O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? (Gal 3:1) Bewitched – they were acting like someone else was controlling them Paul had clearly taught the Galatians about the crucifixion of Jesus Paul had lived the crucifixion of Jesus among them – he was persecuted and stoned
Paul’s challenge to their experience! Don’t you remember how Paul lived before you as Jesus Christ crucified? (v.1) Did you receive the Spirit by earning it through works, or by faith? (v.2) You started out by faith, but will works of law now make you perfect? (v.3) You suffered so much persecution from Judaisers – was it in vain? (v.4) Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you earn them, or by faith? (v.5)
Abraham believed God (v.6) Genesis 15:6 Paul quotes this 3 times (Rom 4:3, 22; Gal 3:6) Abraham believed that God would do what was humanly impossible to accomplish (that’s faith!) God would make him a father and he would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky (he’s about 85 and Sarah about 75 now) Abraham’s belief (faith in God) was counted to him as righteousness – and he wasn’t even circumcised yet! (Rom 4:9-12)
Works should flow from faith James 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Faith Works These are works of faith, not works of law!
Real Jews live as Abraham’s children Rom 2:28-29 28For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God.
Faith of Abraham Heard God Believed Counted Righteous Later was circumcised Later offered up Isaac
Law keepers cannot afford to ever fail! James 2:8-13 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Abraham’s Sons AbrahamSarahHagar Ishmael (of the flesh) Isaac (of Faith) Abraham’s children were counted through Isaac – these are the children of faith Descendents of Abraham, but not his children (Jn 8:37-39) For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." (Rom 9:6-7)
Paul’s gospel is the one preached to Abraham Paul’s Bible proof – Gen 12:3 God is doing it! It’s His plan to justify all nations by faith Faith is the key: it opens the door of blessing to everyone who has the faith of Abraham. “In you all the nations shall be blessed” (Gen 12:3)
Why did Galatians go back to Law? Comfortable to human nature Makes people feel better about themselves because they compare themselves to others A religion that allows you to do what you want to on your own time Man wearing phylacteries
Verses 10-14 Paul goes on the offensive against misuse of the Law: The Law cursed everyone!
The Law cursed everyone! Deut 27:26 cursed everyone who failed in one point of the law “The just shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4) –Implies no one could be justified by law (cp 2:16) The law is not of faith – didn’t need faith to follow works of law (became a checklist) –“man who does them shall live by them” (Lev 18:5) The Law even cursed Christ – a righteous man – and did not justify him! –“cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Dt 21:23) Although Christ never sinned, he was saved by his faith in God – completely convinced that his Father would do in him what was impossible for himself to do – perfect obedience
Christ was saved by Faith too! Christ’s perfect life – cursed by the law in his death – removed the curse of the law Christ was saved by faith – the same motivating power that must operate in our lives to battle the power of the devil Rom 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom 3:27-28 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Christ redeemed us from the curse By being cursed by the law in his death –The Law cursed a righteous man who never sinned! –Removed the law and its curse Blessing of Abraham (v.8) can now come on the Gentiles in Christ (v.14) –Forgiveness of sins (Rom 4:5-8) –Turning away from our iniquities (Acts 3:26) We (all children of Abraham by faith) receive the promise – inheritance as members of God’s family by faith (also in Rom 8:12-17) “Law does not belong to the same category as faith, for law concerns doing, while faith expresses trusting. “ (John Carter)
Verses 15-18 The Law cannot annul the Promise to Abraham
Can’t change a covenant after it is confirmed Can’t add to it or annul it (v. 15) God made His promise (covenant) about Abraham’s inheritance back in Gen 12 (v.16) The Law of Moses came 430 years later – so it cannot annul the promise (v.17) God gave Abraham His promise – the law is based on earning by works (v.18) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. (Heb 6:17-18)
The 430 and 400 years 400 years Abraham’s descendants to be sojourners (Gen 15:13) 430 years from the Promise to the Law (Gal 3:17)
The Law cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God The Law was only a temporary tutor (shadow) until the reality of Christ had come
Promises made to Abraham and his “seed” Gen 12:3 “in you” Gen 22:18 “in your seed” (Jesus Christ) –Used this way in Acts 3:25-26 The Law was not like the Promise Law involved terms of mutual agreement Law ends in condemnation Promise is spontaneous, free and from only one side Promise leads to justification
Verses 19-25 The Purpose of the Law was to bring us to faith in Christ
God’s Purpose with the Law Added because of transgressions (“so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful” Rom 7:13) Only supposed to last until the “seed” comes to whom the promise was made (19) Law was appointed through angels by a mediator “seed”
Law added because of transgressions Most Jews who left Egypt were unGodly and needed restrictions and guidelines When they made mistakes, more laws were added: –Nadab & Abihu: laws about clean/unclean –Man collects sticks on sabbath: tassels of blue –1000’s die in Korah’s rebellion: Red heifer
Mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one (NKJV) Now an intermediary implies more than one; but God is one. (RSV) Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. (NASB) A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. (NIV) That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him. (Eph 1:10)
Is the Law against the Promises? (21) No! It was not supposed to be used to earn eternal life! (21) Scripture confined all under sin so that the promise may be given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ (22) Before we matured and developed faith, the Law kept us under guard (gave us guidelines about resisting sin) The Law was a tutor (teacher) to bring us to Christ so we could be justified by faith – the Law did its job (24) Once the reality of faith has come, we don’t need the tutor any more (25)
So how were OT believers saved? The Law showed them how sinful they were and how much they needed God’s grace The Law taught them about faith in Messiah to come, so they could be forgiven of their sins through faith There’s only one method of salvation: through faith in Christ Jesus. All God’s family will be saved the same way!
Verses 26-29 All sons of God through faith are heirs to the promise
God’s Family God saved his son. Everyone who has the faith of Jesus will be saved in him
Baptism into Christ Put on Christ – like taking off our old way of life and putting on Christ’s way (like Greek toga) No nationality, no social status, no gender – all one in Christ If Christ’s – then Abraham’s seed & heirs according to the promise For this reason (that the Gentiles are now fellow heirs) I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (Eph 3:14-15)
In Galatians 4 we will uncover how to become heirs of God through faith