Summary: Galatians were a combination of Jews and Gentiles that were being beset by Gnostics and/or Judaizers appealing to both groups in different ways that each could relate to;
Jews with the temporary laws, and Gentiles with pagan customs or just plain wrong ideas;
Paul’s point so far in Galatians is actually quite straightforward: the law cannot justify us before God.
The ONLY way that we can be “made right” and have our past sins forgiven is by faith in Christ’s sacrifice.
BUT that does not mean that the eternal and spiritual law of God is done away! It is law AND grace not law OR grace that Paul is addressing
Let’s begin chapter 3 near the end
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not!
The purpose of law is to show what sin is – it is not to justify. So just because justification happens by faith it does not mean that the law is done away with or has no purpose.
Here is an example of someone on death row. The law says that the consequence for killing is the death penalty. An authority extends grace to the inmate and pardons them. The law is not done away. Can he go kill again, no!
This is our framework that we have to work within as we seek to understand the often difficult words of Paul and the Bible for that matter of a fact.
Paul is saying that the law in no way conflicts with the promises of GRACE to Abraham that he is addressing here in this book of Galatians. He shows definitively then that is it law AND grace.
Galatians 3:1 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?
Similar to Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
Direct words that should cut to the heart
to malign, that is, (by extension) to fascinate (by false representations): – bewitch.
The truth: once delivered to them; One truth; one and only God’s way; the whole thing
Crucified: having paid for our sins by His death
Probably used scriptures like this one:
Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. [all of our sins] Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
Galatians 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—
So between what we have seen from James and Paul previously is that they cover the full spectrum of faith and works. What we learn is that no amount of works can make us righteous, but if we have been made righteous we will have works.
Kind of rhetorical; but not really — because he is having to address the problem.
Spirit is a gift (yet another one among the many that God can GIVE along with Grace, Calling, Repentance, Wisdom, Understanding, Faith, Forgiveness, Righteousness and Justification, Eternal Life and Salvation, and Holy Spirit )
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—
John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
After baptism and at the laying on of hands we receive God’s Holy Spirit and become a new creation. Our life is then transformed by the grace of God.
It is through faith that our sins are forgiven we are being made perfect.
Circumcision or “works of law” or special knowledge outside of scripture do not do this.
What is it that WE can do by ourselves today to change our sins of the past? Nothing! This what Paul is trying to get across to the Galatians.
Galatians 3:4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
The Galatians went through many trials for Christ’s sake, just as every Christian does. No doubt they suffered for their belief that Christ came, lived a perfect life and died for their sins.. Paul was saying that the trials and tribulations they had gone through for righteousness sake was not in vain and had produced fruit. Let’s not forget Jesus Christ in the picture here.
Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Paul continues to expand on the fact that the Holy Spirit is yet another gift from God that cannot be earned.
Galatians 3:6 just as Abraham “BELIEVED [had faith in] GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
It is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we are made righteous; reconciled
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
Then he did it by himself, but that was not the case:
Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
It was because of Abraham’s act of faith that righteousness was imputed to him.
Accounted = same word as impute throughout the rest of the chapter = ascribe to a person
Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted [imputed] as grace but as debt.
What is the wage of sin? Death is the debt here because the law does not and cannot pay for the penalty.
Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work [to be justified] but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, [in much the same way that Abraham did]
you cannot make God accept you or impute righteousness to you because of something you do in an effort become righteous.
Romans 4:9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? [Paul answered this question already, but now he is going to answer it with an example that they all knew, but apparently never deduced] For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. [true]
Romans 4:10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. [The accounting happened before circumcision in the same way that it can happen now for the Gentiles]
Old Testament shows these are not new concepts, but what God’s intentions and plans have always been
Righteousness is the state that we should be in before God
Galatians 3:7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Not because you were born to Jacob or any of the tribes of Israel (Judah specifically)
We are not accounted in this but by the fact that we are spiritual Jews
Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
Romans 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
REFERENCE: Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
It is through Christ that we receive the promise made to Abraham. It is not because of who our ancestors were or because of works of law that we did or could do, but because of faith in and of Christ
Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles [nations] by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, all the families, peoples, and nations
Genesis 26:4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
Genesis 26:5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Galatians 3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
And now we see why
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO DO THEM.”
