whytheology

For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

March 9 Reflection Galatians 3:7-14

Galatians 3:7-14 (KJV)

 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Link to NIV text

Father Abraham Had Many Sons

Surely I’m not alone in this, but I remember growing up and going to Sunday School in elementary school. During that time, one of the songs that we song was “Father Abraham had Many Sons.” It was one of those where you gradually make different body parts move (first arms, then legs, then head) until you are flailing around and the song ends. As a refresher (especially if you don’t have young kids yet) here are the lyrics:

“Father Abraham, had many sons,

and many sons had Father Abraham

I am one of them, and so are you

So let’s just praise the Lord [begin reciting body parts that will be moved]”

It’s a memorable song; made even more memorable by the time I spent playing “Exodus” on the NES (by non-Nintendo approved company Wisdom Tree) that had the tune as the background. But as I thought about it, I guess I just kind of assumed that I was a blood descendant of Abraham. I mean he had a lot of sons. In my first and second grade mind I somehow got him mixed up with Noah or something. But that’s not what the song’s about. It’s also not what Paul is talking about when he says that we are children of Abraham.

If you remember, yesterday’s passage ended with Paul declaring that it was Abraham’s faith that counted as righteousness. It is in that sense that we are children of Abraham. This, says Paul, is partly what God meant we he declared that “all nations” will be blessed through him. However, this doesn’t find fulfillment until Jesus of Nazareth, who was a blood descendant of Abraham. Jesus widened the scope of the covenant so that it was no longer ethnic. Although the covenant has always been one of Grace, as it existed under the law, it was based upon your first birth. Christ made possible a second birth; one brought about by faith. Although we were an enemy of God, rightly deserving God’s curse, Christ bore the curse in our place allowing us to follow him by faith and so be born again, this time as a son (or daughter) of Abraham.

What do you think? Add your thoughts to the comments and join the conversation. Here are some reflection questions to help you get started: What does it mean to you that Christ was cursed for you? If you are living by faith, then the bible says that makes you righteous. You stop being a sinner and are being made into a saint. Does it change your opinion of yourself, and how you act, to think of yourself as a saint? Promise is future oriented word. What do you think Paul means by the “promise” of the Spirit?

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