The Salvation of the Jews: Galatians 3, Part 1 (It is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham)

jewish_starSo if I’m right — and I’ll admit that the evidence is sparse — my understanding of Jewish salvation should fit well within Gal 3 and Rom 4, the two chapters in which Paul argues that salvation by faith in Jesus comes from God’s covenant with Abraham.

Galatians is likely the earliest of the Pauline epistles (some would argue for 1 Thessalonians). So we start there.

(Gal 3:5-6 ESV) 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith — 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 

The issue before Paul is whether Gentiles must become Jews, by circumcision, to be saved. He begins his argument in Gen 15:6. He says that our salvation is based on “hearing with faith” just as Abraham’s was. “Just as”? The Greek is kathos, and can mean “to the very same degree as.” It’s not the same as “similarly to.” It’s stronger than that.

(Gal 3:7-9 ESV) 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.  8 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.”  9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 

“Know then” is also strong. That which follows is important.

If we have faith, then we Gentiles are also “sons of Abraham.” We who have faith in Jesus have the same blessings as those who are genetically descended from Abraham. (And, of course, the Jews pre-Jesus were sons of Abraham. Paul’s point is that the Gentiles join the Jews in being sons of Abraham.)

After all, God’s promise to Abraham includes a promise to include the nations or Gentiles. Therefore, because Abraham was blessed for his faith, so shall Gentiles of faith. Gentiles are blessed “along with Abraham.”

In short, the gospel promised to Abraham was promised to one day include Gentiles. “Gentiles” doesn’t mean proselytes to Judaism. It’s “the nations” not “Israel, which might include some circumcised converts.” The core of the promise to Abraham was faith as sufficient, and so faith remains sufficient because the Abrahamic covenant remains in effect — from Abraham until now.

(Gal 3:10-12 ESV) For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”  12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

I take “works of the law” to mean “obedience to the Torah.” Paul’s point is not that none of the Torah should be obeyed, but that no one’s salvation can be based on Torah obedience. If you want to rely on Torah obedience for salvation, then you’re stuck with the requirement that you really and truly obey the whole thing — which no one can do.

Hence, Paul finds in the First Testament, “The righteous shall live by faith,” a quotation from Hab 2:4. But Hab is merely declaring as true what had always been true going back to Abraham. Indeed,  there are numerous First Testament passages that speak of being saved by faith, as we covered a few weeks ago.

(Gal 3:13-14 ESV) 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 hanged on a tree” — 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 

“Christ redeemed us … so that … the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.” One essential purpose of the cross was to allow the Gentiles in — to grant them repentance unto salvation.

“Us” likely refers to the Jews. Paul is saying that Jesus redeemed the Jews in order to bring in the Gentiles — so that the Jews (and Gentiles) could receive the Spirit promised by the prophets “through faith.”

(Gal 3:17 ESV)  17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  

The Law of Moses came 430 years after Abraham. The Law did not void the promises made to Abraham. Therefore, the promise that the righteous would live by faith remained in place throughout the Mosaic age. Indeed, if that’s so, then the Jewish faithful were saved by faith from Abraham to Jesus.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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22 Responses to The Salvation of the Jews: Galatians 3, Part 1 (It is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham)

  1. rich constant says:

    now then J.
    in the book of Galatians to get an idea .start with of the salvation that We find in Christ ,you start reading from Galatians 2:16 if you read what I posted last night you remember that I said the “faith Jesus” is used in six different places in the New Testament, this is one of them.
    If you keep the faith of Jesus and mind while reading through chapter 4 verse 4 you should be able to come to an understanding of the faithful seed and the “fAith” that was revealed. I think it’s what it says is now that faith has come. which is a reference back to the seed it’s just important to hold the context and understanding the curse what you do now and put that together.
    read it like he’s talking to you one of the educated Jews and Gentiles He wants castrated. because he says they dang wEll understand the offense of the cross. and you’re messing with these poor Gentiles his children in the faith

  2. rich constant says:

    and of course that would be the “Faith of Jesus”

  3. rich constant says:

    oh and by the way J Galatians 3 verse 22 is another place where the “faith of Christ “is used. that would be three of them.
    yeah boy howdy I’m doing all this work see if I ask you another question.

  4. rich constant says:

    Now read all the way down to chapter 4 verse 9 you’ll figure out why we become known by God why? we’re children of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us? again from understanding the context from Chapter two through chapter 3 n 2 chapter 4 ( through the faith that was once for all delivered to the Saints….
    and that would be Jesus’s faith …the author and perfecter of faith.
    how did he accomplish it through… the curse of the law nullifying the curse and Bringing blessings to us ALL. through “Faith in Jesus “by the good news.not the Law because the law wasn’t made for a righteous man …
    but stumble in one point of the wall and you’re guilty of it all .
    so then through one righteous Act…)
    so then you find guess what
    Salvation by grace through faith the gift of God
    then you can go all the way back up to the beginning and see what Paul saying about the spirit and The LAW because of the Faith of Jesus and not about my faith In Jesus