Same word used in:
KJV: Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith
NKJV: Galatians 3:8 … by faith
of [ek; rely on] the works of
Relying on works SEPARATE from faith; we have shown this already that we need both works and faith
The curse is not the law itself; the curse of the law is the consequence of breaking the law
“CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL….
Deuteronomy 27:26 ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ “
Referring to all the preceding law
Deuteronomy 27:9 Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, “Take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 27:10 Therefore you shall obey the voice of the LORD your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.”
Deuteronomy 27:11 And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying,
Deuteronomy 27:15 ‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ “And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:16 ‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:17 ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:18 ‘Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:19 ‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:20 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:21 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:22 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:23 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:24 ‘Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Deuteronomy 27:26 ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ”
Deuteronomy 28:1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
Deuteronomy 28:3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Deuteronomy 28:15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
We are only under the curse of the law if we break it.
If we rely solely on the law and break it we fall under the curse of it which is the penalty of death.
Through faith and the sacrifice of Christ the curse of the law is removed; the death penalty is removed through our justification and being made right before God.
The Galatians were relying on what the false brethren had convinced them was necessary for them to obtain salvation; certain works – Paul is saying that those works only brought death, not the gift of Salvation.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Romans 3:23; 6:23 Wages of sin is death; All have sinned; So we are all subject to the death penalty unless through faith our sins are forgiven and we are justified by God.
Book of the law and 10 Commandments are different. The book of the law contained the 10 Commandments
Deuteronomy 31:24 So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished,
Deuteronomy 31:25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying:
Deuteronomy 31:26 “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;
10 Commandments were inside the ark and the ark in the Holy of Holies.
Book of the Law = torah; Pentateuch;
Ten Commandments, the laws we just read, all the statutes and judgments, as well as the law of the sacrificial system, washings and the rituals
Joshua 8:31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
Joshua 8:32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.
A whole stone not the two tablets (of the 10 Commandments)
Joshua 8:34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings (Leviticus and Deuteronomy), according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.
If the Israelites did not live by the law then there was a curse, a penalty that came with it. So Paul is saying that if those in Galatia relied on works of law, ANY law, for justification then the end result would be the curse that went with disobedience – this should be obvious. Which he says in the next verse:
Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Quotes from the Old Testament just as he did in :10 and will do in verses 12-13
Habbakuk 2:4 “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” That is faith in Christ and the faith of Christ – the faith that Christ had
Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “THE MAN WHO DOES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”
The law can be kept without faith – this is evidenced by the Jews who did that very thing. Paul who was very zealous in all the laws did not have the faith in and of Christ until his conversion.
Galatians 3:13 Christ has 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”),
Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
The law is not a curse except to the carnal and ungodly mind who may delight in sin and breaking the law. How cannot killing another human being be a curse?
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law; from the penalty of the law by becoming a curse for us.
Deuteronomy 21:22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
Deuteronomy 21:23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
Joshua 10:26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening.
Joshua 10:27 So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden, and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
He became a sin sacrifice for us that we might be justified. He paid the penalty for our sins; He bought us back; He redeemed us from the sins that we have committed by breaking the law.
As He became a curse for us, in that He took our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for our sins on our behalf. He thereby redeemed us or set us free from the penalty of death, which we brought upon ourselves by sinning—breaking the law.
Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in (KJV: through) Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
On all people
Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
Let’s just suppose we are talking of an example of any man’s covenant/agreement/contract
No one can add extra conditions and requirements to it or take away what is there.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “AND TO YOUR SEED,” who is Christ.
Grace part of promises
Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
There was a covenant that was made 430 years after the one with Abraham, this was the Old Covenant at Mt Sinai
The point being made that once the covenant of Race and Grace with Abraham had been made with God (by contrast to just any man :15) it does not annul or add to that promise/covenant.
430 years from covenant with Abraham to the Exodus
Exodus 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.
Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
Exodus 12:41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:42 It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.
400 year goes from Abrahams death until Joshua expelled the Amorites
So this law that was added 430 years after God’s dealing with Abraham. So this one has nothing to do with the 10 Commandments.
1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
This law that was added after the Israelites left Egypt cannot affect the promise by God to Abraham even if it ceased
Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The inheritance that we are to receive does not come about by the giving or keeping of the law.
The Old Covenant did not promise life.
There are better promises in the New Covenant
Inheritance: Hebrews 1:2 Jesus Christ inherited all things Hebrews 2:8 we inherit all things with Jesus Christ
To sum up: what happened at Sinai does not change the promise God made to Abraham