We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where Paul is doubling down against the false teaching that was being introduced to them that they must also keep the law in addition to faith to be saved. We also see that Paul is making a case that just as Abraham believed simply by faith without works, so must they.
Verse 6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. This verse is often misinterpreted to be saying that Abraham was saved by faith while it is actually referring to the Abrahamic Covenant which was received by faith. We see the account in Genesis 15:4-6 where it says, And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Paul’s point is that Abraham was not required to do anything on his part as that it was an unconditional covenant, i.e., no conditions were set on Abraham. Therefore, the promise was received by faith. Unfortunately, many today erroneously point to this event as proof of his and our salvation today. However, this event has absolutely nothing to do with Abraham’s personal salvation. Paul's point in these verses is that faith is part of both law and grace
I have heard, and even said myself, that those in the Old Testament were saved by the same faith that those of us in the New Testament are saved by. That statement is dead wrong. Their faith in the Old Testament had to be accompanied by works, period. James made this clear when he said that Abraham was not made righteous by faith and faith alone like the Body of Christ today. James 2:20-24, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.