In the book of Galatians, chapter 3 we read that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Of course to the early believers in Galatia, obeying the Old Testament law was part of their life and upbringing. If they were Jews, the commandments were drilled into them. But even for people who were not Jewish, the laws of Abraham and Moses were a part of their society and everyone’s upbringing.
Even today, with fewer people than ever attending church or reading their Bible, the law still does its work in many hearts. It convicts many to know what is right and wrong and is the foundation of a moral life and our judicial system.
When Christianity began to spread 2000 years ago, its message was different from what people had become accustomed to. Instead of the strict enforcement of the law, its message focused on “faith” and not so much works. This new faith was asking people to believe in something that at the time was not written down and was even talked about negatively in their temples.
For many, faith was a new concept, even for the Jewish people who had been taught of the faith of Abraham, Moses and other Old Testament characters. These early Christians had to step out from what they’d been brought up knowing and to trust a new teaching of faith in Jesus.
But faith was an old concept, many never realized it was part of the Old Testament teachings. When it was emphasized in the early church, there were some questions and doubts. The Jewish people did not quite realize that much of what Abraham (Galatians 3:9), Moses, and other Old Testament characters did was done by faith. Those saints had to step out and follow God when there was no clear direction or sign. Their belief that the Almighty would deliver or help them was what allowed them to get close to God and to be used by Him.
It can be very difficult for some to let faith lead them. Strict laws are easier and more secure for many to follow. Maybe that’s why so many people try to hang on to both sides, to live by faith yet feeling that for some reason God is still demanding certain things from us when it comes to salvation. The Galatians were certainly having that sort of problem in their day, trying to stick to the rules they had grown up with but for some reason thinking that it was through those rules that salvation lied.
It’s not that the law or following rules are bad. They are actually good. Rules help us to keep order and discipline. They help us avoid trouble and temptation and the law forces us to see ourselves for the sinful, broken people that we are and points us to the cross. It is only through faith in Jesus that we have salvation, not by our works.
Galatians 3: 26-27 says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
We are children of God, with all the rights of full heirs! Our faith declares to the world that we are God’s children. We have chosen to be clothed in Christ and his righteousness and not depend on earning our own salvation. He is our salvation and hope. He is our life and strength. He is our older brother and Savior. He is our Lord.
As we celebrate Easter and all that God has blessed us with, let us live our lives, guided by the Holy Spirit, in faith of Christ Jesus.
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