Faith, Works and Abraham Part 2: What must we do to be saved? Galatians 3:1-14

Air Date: July 5, 2014


“What must we do to be saved?” This question draws us into the theological questions of salvation, justification, sanctification, faith and works, and the diversity of opinions on these issues have sadly divided Christians for centuries. Both sides of the arguments claim Saint Paul as their champions, but especially, through Saint Paul, point to Abraham as the model for all men of faith. Many non-Catholic Christians still presume that Catholics believe that they are saved by works, but is this true? And was Abraham a model of faith without works? This is what we discuss  today on Deep In Scripture.

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Dear Marcus and Ken, thank you for your discussion of Galatians 3:1-6, and I thoroughly enjoy each week your program … but in your discussion, you skipped verse 1. You jumped so quickly into verses 2, 3, 4, 5, and on, that you jumped over the statement in verse one that I really don’t understand what Paul was saying. Could you spend a little time on your program discussing what Paul could have meant when he said, “Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified”? Thank you.

In Christ, Jaqueline

1: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

2: Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith

3: Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 

4: Did you experience so many things in vain? — if it really is in vain. 

5: Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith

6: Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

7: So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 

8: And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

9: So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. 

10: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.”

11: Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for “He who through faith is righteous shall live”;

12: but the law does not rest on faith, for “He who does them shall live by them.”

13: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us —

for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree” — 

14: that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, 

that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

  • Timothy Strang

    this faith vs. works issue has been a huge sore-spot for Christians for centuries. So many people think that Catholics care only for works. Martin Luther had no use for St. James’s statement that “I will show you my faith by my works”. But St. James hit the nail on the head because he first mentions “faith”, and then mentions “works”. So obviously faith came first for St. James. You must have faith (believe in someone) before you can do any works in that persons’s name. What I appreciate is that Catholics take the whole Bible as a basis for our faith and do not choose just certain scriptures to build our faith on. The apostles were in agreement, including St. Paul and St. James. It could be no other way. On this issue, Luther obviously did not truly understand what James what saying.