  5. rich constant says:

    before I go into Romans chapter 4 if you don’t understand the basic concept of what I’m saying here and in Romans 3:26 &22 then we’re going to have to discuss these issues a little more I remember when I first started reading it to be sure it is a perspective ,it is a perspective that is generated by context.
    we been fed ontology for so long .that the Skewing off center Of Context, or the fractal is So nuanced you have to push yourself. I did it by giving glory to God through Jesus. it is a shift to be sure.
    there’s a lot of stuff that I would like to speak to and Romans 4 but I hesitate and will hesitate until you say I got it.
    to be sure I could go to Ephesians or Philippians where the other two are…

  6. rich constant says:

    I mean really J Paul only uses that phrase 5 times and New Testament.
    doesn’t that just make you think something’s up oops that might be 6

  7. rich constant says:

    other one would be Ephesians 3:12.
    Again read it like a letter from 1:1
    now the other one is found in Philippians 3:9 so do the same thing read it like a letter start out in 1:1 and follow the contExt down to 3:9
    it’s good if you can read Greek and you’ll find it check it and then read it.
    if you’re not real good at that Greek stuff with the faith of Christ with the King James Version it becomes just a specific very noticeable.
    with the NET Bible it’s blatant.
    with all the rest of them except for literal translations are transliteral or whatever you call it the literal versions but then again I don’t know all the Bibles you do it becomes faith in Christ.
    Which is basically what I consider to be a Lutheran Reformed theology text.
    And there’s that word on to logical again.
    Good luck let me know what you find how you’re saying it all that good stuff I’ll just hang out wait for an answer blessings my brother
    Rich constant

  8. rich constant says:

    Oh and by the way J if you think that I’m not right I would appreciate it if you would say why I’m in this rabbit hole and I think that it’s dead on.
    Although it’s not like I haven’t thought that before you know what I mean…
    Boy oh boy!

  9. rich constant says:

    I mean I grew up in the Church of Christ conservative Texas tradition and I want to be the pitcher for the team.
    I’d pick up a rock throw that sucker and it took me a few years figure out I live in a glass house.
    wow what a concept.
    unfortunately Christ only judges us when we leave this tabernacle.
    and I think he’s got a bigger rock in mind!
    You know what I mean jelly bean.
    Blessing JAY

  10. rich constant says:

    Quite honestly what I mean is if you understand the concept and principles of what I’m saying root principles.
    And don’t agree with them it be nice for you to lead me out of the rabbit hole.
    You know with Scripture.
    But I find it relevant to those that were being spoken to by PPaul through the Spirit and putting us back on center with Christ where all spiritual blessings are found because of His faithfulness at the head of the body giving glory to God through His faithfulness, not my faith in him.
    in these six places in Scripture. it’s not about my justification it’s about our salvation grace through faith

  11. rich constant says:

    J with that last paragraph.
    Look to Amos the ninth chapter Verse 9.
    read the whole chapter if you’re not already familiar with it.
    Read verse 9 in the King James Version.
    I read that as being God would not allow one good seed 1 faithful seed to be Lost.!
    although I don’t know how many translations take that like that anymore.
    Although I always took that as a principal of God’s ability again to work on an individual level.
    in the judgment of his people.
    anyway on that one that’s the way I always look at it I’m sure it’s changed now

  12. rich constant says:

    Oh and by the way I just remembered when I was about 24 or 23 or 24 I got hold of an Intrlinear and that pretty much screwed me down pretty tight and I didn’t really care what anybody said I was going to work it out or die trying.
    40 years later the context it’s all coming together.
    amongst a whole lot of other doubts that I had to work my way through.

  13. rich constant says:

    And as a PS J don’t you ever think that I’m not grateful for this opportunity to get all of this stuff out of my head and on to some kind of paper.
    Thank You Jay

  14. Dwight says:

    “All nations shall be blessed”, not just Israel.

  15. rich constant says:

    Okie dokie
    well I just finished my nap I was tired didn’t get much sleep last night too much coffee, and now I’m drinking coffee I got to go to the doctor and then I’ll go over to Starbucks and kick kick start this old motor, and then I’m going to start throwing some change up pitches at you all.
    and the reason is Romans 4 right Is before Romans 5.
    and I know that everyone thinks that Romans Ch 4 is part of Paul’s initial statement of faith.
    I don’t see it that way, I see Paul’s initial statement of faith ending at the end of 3:31
    and to sum that up chapter 1 all the way through Chapter three is the mystery revealed. now the explanation and affirmation goes all the way through, ties everything together at the doxology off the top of my head I think that is Romans chapter 16 verse 25 now check.
    by the usage of the word obedience of faith.
    Whose faIth for simplification the Trinities faith.
    because it’s about what they accomplished.
    in there being faithful to creation to the good very good creation which by the way is referenced in Romans chapter 4 pretty sure its verse 12. so then there you got it.
    in chapter 4 verse 12 you really have to understand how the world Abraham being heir to the world try looking at that in Greek.
    there you go with some more of that on tall og.
    that translation should be cosmos of course again I’m not going to get sarcastic here that references the groaning of creation in chapter 8 hot dog oh boy that be that for a while. blessings new line rich constant

    then the explanation of the gospel begins in chapter 4.
    That would be right after the time that he used Face of Jesus and for understand that usage from romanson 319 231 that our house has to be God’s faithfulness to his words God’s righteous faithfulness to be able to judge the world

