Galatians chapter 3

The Galatians rejected justification by faith for their own religious works. Righteous people live by faith and are God’s children by faith. All are equal. [UPDATED]

 


 

THE GALATIANS HAD REJECTED JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

 

VERSE 1. Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed among you as crucified?

Foolish Galatians … bewitched. Paul needs to use words this powerful to describe what the Galatians did. They had deserted the Lord Jesus Christ and replaced him with their own religious works.

 

VERSE 2. I just want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?

 

VERSE 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh?

completed in the flesh. That is, ending in the flesh. They had resorted to circumcision.

 

VERSE 4. Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain?

 

VERSE 5. He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you and does miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?

 

VERSE 6. Even as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

Abram is often referred to as our father in faith. He wasn’t “saved” by good works or by keeping the Old Testament Law, but by trusting the words of God. Read more »

 

VERSE 7. Know therefore that those who are of faith are children of Abraham.

 

VERSE 8. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you all the nations will be blessed.”

God would justify the Gentiles by faith. Paul is making the case that God had always intended the salvation of the Gentiles.

 

VERSE 9. So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.

those who are of faith. The blessings given to Abraham are extended to all who believe.

 

RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE LIVE BY FAITH

 

VERSE 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

 

VERSE 11. Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.”

“The righteous will live by faith.” This citation is from Habakkuk 2:4:

Habakkuk 2:4. Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith.

 

VERSE 12. The law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.”

 

VERSE 13. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,”

redeemed. This word refers to the emancipation of slaves.

 

VERSE 14. that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

THE LAW AND GOD’S PROMISE

 

VERSE 15. Brothers, speaking of human terms, though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void or adds to it.

covenant. The Greek word is diatheke. It can mean either “covenant” or “last will and testament.”

 

VERSE 16. Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his offspring. He doesn’t say, “To descendants”, as of many, but as of one, “To your offspring”, which is Christ.

the promises. This is plural. God has given us many promises.

 

VERSE 17. Now I say this: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect.

Genesis 15:13. He said to Abram, “Know for sure that your offspring will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.

Exodus 12:40. Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years.

Acts 7:6. God spoke in this way: that his offspring would live as aliens in a strange land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years.

Galatians 3:17. Now I say this: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect.

 

VERSE 18. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.

 

VERSE 19. Then why is there the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.

why is there the law? If the Law is unable to save us, why did God give it to us? Paul argues that it was necessary, but that it only served a temporary purpose.

added because of transgressions. That is, religious laws were added because people sinned.

 

VERSE 20. Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one.

God is one. The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »

 

VERSE 21. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law.

a law given which could make alive. Paul is saying the Law is unable to deliver the life it promises.

 

VERSE 22. But the Scripture imprisoned all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

 

GOD’S CHILDREN LIVE BY FAITH

 

VERSE 23. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

 

VERSE 24. So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

tutor. The Greek word is paidagogos. It means disciplinarian.

the law has become our tutor. That is, religious laws were our tutor. They show us that are unable to save ourselves. We need a Savior.

Romans 10:4. For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

 

VERSE 25. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

 

VERSE 26. For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Galatians.

through faith in Christ Jesus. Being a child of God is not something we earn. Rather, it is by faith in Christ.

 

VERSE 27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

put on Christ. When we are baptized, we are filled with Jesus Christ. It is as if we have been clothed with him.

Luke 15:22. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.

Romans 13:14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.

2 Corinthians 5:2. For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,

Galatians 3:27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

ALL BELIEVERS ARE EQUAL

 

VERSE 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Galatians.

neither Jew nor Greek. We Christians cannot look down on Jewish people.

However, for most of Christian history, we have looked down on them. And preached against them. And persecuted them. Or killed them.

Numbers 15:15. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner, a statute forever throughout your generations. As you are, so the foreigner shall be before the LORD.

Acts 15:11. But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

neither male nor female. Women are fully the equal of men. There is no place in the Christian faith for the subordination of women to men. They stand equally before God. However, for most of Christian history, we have subjugated women and promoted untruthful stereotypes about women.

Galatians 3:28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:21. subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.

1 Peter 3:7. You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as also being joint heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Gender bias is hostile to Jesus Christ. When it comes to gender bias, we Christians have often been the most egregious offenders. It is time for us to change our behavior. Read more »

Elsewhere, paradoxically, Paul says men are the “heads” of women:

1 Corinthians 11:3. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

And elsewhere, also paradoxically, Paul tells the women in Corinth to be silent in church:

1 Corinthians 14:34. Let the wives be quiet in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to be talking except in submission, as the law also says,

 

VERSE 29. If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise.

 


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GALATIANS

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