You have to wonder when it occurred to Paul Abraham became a child of God prior to the Law.
Was it when he spent those years in the desert after he was saved by Christ on the way down to Damascus?
As a Jewish scholar, certainly some things must have gone unnoticed to Paul as they have to all Jewish scholars down through the centuries. When did Paul come to this foundational understanding that is so fundamental to the doctrine of grace?
I mention this because it was certainly an ‘aha moment’ for me in my life as well – as I suppose it may be for most if not all Christians being taught the Bible for the first time or
perhaps after being taught many times over.
It is one of those ideas clearly expressed in God’s Word, available for all to see, and yet somehow hidden from view until pointed out – and then it is so obvious it makes you wonder how anyone could have EVER missed it. (Had you not missed it yourself, that is. Since you missed it, you CAN understand how others would as well.)
But back to my original thought – when and how did Paul notice it, after (in all probability) having missed it all those years he spent as a scholar of God’s Word, studying under Gamaliel? It’s a jaw-dropping concept, and it proves faith in God is the ONLY basis for salvation.
It must have been the Holy Spirit who taught this to Paul, because Gamaliel and all Jewish scholars Talmudic and otherwise have missed this even to this day.
The fact Abraham believed God – and that it was accounted to him for righteousness before there even was a Law – by over 400 years no less – proves there MUST BE a basis for righteousness apart from the Law.
And then Paul further understood that basis was believing what God says. Period.
Abraham believed a preposterous promise from God – that he and his wife Sarah would have a child, even though both were so far beyond child-bearing age it was impossible.
The fact Abraham chose to believe God by faith apart from any kind of proof of even the possibility of this occurring other than God’s promise became the basis of his righteous standing before God. The Word of God says this. How has it been missed?
Paul correctly saw this as God foreshadowing and establishing a basis for righteousness by which all the earth may be blessed before they even had any idea about a Law, and even before they knew a Law even existed or would exist in their lives.
This is an incredible proof-positive of our justification (righteousness) being by faith in God alone, according only to His grace which we know we are NOT worthy of because along with the Jews, we know we have not and cannot keep the Law.