Living on Faith

Key Verse: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that [life] which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, [the faith] which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.”
—Galatians 2:20, American Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
Galatians 2:15 – 3:5

FOURTEEN YEARS AFTER the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), we find Paul in Antioch admonishing the Apostle Peter for his hypocrisy by separating himself from the Gentile converts for fear of the Jews. We read, “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

“But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.”—Gal. 2:15-19, New American Standard Version

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that it is not by the Law that any can be saved, but by faith in Jesus Christ. In Galatians 2:21, the apostle says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Next, Paul poses a question, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 3:5) What is this faith Paul speaks of? He gives us the definition of faith in the words recorded in Hebrews 11:1. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” He further states, “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (vs. 6) Where does this faith come from? We answer, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”—Rom. 10:17

Many of the Jews, some in Galatia and in other areas that the apostle was witnessing to, although converts to Christ, were still holding to the Jewish traditions, and it was to these that the Apostle Paul was writing. A new era had begun, one where faith—that is, the faith that was in Christ—was foremost. The apostle, writing to the Corinthian brethren, wrote, “By faith ye stand.” (II Cor. 1:24) Again, in II Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Finally, the Apostle Paul points to Abraham as one who walked before God by faith and not by works. We read, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3) “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed.” (Heb. 11:8,9) We end our lesson today by quoting the apostle, “No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”—Gal. 3:11,12

Dawn Bible Students Association
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