Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Faith Not Works
Galatians 3:5-9: Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'' Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed.'' So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
There are two types of sons of Abraham, those of the flesh, the Jewish nation and those of faith, which are believers. Those of faith are the true sons of Abraham and are blessed with him! Abraham put his belief in the promise of God into action. He exercised his faith and this is what we must do!
Galatians 3:10-12: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.'' But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "The just shall live by faith.'' Yet the law is not of faith, but "The man who does them shall live by them.''
Verse 10 is a quote from Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 27:26:`Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.' And all the people shall say, `Amen!'
Cursed is everyone who hears the law and does not do it. The law was and is impossible to keep, impossible! No one can keep the entire law, no one!
Romans 3:19-23: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The law was not given as a means of salvation; it was given to show us what sin was and to show us Godís plan of salvation. Everything in the law, pointed to Christ, every sacrifice, prayer, feast, everything pointed to the coming Messiah.
Paul goes on to tell us no one is justified by the law, "for the just shall live by faith."
He quotes this verse again in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38.
We are saved by faith to live an life of faith, not works!
But what happens is, we as Christians get bogged down doing instead of acting.
We go to church, serve at church, read and study our Bible, pray, fast, witness, in essence we work!
The important question is why do we do these things?
The answer is because we want to, not because we have to. Everything we do should glorify God! Nothing we do pleases God! I donít care what good deeds you do each day, these are just actions and they will not please God in and of themselves. It is faith and faith alone that pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6.)
You might say, yes, but the Apostle James tells us faith without works is dead.
Letís look at those scriptures for a minute.
James 2:14-26: What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,'' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works.'' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'' And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Faith and works go hand in hand. Why? Because we want others to see the God we serve and they can only see Him through our works.
When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, it was for a very specific reason. First it was a shadow of the sacrifice God would provide through His son Jesus. Second it was the opportunity for Abraham to put his faith into action.
The historian Josephus tells us that both Abraham and Isaac understood what they were about to do and its significance. They both believed God would keep his promise that all the nations would be blessed through Isaac and if that required raising Isaac from the dead, then so be it! Abraham demonstrated to the world around him that he totally believed Godís promises of the coming messiah and that all nations would be blessed through His coming. Therefore this act was counted as righteousness for Abraham.
Therefore we work, not to keep our salvation or to earn "brownie points" with God, but to show others what God had done in our life, the changes He has made and how wonderful it is to serve a risen Savior!
Galatians 3:12: Yet the law is not of faith, but "The man who does them shall live by them.''
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are under the law and required to live by it. Since it is impossible to live by the law, you are doomed to failure and spiritual death.
Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree''),
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us!
The curse of the law is threefold, poverty, sickness and spiritual death.
Deuteronomy 28:15-25, 45-46, 58-61: But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
"Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. "Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. "Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. "The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me. "The Lord will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land, which you are going to possess. "The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. "And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. "The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. "The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earthÖ.
"Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. "And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants foreverÖ.
"If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD,
"then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues great and prolonged plagues and serious and prolonged sicknesses. "Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.
"Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.
This is pretty intense! Get this into your heart, if you donít know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you fall under the law and itís curse. But, praise God! If you are born again, Jesus has redeemed you from the curse of the law by hanging on the cross!
Jesus became what we are sinful, poor, sick and spiritually dead so that we could become what He is, the righteousness of God.
Please, Please, get this into you spirit! Jesus became our sin, our poverty, and our sickness to die both physically and spiritually. He became totally separated from God!
Why? So that we would no longer be separated from God. He became what we are, evil, thoughtless, spiteful, selfish, lustful, mean, hateful, murderous, sick, poverty-stricken individuals and restored us to our rightful place with God!
Stop and think what the ravages of a truly sinful life do to a person. It totally destroys them emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. Think about the physical appearance of a drug addict or alcoholic. Think about the physical ravages illness has on your body from the common cold, to more horrible diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, renal disease, gangrene, drug addiction and any other illness that comes to mind.
Think about the spiritual poison that comes from the child molesters, rapists, murders or even the evil minds of terrorists.
Jesus Christ became all that and more! He took it all on his body and into his spirit so that we no longer had to! He hung naked on the cross full of so much evil and sickness that the point was finally reached where He had become so sinful that God had to look away and Jesus cried "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!" (Matthew 27:46.) But, Praise God, he did not stay that way!
As the song says:
"You lived, you died, you rose again on high.
You opened the way for the world to live again
Hallelujah! For all you do."
Hallelujah for all youíve done!
Donít let the enemy strip you of your victory! Christ became defeated so that we no longer are defeated! Walk in that victory! Get it into your spirit that you are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3)
Get it into your spirit that God will supply all your needs through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19.)
Get it into your spirit that you are healed by his stripes! (1 Peter 2:24.)
And get it into your spirit that you are a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away! (2 Cor. 5:17.)
Yes, we have been redeemed from the curse of the law!
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.