Standing by Faith
We do like to sit, don’t we? Go to a meeting and there’s a Chair person, have a secret and there’s a Stool pigeon, take a rest and you’re a Couch potato, and even if you do nothing at all you’ll be a Bench warmer!
But when it comes to Truth a Christian must know how to Stand. In Galatians 3 Paul tells us we stand by FAITH! This truth leapt out at Martin Luther one day as he read in Romans…
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Rom. 1:16-17).
Here Paul defines the “crux” [interesting word] of the gospel, from the Old Testament (Covenant) prophet Habakkuk to the New Testament (Covenant) fulfillment in the sacrifticial atonement of Christ, and that truth is this: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).
The gospel is salvation by FAITH—faith ‘sola’ scrawled Luther! Faith alone! “…a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,” or as other translations have it “…from faith to faith.” Faith through and through!
This revelation spawned the protestant reformation in the early 16th Century. It is the central truth of the New Covenant. The Old taught us what God required and the New provided that requirement in Christ. The Old showed us our righteousness was but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) and the New clothed us in the righteousness of God (Isa. 61:10; Rom. 3:21-22; Eph. 6:14)!
And this is what Paul preached to the Galatians and now scolds them for forgetting. Old Covenant teachers had come on the scene and convinced them to continue in the Old Covenant ways, the fruitless and impossible ways of self effort, law and inadequate self righteousness.
Paul was incensed! “Are you so foolish?” he asks. “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). “The flesh,” i.e. in Greek the “sarx,” that sinful state of human beings, that nature within us that opposes the Spirit of God.
He shows that the way of faith was always God’s plan, from Abraham to eternity, and he cites again those same words of Habakkuk, “The just shall live by faith” – sola!
Stand up believer! Stand tall. Raise your arms and praise the King! It is He Who now sits…. He sits at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2)… interceding for our sins (Rom. 8:34).