I participate in a Bible reading program with two other folks at my church in which we read one to two chapters a day, and exchange emails that reflect our comments on the reading. We will complete reading and commenting on the New Testament by the end of 2021.
I base the below two takeaways on my comments generated through this very beneficial reading program. Of course, additional takeaways exist.
Salvation is by Faith and Not by Works!
First, the overall theme of Galatians 3 is salvation by faith and not through the law. This is completely consistent with the well-known passage of Ephesians 2:8–9 (NASB95), which reads:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Jesus made that point clear at Matthew 7:21–23 (NASB95):
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
No doubt, those who prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles will rely on their works to save them, but they will be eternally wrong! How awful!
Abraham’s Faith was 430 Years Before the Law
Second, it was Abraham’s faith that resulted in righteousness, i.e., his salvation, per Galatians 3:6 (NASB95):
6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Here, Paul quoted Genesis 15:6 (NASB95), which reads:
6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Also, note what the Bible records about Abraham’s faith in God at Genesis 22:7–14 (NASB95):
7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
It is critical to note that the promise to Abraham of salvation through faith was made 430 years before the law, and the law does not annul the promise. Galatians 3:16–18 (NASB95) reads:
16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
It is exciting to see the link Paul made between Abraham (faith ® righteousness) and God’s plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Every believer must proclaim that salvation is by faith through grace and not by works. The fact that God sees every believer with the righteousness of Christ is because of His grace and mercy, and in no way because of human effort. Titus 3:4–5 (NASB95)
4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
If You are Not Sure You Are Saved
Wouldn’t it be great if you could hook yourself up to a “salvation meter” that would you for certain your eternal destiny? During my about 39 years of practicing patent law, I never ran across such a meter. And while no such “for certain” meter exists, I believe my new book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth is an effective vehicle for people to conduct a personal examination of their standing with God.
Against an explanation of the relevant biblical foundation using analytical skills I developed through my law practice, as well as through formal biblical training seminars, The Salvation Meter presents over thirty “tests of salvation” comprising detailed written interrogatories coupled with a unique Personal Salvation Assessment (PSA) to help a person self-diagnose their overall spiritual condition. Although the PSA is not a “for certain” diagnosis, it provides a person with a sense of where they are headed for eternity so they can take appropriate action.
By using The Salvation Meter, self-deceived unbelievers can come to appreciate their lost condition. They can then accept God’s gift of salvation and rejoice in the abundant life filled with new meaning and purpose now and for eternity.
By using The Salvation Meter, Christians who lack assurance of their salvation can gain full assurance. Then they can throw away their “spiritual wobble board” and live the victorious life of a confident believer reaping the wonderful blessings of knowing they are God’s children.
You can find out more about The Salvation Meter, as well as see the great cover design by my Pastor, Josh Mangrum of Fairview Community Church (Fairview, Tennessee), by going to any one of the bookseller websites listed at the end of this email.
Christian Publisher Xulon Press: Author Steve Belsheim – Christian Publisher Xulon Press
Amazon: The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth: Belsheim, Steve, Mangrum, Josh: 9781662828638: Amazon.com: Books
Barnes & Noble: The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth by Steve Belsheim | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
Target: The Salvation Meter – By Steve Belsheim (paperback) : Target
Cokesbury: The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tes | Cokesbury
The website for The Salvation Meter Book
Please note that I have launched a website The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth by which I will continuously update the substantive content of The Salvation Meter with more extensive exegetical material, updated discussion, teaching aids, and the like.
If You Know You are Not a Christian
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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