“Just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Gal. 3:6)
This is Paul’s closer to the argument in verse five. Abraham lived prior to the law but he was counted as a righteous man. If there was no law then what was the basis for his justification? The answer is plain, it is faith. Abraham believed God and trusted him and obeyed what God told him to do right up to the point of offering his son of promise. No laws, just faith, and obedience.
Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness. Abraham was not righteous on the basis of his faith for the scripture says God counted it as righteousness. Abraham was faithful and God accepted his faithfulness and extended grace. When we think of being saved by faith we must think that it is God’s choice to extend grace and make us righteous.
The Galatians wanted that righteousness and had originally sought it through faith in Christ as taught in the gospel message. Then, for some unexplainable reason (to Paul) they elected to return to the process of seeking righteousness through works of the law. The Jews thought of Abraham as their father, the beginning of the Jewish race. Paul wants them to think about how they were considered children of Abraham, through law or faith.
In the next few verses Paul will point out how the whole thing worked for them and the Gentiles as well. Not only were the Jews children of Abraham by faith but the Gentiles were as well. Paul just skips the law as it does not apply in this situation. The law was like a parenthetical statement for the Jewish people bracketed on both sides by justification by faith.
If we consult the New Testament book of Hebrews we will find a lot about faith as the means of justification, the application of righteousness. The writer of that book makes it clear that while faith was the factor, it was a special kind of faith that God recognized. The demons believe in Jesus but it doesn’t do them any good because they aren’t obedient to that faith. In Hebrews, we learn that Abraham obeyed God by faith. All the men and women of God in that book acted by faith. This is why James says that faith without that obedience is dead.
Saving faith must move the believer to obey God, to change his life, to do good works created by God for him to do. Jesus called for faith and he also called for repentance, baptism, and a new way of living which put him first. Saving faith must, like Abraham’s cause the lost one to act. On Pentecost, the ones who heard the message of Jesus believed and immediately asked what must we do for righteousness to be counted to them. Cornelius and his house stood ready to hear the good news and Peter told him “…anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.”
Philip witnessed to the Eunuch from Ethiopia and when the Eunuch believed in Jesus he said, “See, here is water, what prevents me from being baptized?” Obviously, Philip must have mentioned that saving faith requires action.
Task for Today: Believing on the Lord Jesus will save you if your faith leads you to obey the object of your faith. Faith alone cannot mean faith without obedience, there is just too much evidence that God requires action when you believe in Him and His Son. Believe in Jesus and ask the question, “What must I do to be saved?”