Going For The Throat

GOING FOR THE THROAT

“So again I ask, does God give His Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

“Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Galatians 3:5-9.

Paul had to go for the throat of the pernicious teaching of the Judaizers before it took hold of the Gentile believers and strangled the life out of them before the church was one generation old. What better source could he appeal to than the Biblical record of Abraham, who was the father of the Jewish nation?

Since Abraham preceded Moses and the Law (and the Torah tells the story of Abraham and God in detail), surely Abraham must be the one who models the relationship with God that we are to follow. The children of Israel were no example because they not only failed to follow God’s way of doing life, but they also twisted it to suit their own ends. They turned God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins, the sacrificial system (which was a picture of what Christ had already done on the cross from before the beginning of time), into an excuse for sinning.

What was the gospel according to Abraham? God put him into right standing with Himself because Abraham believed His promise. He took God at His word and, except for a few deviations along the way, acted on it instead of trying to gain favour with God in his own way. God had given him some hefty promises:

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2, 3.

Now I don’t know how much Abraham understood or appreciated God’s promises then; after all, they were so far in the future that he would not see their fulfilment in his lifetime. And then there was the matter of a son. None of this would happen if he did not have a son. God hadn’t said anything about a child yet, but it stands to reason that he could never become a great nation without him and Sarah starting the ball rolling.

The “son” promise came later. Years passed. He and Sarah were settled in the land of Canaan. God had told them to get up and go, and they got up and went, but they were only sojourners in the land, not landowners. How could a single couple take over a whole country? In any case, they didn’t even have a family, let alone a nation!

Then, one night, God spoke again – another promise and this time one that addressed his unspoken dream, “You will have a son,” God assured him. “Do you want to know how many ‘sons’? Look up at the stars. Can you count them? No? Then you won’t be able to count your descendants either.”

Abraham gazed up into the night sky. Myriads of stars twinkled down on him. He was looking into the future and a picture began to take shape – people, millions of people, just like God said, but they weren’t only his blood descendants. They were people from every nation gathered into one big family, a family of people who had faith in God.

“Do you know what, God?” he whispered, “I think you can do it. I know you can do it!” There and then, Abraham was catapulted into a new relationship with God. “You are my man! We are now partners in my big plan. It will take thousands of years to accomplish, Abraham, but it will all begin with you because you trust me.”

So where does circumcision and keeping the law fit into God’s scheme of things? It doesn’t. It was designed for another purpose and it was only a temporary arrangement. Paul will go on in his vehement defence of the gospel, to explain what the law was intended to do. But for now he gave his readers a glimpse of what trusting God was about – entering into a partnership with Him so that He can fulfil His big plan for the whole world through those who believe in Him.

What is His big plan? To shower supernatural favour on the whole world, Jew and Gentile, through Abraham because Abraham chose to believe His promise. Can you see why Paul had to strangle this false teaching before it took hold of the church? God cannot carry out His plan if people insist on trying to gain the favour He has already freely given us through Jesus.

He wants to get on with blessing all the nations of the world through the church, not to put up with our puny effort to keep the rules, which doesn’t get us anywhere, anyway.

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Luella Campbell


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You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.

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