Romans 4:18-25; Hebrews 11:17-19; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Truth Taught-God’s promise remains throughout the generations because God raises the dead.
The primary model of faith in the New Testament is not Peter, Paul or James but the primary model of faith in the New Testament is an Old Testament figure. Abraham is the case study in faith that Jesus, Paul and James highlight in the NT to show what faith really is. What was it that Abraham believed? Abraham believed what God told him. He believed God’s Word so strongly that even in trials his faith grew.
We’ll discover that Abraham’s faith, while being genuine and saving was also a faith that continued to grow. As he had encounters with God more revelation was given and Abraham believed even more. He believed all God revealed to him.
Abraham had direct revelation from God…
Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)
12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham believed what God told him and God counted that to him as righteousness. Abraham was Justified by faith.
God’s promise given to Abraham by direct proclamation also includes all of Abraham’s seed which are those who believe and who would believe by direct proclamation of God the Promise that through Abraham’s offspring who is Christ that the families of the world would be blessed.
In Romans 4, Paul teaches us by using Abraham as an example of being Justified by Faith and not works of the Law. Much of what he teaches is what we’ve been learning in the Book of Galatians. He continues through Chapter 4 by explaining that his faith was counted as righteousness. He further explains that God’s original Promise made to Abraham of an offspring coming through his line to bless the families of the earth would be realized as we too believe what God promised Abraham. The last section of Romans 4 goes even further to teach us something else Abraham believed…Abraham believed God’s Promise made to him which included the Resurrection.
Truth Taught- By faith we are justified and adopted into God’s family
The Apostle Paul takes us now on further into wonderful implications of the Gospel of free grace. When we believe, we are justified before God. The born-again believer repents and trusts Christ. He has been telling us that it is only by faith that the sinner is reconciled to God and not by works. We are justified before God by faith alone.
Now, he takes us on further to show that faith not only justifies but it also unites us into one body, the Church. Faith breaks down barriers between people who share this faith in common. So, faith then determines the make-up of the body of Christ.
The Apostle calls us all sons or brothers. He uses this term generically which of course also takes in women as well. In Christ we are all children of God regardless of anything else that may identify us. Race, Gender, Social Status, or any other barrier has been broken down for all who have saving faith in Christ.
Galatians 3:23–29 (ESV)
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
1. Sons of God Through Faith (3:26)
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
I wanted to go back and read these verses in their context so we do not miss the connection 26 has with the previous section. The for (gar) in Greek connects the two sections. What he is getting at is that before faith came to us, we were under the Law which served us as a guardian with children who were unable to inherit the family fortune. So too we before faith were not able to inherit the riches of Christ. Now that faith has come, we have been taken from children under a guardian to son and daughters of God.
Faith not only Justifies us but it inserts us into the family of God as sons and daughters. Paul uses sons, the Apostle John uses children…
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
We have just read a few verses from the OT concerning the Sabbath Day.
1. Why the Sabbath?
A. Because God Rested After Six Days
Here we see that there is a pattern that God wants His people to follow. Work for six days and rest on the seventh day. God did not need to rest but He did so to model a pattern for His people. His desire is that we stop our normal activities and take a day and rest and worship Him.
Genesis 2:1–3 (ESV)
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Leviticus 23:3 (ESV)
3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.
B. Because God Rescued Israel from Slavery
Deuteronomy 5:12–15 (ESV)
12 “ ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
God is showing that He is not like Pharoah who worked the people every day until they were worn out and many even died from exhaustion. He is not like Pharoah. Work is required and very good. I pray you work hard and steady. Work is good. We live in a culture that looks down on those who work as if they are less than others who don’t have to work. To enjoy a Sabbath rest God had to work six days. For you to enjoy a Sabbath rest you too must work the other days.
The Law of God is Temporary but the Gospel is Eternal
Text- Galatians 3:19-25
I pray you are thankful for God’s Word today. What a treasure that God has given to us in His Word. The Scriptures teach us about God and about ourselves. They show us what God desires from us. They teach us accurately without any sugar coating, who we really are. They speak truth to us and if you’re willing to take up and read, they point you to Jesus.
We have learned that the Judaizers were seeking to make Gentile Christians follow the Jewish Law and Tradition for Justification. They were saying, the Gospel + The Law = Christianity.
We have learned and I’m so grateful to God for opening up the Scriptures to us, that one is Justified by Faith alone.
When we think of the Law of God given at Mount Sinai to Moses, we should think of it as temporary. This is what Paul is getting at in our text today. Think with me for a moment, the Law did not arrive until 430 years after Abraham believed God’s Promise. For all that time there was no Mosaic Law. Then once Jesus came, He fulfilled the Law and after Christ we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us leading us into all righteousness. So, we can think of the Law of God existing between Mount Sinai and the arrival of Jesus at His incarnation. So, the Law is temporary but the Gospel is eternal.
The Law of God does not and cannot save us. It cannot Justify us before God. The Law does not give us Christ. We learned the Law did not Justify Abraham, Faith did. We learned that for all who rely on the Law for Justification are cursed by God. For all who rely on Christ find blessing. We learned that the Law came after God’s promise to Abraham and added nothing to the Promise.
So, Paul asks the question for us…
19 Why then the law?
Today, we are shown just where God’s Law fits in.
The Third Commandment
Exodus 20:7 (ESV)
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
The Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 36
What is required
in the third commandment?
We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the name of God
by cursing, 1
or unnecessary oaths, 3
nor to share in such horrible sins
by being silent bystanders. 4
Rather, we must use the holy name of God
only with fear and reverence, 5
so that we may rightly confess him, 6
call upon him, 7
and praise him in all our words and works. 8
The Lord’s Holy Name-
We said last time that the first two commandments have to do with worship. Because there are no other Gods, then we must worship the true God appropriately. We cannot fashion a god and bow down to it thinking that is appropriate.
The 3rd Commandment too has worship in mind. Here we must use God’s holy name with reverence and awe. It is by His name that we know Him. We must use His name correctly because it is through His name, we know Him rightly.
If we do not know God correctly and accurately then we cannot worship Him rightly. God’s name is Holy.
The word vain here in the 3rd Commandment in Hebrew means to rush. It’s used for a rushing wind, a strong wind, perhaps even a tornado. Like the rushing wind leaves destruction so to when we use God’s name without proper care and reverence and truthfulness, we can also leave destruction behind.