Praying God’s Will; Galations, Chapter 3

Good morning, friend. 🙂  How was your weekend?

It has been busy here on the ministry front.  The weekend before last, camp had its annual 3 day garage sale.  Over 600 people came through!  The profits go to the program department for youth camps… that means that it helps funds new activities and supplies.  This is only a small chunk of their funding.  One of the bigger reasons that we continue to do the garage sale every year is that the majority of the people who shop would not otherwise come to camp.  Our staff have the opportunity to talk with them, give them information, and some of them will send their own kids to youth camp where they will hear the gospel!!

This past Saturday we hosted our annual Camp Clean-up day.  This is a day where volunteers come out and help us get camp into shape for upcoming youth camps.  The temps are warming up and the snow has melted.  The ice went out of our lake just this week.  Winter leaves a lot of depris laying around!  We picked up big sticks and raked, cut wood and stacked it for camp fires, put in fence posts (split rail), and some volunteers helped with ongoing construction inside our new building (Cedar Lodge) which we hope to open next year.  It was a productive day!

Sunday our family shared with a church in Verndale, MN.  We’ve been visiting them annually for 14 years now and always look forward to fellowship with them.  They support camp, and the past couple years they have also supported our family since our income is a mix of salary and missionary support.  Being the first Sunday of the month, we partook of communion, and afterward the congregation gathered around our family and prayed for us.  In all the years we’ve visited with them, they have never done that.  It was totally unexpected and I was so overwhelmed that I cried the whole time!  How blessed we are to be part of the family of God!!

How about you?  How was your week?  Are you preparing for summer plans???

Well, diving into Galation, chapter 3…

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This chapter was so full, not so much with directions for right living, but for right thinking.  Paul’s letter to the Galations explains the doctrine of salvation by grace, and takes the audience back to God’s Old Testament covenant with Abraham up through the new covenant through Christ.

Next week, rather than moving on to chaper 4, I’d like to spend a week looking at what covenants looked like: the elements that were typically involved and what they represented.  It transforms our understanding of the privilege we have in Christ, and I just can’t bring myself to move on until we’ve had a chance to explore it a little!!

My Notes:

At the end of chapter 2 Paul was arguing for salvation through faith.  He explained why it is important that we not set aside the freedom we have in Christ by looking to the law–to works–for sanctification.  If that is necessary, he said, then Christ died for nothing.

As we begin chapter 3, we might well have begun with a “Therefore” or “So then.”

vs.1–Paul calls the Galations foolish {poor, silly, thoughtless, unreflecting and senseless!} and asks who has bewitched them {cast a spell over them} even though Jesus has been graphically portrayed as crucified?

Wow,  very dramatic.  The Bible Background Commentary calls Paul’s style diatribe ~ a vivid teaching style often characterized by imaginary interlocutors, rhetorical questions and intense reasoning.  He uses this style through the end of chapter 4.

vs.2, 5–How did they receive the Holy Spirit {which God supplies}?  By obeying the law and following rituals or by hearing the gospel and believing?

vs.3–They began their new life in Christ with the Holy Spirit.  Can they now be sanctified by their own works?

vs.4–Has all they have been through as followers of Christ been for nothing?

About the Covenant/Promise

Abraham lived in the land of the Chaldeans which was a very advanced and wicked civilization.  One day God told him to pack up his family and his belongings and leave–go to a new land which God would show him {he has no idea where he’s going}, and God would make a great nation out of him, make him famous and a blessing to others.  (Genesis 12).  This was an incredibly big promise.  Abraham obeys.

God later promises an inheritance of land to Abraham and his descendants, and He promised to be Abraham’s shield and his reward.  He promised Abraham, an old man and childless, that he would have an heir from which his descendants would be as great as the stars.  Genesis chapter 15 says that Abraham believed {trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to} the Lord.

As a result, God reckoned this faith to Abraham as righteousness–right standing with God.  When you look at Abraham’s account, God gave him a credit. {Genesis 15:6, Galations 3:6)

When Abraham asked God how he would know that he would inherit {the land}, God cut a covenant with him. {Genesis 15:8-21} This was a binding ritual, ordinarily participated in and upheld by both parties of the covenant.  However, God puts Abraham to sleep while he cut this covenant… God took full responsibility for making & keeping this covenant.  It was not dependent on Abraham.  God was the giver of the gift.  Abraham and his descendants were the recipients.