  16. rich constant says:

    I know my last paragraph doesn’t make good nonsense I’ll redo that later sorry about that I’ll blame voice activation it, it couldn’t have been me boy oh boy

  17. rich constant says:

    let me see if I can get you through this. Always keep in mind the characteristics of God the Trinity I think its Exodus 33:19 from that point start at Romans 1: 1 through seven or eight.
    This predicates everything that’s going to be said in the book of Romans.

    What predicates everything in the Bible, as we look at it thinking that it is about us.
    Its not this is God’s story about his creation and what the Trinity did to resolve the issue of unrighteousness to his truth, to his good to his very good creation.
    I will not go into what we like to call predestination stuff like that because Calvin couldn’t wrap his head around Christ before the foundation of the world .
    For me that gets into quantum physics specifically particle physics.
    We can do that later J I’d love to get into that and how the Spirit works.
    Anyway I’ve already gone over Vs 16-17 and 18 the power of God the gospel unto salvation
    When you get down to the verse I think its 18-19 the wrath of God is revealed. This takes you to the fork in the road, I don’t know how many of you remember Johnny Carson but that was kind of funny to me. read that through Again like a letter.
    try to get what paul is saying about the circumcision the uncircumcision, circumcision of the hart, the wrath of God keeps waiting and waiting and waiting why because of his character qualities intrinsic righteousness
    Then look at all the characteristics from Exodus 33 that you find and look at how many times you see God troughtthe gospel is used the gospel of God.
    Giving glory to God through Jesus Christ.
    And you get up to chapter 3. You read that and it pretty much becomes self evident.
    Paul is always relevant to the people he is speaking to.
    This is God’s story about he is about how he has been faithful righteously faithful so now we’re in chapter 3 and were coming on down and guess what we find everybody’s Fallenshort even Paul realizes it then we come down to 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31.
    That’s the story about God’s righteousness how he’s faithful to his promises to his covenant through his faith in the blood of his son to become A mercy seat.
    3:24-25A To me God’s faithfulness God’s love is exhibited here at the Cross, for the salvation of all of his creation.
    then 25b
    I really don’t agree with hopefully whoever translated that does not have an agenda
    26 A JAy passing over the Sins because of missing the mark of righteousness set before themin the previous time is exactly what happened
    I’m going to post this now if I lose this I’m going to be real upset this is just a generalization of talking points. Some of them.
    at this point in time your heads either spinning around are you just going that can’t be so.
    or then maybe we can go through it a little bit more in depth

  18. rich constant says:

    Now here’s a good laugh.
    I don’t even have a Bible.
    The only Bible I got Is on my phone.
    And I’m trying to do voice recognition on my phone.
    Then I’m trying to make up for having no front teeth and correcting the voice recognition.
    good times
    but then there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
    I’m just having all ball thanks J now I’ll try to get over to chapter 4

  19. laymond says:

    Rich, what does the phrase, “faith in Jesus ” mean to you. and is that all we need to be saved?

  20. rich constant says:

    I just read the post just now so I’ll get back to it later on this evening.
    Although before I do I would appreciate it if you would take those six places in the New Testament and what Jay was saying this morning and run that through your head and tell me what you get out of that especially what you get out of the curse then we’ll have a starting place to understand what Paul meant by faith in Jesus. the Cross is always the turning point or hinge point
    And the only reason for that is that we take so many things for granted and number one is just that we take what is being Said how we understand it.
    and if I’m not mistaken you were raised conservative Church of Christ also were you not.

  21. rich constant says:

    what I would tell you that it means.
    it means what ever you think it means.
    I’m not saying that it’s right although we are to practice righteousness as best as we can see it.
    It’s really about God’s mercy and His lovingkindness.
    loving your brother as yourself and putting God first and foremost in your life.
    After the likeness and image of Christ.
    We’ve already discussed Anto ontology.
    if you have a predisposition of black and white how can I tell somebody thats colorblind that you’re missing out on all the different shades of grey until that person aqueousis I become like the guy it is pouring water up a rope and not expecting to get his feet wet.
    I know the water tight box that the Church of Christ the conservative Church of Christ built through baking ISM the scientific method ignoring the Old Testament or the first covenant.
    If it’s not expressed blatantly in the New Covenant then you can’t do it whether or not it’s good it’s God’s good.
    I just hope and pray that you’re not there today. anyway I think would you I would go to Romans chapter 13 pretty sure that’s what it is let me look it up no chapter 14.
    if you’re still in that kind of a box I know I was. And it took me a few years to figure it out but at least I knew I was in a box. Blessings

  22. rich constant says:

    So keep eating vegetables brother.
    but if you like steak it’s all right here

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