Verse 1 – 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?
The Galatians had yielded to the influence of the false teachers. Then Paul reminded them to remember the doctrine they had been taught about Christ’s crucifixion.
Verse 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?
Verse 3 – Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
I see this still happening today in some churches. After being born-again, some start to make others follow “their” convictions. Paul asked the Galatians, “If you received the Holy Spirit by hearing the gospel and by faith, why would you resort backwards to perfecting the law by works?”
Verse 4 – Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain.?
Paul reminds them of what they endured on account of their attachment to Christianity. If what they had believed were false, then their sufferings were in vain.
Verse 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? –
Verse 6 – just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Verse 7 – Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Verse 8 – And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham before hand, saying, “In you all nations shall be blessed.”
Verse 9 – So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Paul tied the example of Abraham’s justification by faith to God’s covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. The blessing being justified by faith is available to all nations through the good news of Jesus Christ, which the promise to Abraham was foretold.
Christ Redeems Us From the Curse of the Law
Verse 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.”
Not only is it impossible to be justified by the works of the law, but such a perspective actually brings a curse on people. According to Deuteronomy 27: 26, everyone who does not continue observing every detail of the law is cursed.
verse 11 – But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “The just shall live by faith.”
Verse 12 – Yet the law is not of faith, but “The man who does them shall live by them.”
Trying to be right, justified with God by our own effort doesn’t work. Good intentions usually fail. Paul points to Habakkuk’s 2:4 declaration, that by trusting God, believing in His provision for our sin, and living each day in His power, we break the cycle of failure. The law does not make provision for faith, but it requires unwavering obedience.
verse 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”),
Verse 14 – that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Paul’s readers were trying to be justified by the works of the Law. They didn’t understand that they were already under its curse. Fortunately, Christ had redeemed those under such a curse by His crucifixion. By Christ hanging on a tree, the cross, Jesus was cursed in our place.
The Gentiles received the “blessing of Abraham” through faith in Jesus Christ. This places them in a position to receive the promised Holy Spirit.
Verse 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.
When a contract or agreement is made by people involving obligations and promises, no one can add to it or take from it. It will remain as originally made. So it is with God. God made a solemn promise to Abraham. That promise pertained to his posterity. The blessing was connected to that promise, and it was of the nature of a contract with Abraham. This was not connected to the law because the law didn’t come until four-hundred years later. This promise made to Abraham was designed to secure the “inheritance” or the favor of God.
Verse 16 – Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.
Paul does not use the plural term seeds, as if the promise extended to many persons, but he speaks in the singular number, and the One is the Messiah. It was the intention of God to confine the blessing to Isaac and his descendants. The promise of the blessing was to go through him and not Ishmael. Then it is even more narrowed down to Jacob, (Esau excluded), to the family of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Later on, narrowed again to Jesse, then to King David; then to Solomon until we reach the Messiah.
Verse 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 should make the promise of no effect.
God kept His promise to Abraham and has not revoked it. Thousands of years have passed and He saved Abraham through faith (because Abraham believed God), and has blessed the world through Abraham’s “Seed”, by sending the Messiah as one of Abraham’s descendants.
Verse 18 – For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The Law Was Given to Drive Us to Faith
Verse 19 – What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by hand of a mediator.
Verse 20 – Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
Verse 21 – Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
Verse 22 – But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Paul clarifies that the law was never in conflict with God’s promises. Before faith in Christ delivered us, we were imprisoned by sin. God knew we could not keep the law perfectly, so He provided a way of escape – faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith in Christ, people are still prisoners kept in sins grasp.
Believers Are Free From the Law
Verse 23 – But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward by revealed.
Verse 24 – Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Verse 25 – But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
I have talked to many Christians down through the years that believe they have kept the 10 Commandments and that’s what they guide their life by. I always asked them, “Did you keep them perfectly?” They would always end up saying, “Well at least I didn’t kill anybody.”
Sometimes it is best to not argue with someone who doesn’t know their Bible. But in a nut-shell, if one lives by the law, you cannot break one law and be justified. You have to live by them perfectly. None is capable of that., but Jesus. We as believers accept what Christ did by faith, and are therefore free from the penalty of the law.
Verse 26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Keep in mind that Paul is talking to the Galatian church. Some Bible versions say “children of God.” Some like to quote that, “We are all God’s children.” No we are not!!!! Read the rest of the sentence. Only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are God’s sons and daughters.
Verse 27 – For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
When a believer is baptized, they have washed away their old life, died with Christ, and rose again to put on the righteousness of Christ.
Verse 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.
All are on the same level; all are saved in the same way; all are entitled to the same privileges.
Verse 29 – And if you are Christ’s , then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
There’s that little two letter word, “If.” You are Christ’s, then through Abraham. Abraham’s seed brought the Messiah. The Jews believed that they were the spiritual descendants of Abraham. We as believers inherit the blessing of Abraham through faith, not by being obedient to the law.