When reading Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, especially chapters three, four, and five, we come to realize that the concept of faith is and should be first and foremost in every believer’s life. It is the driving force, the mainstay in the believer’s life that enables us to have a full and rewarding relationship with our Maker and Redeemer. But, what is faith, how can we define that concept of faith? In Heb. 11:1 we find that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, in other words, faith is the assurance that the promises of God, regarding His people and regarding our Salvation and Redemption, while we wait for them in hope, will definitely come to pass. But, you may ask, how does one obtain this faith? Paul answers that question in Eph. 2:8, where he tells us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”. Do you get that? It is God’s gift to those who fervently seek His face and His presence. Remember that in Heb. 11:1, we learned that faith is the substance of hope, the evidence of unseen things, in the same line of reasoning Paul tells us in Rom. 8:24 and 25, “For we are save by hope (faith), but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Hope that is seen becomes a fact.) But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it? Thus, we can see from these verses that faith is hope, and hope is faith, we cannot separate the two. Now the question must be asked, is that faith unto Salvation by God’s grace given unto all? Again, for the answer to that we must consult our Bible. Eph. 1:4,5 states, “According as he that chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him, in love having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Rom. 9:18 corroborates this by telling us, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Dear brothers and sisters, it all comes down to election! We cannot argue with God.
At this point, let us take a look at the first five verses of Galatians 3. Paul here is contending with the churches in that region about the purity of their faith. It seems that those churches, which were founded and established by Paul, most likely on his first missionary journey, were being led astray by contrary influences that seem to be coming from within these young churches, during Paul’s absence. It is evident the true Gospel of the Kingdom and the Redemptive power of Jesus Christ, which these churches had excepted with unwavering faith, was now being adulterated by those that insisted on keeping the works of the Law. Paul calls these Galatians “foolish” probably out of frustration over their gullibility. Paul goes on to point out that when we walk by faith we put away the dominance of the Law. When we walk by faith we walk with the Law, but no more under the Law. When we walk by faith our works are the fruits of that faith, not a prerequisite! James sums this up in his Epistle, when he states, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works …. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:17,18,20)
It is really a sad thing that even today, in the twenty-first century, that there are individuals and organizations that tend to still lean toward works, rather than relying solely on faith. To me it seems that in those cases they have not come to the full realization that on the Cross, our Lord paid the ultimate price for all our shortcomings and that our works will never atone for all of our sins and those of our fathers. “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh….For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” (Gal. 5:16,22) “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
So, brothers and sisters, walk in faith, and let nothing and not anyone cause you to deviate from your hope in the promises and goodness of our Lord, for in Him is life and life more abundantly, whereas without Him, all we will find is utter darkness and despair. As we stated earlier, when quoting Eph. 2:8, faith is God’s gift to mankind, accept that gift gracefully and with a contrite heart, your life will depend on it!