In Genesis 15, God told childless Abraham he would have an heir from his own body and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Though this could have seemed unbelievable to Abraham given his and Sarah’s old age, Gen. 15:6 says that Abraham “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
This is the verse (Gen. 15:6) that is referenced in our passage today, Galatians 3:6-9:
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Abraham’s faith demonstrates the previous thought from Galatians 3:1-5 that we receive the Spirit and continue in the Spirit by faith, not by works. God had supplied the Spirit and worked miracles among them by the “hearing of faith,” not by the “works of the law,” just as Abraham had believed God.
This Scripture passage then clarifies that the ones who are children of Abraham are the ones who are of faith. This then is not speaking of his physical descendants as being his sons, but of his spiritual descendants, those of faith.
What an interesting thought that the Scriptures preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand – before Christ and the cross. Verse 8 is a reference to Genesis 12:3 which says, “in you [Abraham] all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
As Christians this side of the cross, looking back, we have a fuller picture of what this all means. Abraham believed what God said, God’s promise to him, with perhaps much less known to him of how it would come to pass. In fact, he even died without seeing the promise fulfilled (Hebrews 11:8-13). But it’s this picture of faith that should encourage us to also believe, and this faith that makes us true children of Abraham.
PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for saving us by faith in Christ, not by our works through which we could never do good enough to attain heaven and repair what sin has done. You, Lord Jesus, did it all for us! You died and rose again! By grace through faith in you, we can know you and live eternally – just as Abraham received you, by faith. What an incredible thought that we come through this same line of these faithful patriarchs. May we walk with you and please you today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.