The Blessings of Abraham

Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.

And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
(Galatians 3:7-14)   

Scripture Study

3:10–12. At what is called the Council of Jerusalem, St Peter had said, “Why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10): the Jews could not, despite their efforts, keep the Mosaic Law—the Law which they thought justified them in God’s sight. Therefore, those who place their hope of salvation in the Law are subject to the curse which the Law itself places on those who infringe it: “Cursed be he who does not confirm the words of the Law by doing them” (Deut 27:26).

The curse of the Law falls on anyone who fails to keep it, given that every commandment involves a penalty for its transgressor. That is why the Apostle argues that those who rely only on the Law are subject to the risk of being cursed, of being punished—“are under a curse”. He then goes on to recall once more the passage in Habakkuk which says that “the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4; cf. note on Rom 1:17). If the righteous or justified man lives by faith, the Apostle concludes, he does not live by the Law, for the Law does not call for faith but for fulfillment of its precepts.

3:13–14. Christ, who was innocent, wished to offer the Father perfect atonement and thereby blot out our sin. To this end he voluntarily turned upon himself the curse that the Law laid on its transgressors. He bore the curse of the Law on our behalf and thereby set us free from the curse. What was for our Lord punishment was for us salvation. As St Jerome puts it, “the injury suffered by the Lord is our glory. He died so that we might live; he descended into hell so that we might ascend into heaven. He became folly so that we might be reaffirmed in wisdom. He emptied himself of the fullness and form of God, taking the form of a slave, so that this divine fullness might dwell in us and we might be changed from slaves into lords. He was nailed on the the cross so that the sin committed at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil might be blotted out, once he was hung on the tree of the cross”.

With our Lord’s death, the world’s redemption is achieved, God’s promise is fulfilled and the blessing he gave to Abraham multiplies his posterity, making them more numerous than the stars of heaven or the sand of the seashore (cf. Gen 15:5–6; 22:17),[1]

Reflection

“those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith”

Do we realize that we are also the children of Abraham, inheriting the blessing from God given to him? The Lord wants each of us to be a blessing but we must be open to receiving it. We receive the blessing by doing what Abraham did – listening for the voice of the Lord. He has promised this to all of his children but we must be persistent and patient in our prayer life to hear his direction.

Seek the Lord – listen for his voice – and let the blessings flow.   

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] Saint Paul’s Letters to the Romans & Galatians, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 154–155.