Faith First!

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.”—Galatians 3:16 (NKJV) 

As Paul continues to unpack the principle that a person can only be made righteous before God through faith in Him, he expands on the life of his star witness to this truth: Abraham.

Up to this point, Paul has already established that Abraham was made right with God by simply believing what He had said to Him (Genesis 15:6). The apostle has also established that those who follow in Abraham’s example are his spiritual descendants. This means even if you’re a Gentile man or woman and you’ve placed your faith in God’s promises by way of the gospel, you’re related on a spiritual level to Abraham!

But now he drills a bit deeper by drawing from another snippet from Abraham’s life. Paul refers to when God promised Abraham that his blessings would not end with him but extend forward to his descendants. On the surface, this might seem to apply to the entire Jewish race. However, Paul takes an interesting turn at this point and, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, identifies the promise as applying to one person, to Jesus!

Get what Paul is saying here: He’s saying that God’s promises to Abraham have been passed on to Christ Jesus. And not only that, but these promises only pass through Christ Jesus. Those who’ve placed their faith in Christ have also become inheritors of the good promises that God gave to Abraham by the very same principle. See the connection—Abraham believed God and was blessed, we believe in Christ and are blessed!

Remember though, there were still those in Galatia who wanted to rest their righteousness on the law. Paul goes on to say, “And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect” (Galatians 3:17 NKJV).

Paul wants the Galatians to understand that God was doing His thing with Abraham, making a man righteous through faith, 430 years before the Law of Moses ever came into existence! To those who were pointing gospel-believers back to the law, Paul points to something even further back—the justification of Abraham by faith. 

Faith was first, and faith has not, will not, and cannot be replaced by anything else. Rest your righteousness on that and that alone!

DIG: What does Paul remind us about faith by way of Abraham here?

DISCOVER: Upon what should we rest our righteousness and why?

DO: What challenges your sense of faith being sufficient in your life? Have a conversation with a mature Christ-follower—perhaps a mentor, trusted friend, church elder, or pastor—about this and how you can experience a deeper faith in your everyday walk with Jesus. 

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.