abraham would come. “And you, child [John], will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give the knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.” (Luke 1:76-77)
How is this blessing received? Is it being born into a Jewish family? Is it by being circumcised? Is it by obeying the commandments? No, through faith! We receive justification – the blessing promised to Abraham – through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham.
Verse 8 tells us that God preached the gospel to Abraham.
Is believing the blessing promised through Abraham’s Seed, the same thing as the gospel of “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” that Paul preached. Yes. For Paul himself in chapter one stated clearly that there is only one true and saving gospel. Anyone who preaches any other gospel is accursed. Abraham and every saint of any time period, believed the gospel and were justified on the basis of the Seed of the woman, who is Christ (Gal. 3:16). In John 8:56, Jesus proclaimed, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad!”
The gospel of Jesus Christ – the grace of God in Christ – is the only means of salvation. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Whether your name is Abel, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, or Murray, we’ve “all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:13) We are all (believing Jews and believing Gentiles) “being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 3:22)
Believers, are we not blessed along with believing Abraham?
Even as Abraham, through Christ we are “called the friend of God.” (James 2:23) Years ago, God took Abraham outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.” If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are one of those stars. As true sons of Abraham, let us, like those stars in the dark sky, “shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15-16)
Murray is the lead church planter and Bible teacher at Grace Fellowship Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He and his wife Cheryl have labored in the Gospel for many years despite the many discouragements along the way. Our brother is associated with “InDepth Studies”, the Acts 29 network of church planters, and more recently the uniquely Canadian C2C church planting network. In new covenant circles Murray is a long time contributor to new covenant thought and discussion.