Chapter 3 - Faith or Works of the Law?
Chapter 3 begins with Paul rebuking them with a series of questions.
You foolish Galatians, who has pulled the wool over your eyes, that you no longer obey the truth, whose eyes which have clearly seen or understood the crucifying of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Jesus’ crucifixion is foundational to our beliefs; we also should know the reason why he died for us as well. That he died for our sins, all of them for every man. The Lords death changes everything; Salvation is through him, and not by the letter.
Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?
Well the answer to this question is pretty simple and another foundational point to Christianity. We received the Spirit by the hearing of Faith; by accepting what they heard.
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?
The Spirit is received by the Grace of God, not by the law. These false teachers were teaching the Galatians that they still had to be Torah observant; being justified by grace they then made the error of adding works of the law.
Why would you keep the works of the law if you have received the Spirit by grace? Paul makes it perfectly clear here, that Salvation is by faith in what Jesus had done on the cross; this is the foundation of Salvation, it is not merited by us in work performed by us.
As far as Salvation is concerned: the Holy Spirit is received as a gift on the basis of faith, and not the works of the law. In verse 4 the Galatians would have suffered persecution for their faith, and that turning to the works of the law would effectively cause their faith to be in vain.
God worked his miracles by the Spirit by faith, and not the works of the law. Why do they need to entertain the idea of adding works, when it is by faith?
Paul cites scripture from the Torah as written in Genesis, even supports Salvation by faith alone.
Abraham was imputed righteousness long before he was circumcised, and years before he offered his son Isaac up for sacrifice. Knowing for that reason, those who are of faith are the counted as the children of Abraham; those who are of faith are classed as the seed of Abraham.
Because Abraham believed, not because he was obedient; God will justify the Heathen the very same way Abraham was justified by his faith.
There are many that believe that by keeping the Law they are justified in the Lord, on the contrary; many who claim salvation by law are under the curse. Here is what the Old Testament (Torah) reference says.
Failure to perfectly keep the law brings divine judgment and condemnation. One violation of the law deserves the curse of God. – Deuteronomy chapters 27 & 28.
Anyone seeking Salvation through works of the Law, and continues to do them are subject to God’s wrath. Our Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the law; he was made a curse for us. We receive the promise of the Spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ.
James also makes the same comment about those trying to earn Salvation through their own meritorious works by the law.
For it will be impossible for sinful man to merit Salvation through the deeds of the Law; because offending in one point makes him guilty of all.
Verse 11 says that NO man is justified by the Law in the sight of God; the Just shall live by faith!
As it is also written in the Old Testament by Prophet Habakkuk –
Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness! You see, Abraham believed and this event was recorded in the Old Testament, Genesis 15:6. No mention of the Law here! Note, he was around 75 years old when this covenant was made with God, long before he was circumcised at 100 years old and even longer when he attempted to offer his son Isaac up for sacrifice at around 130 years old; no Isaac was not a small boy when this happened, many have been misled and out of scope of this study. What’s even more interesting is Abraham was imputed righteous approximately 430 years before the law was given and written down for Moses to give to the people.
Living by the law was impossible to keep. To live under the law, would put you under the curse should you break one of them. God tells us in the Old Testament that is better to obey him, rather than constantly making sacrifices.
It is evident from these scriptures, that God wanted our loyalty and love from the very beginning.
Paul addressing the Galatians as brothers and sisters, He speaks after the manner of men; though it is but a man’s covenant, even though, once confirmed or validated is considered unchangeable, how much more greater it is having a covenant with God himself; who is unchangeable. Old Testament Prophet Malachi says the following –
And James the Lords brother says the following –
What is a covenant?
A covenant is an unbreakable agreement. Covenants made between men were binding and usually sealed with blood.
In verse 15 where it says “no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto” which means the covenant cannot be neutralised, be violated or even added to it. So we see the covenant between God and Abraham was not ever broken.
The “Promises” made to Abraham and his seed, what were they? You can find them in the following scriptures.
More verses to look up:
- Genesis 22:16-18
- Genesis 26:3-4
- Genesis 28:13-14 Jacob’s vision.
These promises are mad to Abraham and his descendants, this covenant was not made void when Abraham died, nor was it made void by the advent coming of the Law. The greatest of Abraham’s seed is the Lord Jesus Christ!
