The Gospel of Promise

Text: Galatians 3:1-29

This is the third of six lessons examining the gospel from the book of Galatians. This lesson will focus on the gospel as a message of promise. This promise extended all the way back to Abraham. As we will see, this promise is conditional.

The Announcement

  • The promise made to Abraham (Galatians 3:8) – promise of the coming Christ through His descendants (Genesis 12:3; 22:18); God’s dealings with Abraham demonstrate the fact that He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:13-18)
  • The promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:2, 14) – for all (Galatians 2:9; 5:6; 6:15); this is the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39); fellowship with God that is possible through forgiveness of sins (Psalm 132:11-12; cf. Ephesians 2:5-6); comes by the hearing of faith (preaching the gospel)
  • The promise for those who believe (Galatians 3:14, 22) – we must have faith to receive God’s promises (Hebrews 6:12); we do not automatically receive the promise because of sin (Isaiah 59:2; 1 John 1:5-7); we must respond in faith to be cleansed of sin (Acts 15:9; 22:16)

The Instruction

  • The hearing of faith (Galatians 3:2) – this is how we learn of the promise; God uses the word to draw people to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:14); faith is not a feeling or a miraculous operation on one’s heart; comes through the word (Romans 10:17); therefore we must listen (Luke 8:8) and be careful how we listen (Luke 8:18)
  • The law leads us to Christ (Galatians 3:24) – types, shadows, and prophecies fulfilled in Christ; His sacrifice (John 1:29; Exodus 12:1-13; John 3:14; Numbers 21:8-9); people (Acts 3:22; Hebrews 7:1-3, 17; 11:19); prophecies (Isaiah 7:14; Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:7-8); He came to fulfill what was written about Him; we need an understanding of the OT to appreciate the NT
  • In baptism, we clothe ourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27) – baptism is not an outward sign of an inward grace (not already clothed with Christ); the saving work in baptism is performed by God (Colossians 2:11-12); we submit to His will and He clothes us with Christ

The Warning

  • Do not let anyone bewitch you (Galatians 3:1, 3) – they had been deceived; turned to follow a different gospel (Galatians 1:6); they knew the truth, but were foolish; they did not lack knowledge, they rejected it (Hosea 4:6)
  • Do not think you can be perfected by the flesh (Galatians 3:3) – “by the flesh” means apart from Christ (Galatians 5:16-17, 24); contrast with the “hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:2, 5); we can only be perfected in/through Christ (1 Peter 5:10)
  • Do not become shut up under sin (Galatians 3:22) – we have sinned in the past (Romans 3:23) and cannot change that; if we have obeyed the gospel, we have repented and have been forgiven (Acts 2:38); do not go back to sin; it is possible to escape it and become entangled again (2 Peter 2:20); this is a worse condition

Conclusion

  • The promise we have in Christ is a home in heaven for eternity
  • We must believe, be baptized, and remain faithful to receive the promise (Galatians 3:22, 26-27, 1, 11)

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