What does Galatians 3:8 mean?
ESV: And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
NIV: 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.'
NASB: The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.'
CSB: Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you.
NLT: What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, 'All nations will be blessed through you.'
KJV: And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Paul is writing to non-Jewish Christians in Galatia. He is warning them not to believe the false teaching of a group known as the Judaizers. These men are telling people that Christianity only starts by believing in Jesus, and that belief must be followed by being circumcised in order to truly be included in God's family, the Jews, the sons of Abraham (Galatians 2:4).
Paul has answered by declaring that the opposite is true. Abraham was "counted as righteous" by believing the Lord (Galatians 3:6). Therefore, Paul said, everyone who believes the Lord is a child of Abraham and included in God's family. Put in theological terms, justification—being declared right before God—comes by faith in Christ, period. It is not, in any sense or form, something earned or produced by following the law of Moses.
How can Paul say such a thing? What about all the requirements of the law in the Old Testament? Paul reminds his readers of one of the first things God said to Abraham, that through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Paul is clear: This was God's plan all along. The Scriptures were always pointing to the day when all people, not just the Israelites who followed the law, would be included in the family of God by faith, as Abraham was. The law was never meant to be the solution to our sin—Christ was.
Galatians 3:1–9 begins with Paul calling the Galatian Christians he loves ''foolish.'' They have begun to believe they must follow the law of Moses in order to be included in the family of God. Paul asks: did God give His Spirit to them with great power after they believed, or after doing works of the law? Clearly, the Spirit arrived in response to their faith. Abraham also was declared righteous by God in response to his own faith. Paul insists God's promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him pointed to this time when Gentiles would be saved by faith in Christ.
Paul indicates the Galatian Christians are foolish for believing they need to follow the law of Moses to be right with God. He offers three specific arguments to support this. First, they received God's Spirit in a powerful way after believing in Jesus, but before doing any works of the law. Second, Scripture itself shows God's blessing coming by faith, and His curse coming by the law. Christ paid the price of that curse on the cross. Third, God's covenant with Abraham is like a legal document, and it cannot be revoked.
In Galatians chapter 2, Paul declared that we can only be justified—''made right with God''—by faith in Christ and not by following the law of Moses. In chapter 3, Paul offers three arguments for why that is true. He argues from the Galatians own experience, from the Scriptures themselves, and from the legal standpoint of a covenant contract. Finally, Paul answers what the law is for if it cannot save us from our sin. In part, it reveals our sinfulness and convinces us of our need to be saved by faith in Christ. The following chapter will expand on what it means to be an ''heir,'' spiritually.
Galatians is sometimes called “a short Romans” for its similar themes of justification and sanctification through faith. A group of Christians known as “Judaizers” were preaching a gospel of legalism, rather than grace. Paul’s main purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to reiterate the true nature of the gospel: we are justified (made righteous) and sanctified (made more Christlike) through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This letter was probably written shortly before the church elders in Jerusalem issued their official refutation of the Judaizers, commonly called the Jerusalem Council.
Accessed 2/25/2024 11:28:49 AM
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