The promises that were made to Abraham belong to all believers in the Lord. It is also confirmed in Romans chapter 12 –
In verse 17 and 18 we read the following –
The last mention of the covenant was mentioned in Genesis 46:2-4 this was around the year 1875 BC Just before Jacob sojourned in Egypt, 430 years before the Laws were given.
In Genesis 15:9-21 is when God established, and declared his covenant with Abraham. This could not be broken by anyone even by the coming of the Law or else the promise becomes no promise at all.
The Abrahamic covenant promised justification by faith.
In verse 18, God gave it Abraham by Promise; look, there is no middle ground between the works of the law and the promise by grace. These are the two ways of salvation Romans Chapter 4 says the following –
You see an heir is someone who inherits something; he does not earn it work for it. Inheritance is receiving something that you did not work for in anyway, just like you would have a will, detailing who gets what from the person who created the will.
Abraham had faith in God’s Promise. Keeping the Law would not be an inheritance at all and would void grace altogether.
The law was added because of man’s transgressions, till the seed come, who is Jesus Christ; the angels were somehow involved in giving the law Acts 7:53 and Hebrews 2:2 also state this, but doesn't give us details on how they played a role in giving the Law.
The law was never meant to be the way to salvation as we read in Romans 7:1-13, it was put in place for sinful man; because of his transgressions.
The Law is Holy, it is a standard of God’s character; it is his divine standard. When man stepped over the law, he became guilty of transgression.
The laws and ordinances had a specific purpose. Without the law, man would have not been aware of his transgressions and thus not making us aware that we needed a saviour. All of man was doing what he himself considered what was right in his own sight; the law was given to show man this error. Jesus Christ our Lord was made the perfect sacrifice, eliminating the need of the people from making regular sacrifices with animals to temporarily cleanse them of their sins.
One mediator, this means the in-between person. Moses was the mediator of the law between God and the people. Whereby the Abrahamic covenant, God is one, this covenant is in the Spirit.
Verse 21 Paul asks a question whether the Law and the Promise is at odds with each other, God forbid is Paul’s answer. Both the law and the Promise came from God, since he does not work against himself, the law and the promise work together in harmony: The Law reveals man his sinful nature; and Salvation is freely offered by the Promise upon the seed.
Again, if the law provided righteousness and eternal life, then there would be no need of a gracious promise.
As it is written in the scriptures, all are under sin; there is not one righteous, that the promise is by faith of the Lord Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Before faith came (Faith of Jesus), we had all been kept under the law; until the seed came to deliver us from the law through his faith.
The law being our schoolmaster points us toward our Lord Jesus Christ, so we might be justified by faith.
A school master in those days was someone who was a family slave. The Greek word denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. The Schoolmaster escorted the children to and from school and watched over their behaviour at home. Schoolmasters were often strict disciplinarians, causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be free from their tutor’s custody.
The law would point out sin and lead us to Christ Jesus; who alone can put away sin.
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster.
All who place their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ are considered Children of God. Mankind is not automatically a child of God as some religious institutions erroneously teach.
While God is the father of all mankind in a general sense because he created man – Acts 17:24-28
However, from scripture this can be proven without a doubt that we, as believers who trust solely on Jesus Christ are the children or sons of God.
Unbelievers are the children of the Devil –
Believers in Christ are reborn of the Spirit, and are sons of God –
Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Baptized into Christ, this is not water Baptism, this cannot save. Baptize means to “immerse” or “placed into”. This verse is saying that many of us who believed, have been immersed or placed into Christ, symbolizing by the spiritual miracle of union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.
“Putting on Christ” means we are clothed on Christ, his righteousness. We were clothed in sin, before we became a Christian, but after we receive Him, He takes our sin and clothes us in His righteousness.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In the sight of God, There is no distinction in ethnicity, slave or freeman; nor is there a distinction in gender for we are all spiritually one in our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no spiritual inequality in the eyes of God.
God is not interested in the flesh of man. The flesh is what distinguishes us from each other. The Spirit does not have gender or ethnicity and nationality.
Our Lord Jesus quickens our Spirit, not our fleshly bodies that have been scarred with sin; this is why we get new bodies at the Lords return.
The Spirit is the part of man which is the 2nd part of us that is made in the image of God: God is a Spirit.
If we are made in somebody’s image, and that somebody is a Spirit; then that makes us, the real us, a Spirit too.
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
“If you be Christ’s”, this is a possessive punctuation using the apostrophe. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, this is his Spiritual seed; we become heirs or we inherit the Promise of God that was imputed to Abraham, which is Justification by Faith.