Sound familiar?  We are recipients of the promise God made to Abraham that he would bless all nations through him by his seed because of his belief {Genesis 22:17,18}.

God was preaching the gospel that would save Gentiles to Abraham. {Galations 3:8}

Christ is that seed, a descendant of Abraham {Matthew 1:1, Galations 3:16}, through whom salvation has come.

Jesus Christ (who never sinned, but lived the perfect life) was put to death for our sins (taking our punishment).   He rose again so that those who trust in him for the free gift of eternal life as well as the free gift of the Holy Spirit and sanctification (he took our sin and we are given his righteousness) are available to everyone.  All we have to do to receive this free gift is place our faith in Him.  This is the gospel, the free gift God offers us all today.  {Galations 3:13 & 22}

We cannot save ourselves by our own power.  God made the covenant.  We cannot uphold the covenant… God alone does that.  When we believe God’s promise and claim it as our own, he credits it to our account as righteousness just like He did for Abraham.  And that is why Paul says that those who live by faith are the sons of Abraham.  Believe as he did and receive the gift of salvation today. {Galations 3:14}

When we believe, we are baptized into Christ (become one with Him and become one with other believers), and become a son (or daughter) of God through faith.  God makes no distinction between those who put on Christ.  There is no Gentile or Jew, slave or free, man or woman… we are all equal in God’s eyes when we become his saved children.  {Galations 3:26 & 27}

Christianity is the only “religion” in the world in which forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life are free gifts.  All other religions teach that people have to earn righteousness, which is impossible, and this is the reason Paul is so upset in his letter to the Galations.  They had it all, and they were ready to throw it away for a set of rules that could not save them. {Galations 3:10, 11}

About the Law

Galations 3:15-29  When God gave Israel the Law, did it invalidate the inheritance God had previously promised Abraham?  No.  The inheritance was based on a promise/covenant, not on the Law/performance.  

Then why give Israel the Law?  The law was given to make people aware of their sin and need for salvation… to lead them to Christ, who would fulfill the promise and provide forgiveness of all sin, once and for all time.

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“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

Pray for ourselves and the whole church body:

  • that we will deeply understand this grace that we have been freely given by God through Christ, because he suffered, died and was raised to life on our behalf.
  • that we will not, for any reason, fall back into trying to earn God’s love, acceptance, or reward.  It’s not possible!  Grace is the free gift we receive, not what we deserve.
  • that this understanding will extend beyond our head level, and into the depths of our hearts where we will not only live in grace, but love others thru grace (freely giving what we have freely received).
  • Thank Him: eagerly, earnestly, and eternally.
  • for the lost, that they will come to understand these truths, and embrace them.  That they will receive Christ and His salvation, and become son’s and daughters of the Living God.

How did this chapter touch your heart?

Are your prayers beginning to change as you find God’s will in scripture?

To begin in Galations, Chapter One, visit HERE.

I love this song, The Creed, which I’ve included below for you to hear.  My oldest daughter, Angel, took an audio recording class in college this semester.  For her final project, she and her sisters recorded it: instruments and vocals with harmony.  For us, it is more than a song.  It is a proclamation of what we believe, like Paul.

The sugar coating is the seed God used the girls and this project to send out.  Angel’s college professor aided in the recording… he is not a Believer, but heard truth in the making of their recording…  AND, he is making a cd of all the class projects for every. single. audio recording student.  They will all hear it.  And we’re praying that the Holy Spirit will use it, and send workers to water these seeds, that there will be a harvest.  Will you pray with us?

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Praying God’s Will; Galations, Chapter 3

  1. Sheila

    Wow Linda have you ever been busy! I’ll be praying that God will send kids with prepared hearts and volunteers that will know how to reach out to them. Hope you have a great camp season!

    Like

    1. Linda

      The closer we get to summer, the more there is to be done! Thank you so much for your prayers. And I woke up with you on my mind today. I have already been praying for you this morning. I’m expecting to hear of great and marvelous things in Italy in coming months!! 🙂

      Like

  2. Becoming His Tapestry

    This is such a good post, Linda. There are so many truths in there I don’t know where to start, but this particular truth really resonated with me, “ forgiveness of sins, righteousness and eternal life are free gifts”. That’s great news.. I love free things but these are the best free gifts ever

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Praying God’s Will; Galations, Chapter 1 – Growing Grace-Full

  4. Pingback: The Great Exchange: Understanding More About Covenants – Growing Grace-Full

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