Friday, October 20, 2017

Galatians, part 1, Justified by Faith


Justification

This is the third time we’ve had a dalet book. Remember the Hebrew letter dalet and what it means? Door.
Galatians was written by the apostle Paul. The Galatians had become the prey of the legalizers, the Judaizing missionaries from Palestine. They believed 2 false doctrines: one was that obedience to the law was mingled with faith as the grounds of the sinner’s justification and the other was that the justified believer was made perfect by keeping the law. Think about that. You might find that false doctrine resurfacing today. A sinner is justified by faith alone; there is no salvation by keeping the law. Don’t let someone tell you that you’re not getting into Heaven if you don’t obey the 10 commandments.
Read Galatians 2:16, 3:11,13 and 3:23-24:
16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
In chapter 4 Paul shows great concern for the Galatians:
 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
Paul marvels, "You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!" Yet these are not pagan festivals that he is referring to, but important dates on the Jewish calendar. We understand that there is a sense in which the observance of special days could be tolerated (Romans 14:5-6), but the Galatians are taught to observe them for justification before God and other spiritual attainments. Paul's position is that this is like returning to paganism, back to ignorance and enslavement. And this is also his assessment of the Judaizers' religion.

Next week we’ll look at how Galatians links with the other two dalet books.