September 1st Galatians, 3
1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4: Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5: He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7: Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8: And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9: So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15: Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16: Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17: And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18: For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
In the third chapter Paul expresses sorrow saying, Oh believers of Galatia who has dazzled you and mesmerised you into this foolishness, that you have turned from obedience to the truth? Christ was set forth before your eyes and you saw him crucified among you. Then Paul summarises the main point saying, I want you ask you only one thing. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obedience to the Mosaic Law, or was it by hearing and believing the Gospel? The answer does not need to be stated. Then Paul says, why are you so utterly foolish as to think that having begun the christian life in the Spirits power, that you now come to maturity as believers by means of human wisdom and strength? Have you suffered as believers for no purpose? (Let’s hope it’s not pointless at the moment!) Then Paul poses another question, He says, he that ministers among you just now in the Spirit – he who does miracles, does he do them by the obedience of the Law or is it by hearing and believing in God? Then Paul goes back to first principles, he says, Abraham believed God and God credited to his account righteousness. And he says that, don’t you know that those who believe like Abraham are his spiritual children. (He is not saying that believers become Jews) The scriptures prophesied that God would declare the heathen righteous through faith in Christ. And so this good news from God was explained to Abraham when God said that, ‘In you, will all nations of the earth be blessed’. (This will have a literal fulfilment in the coming kingdom but it also has a partial fulfilment in the Church of today) So believers today are blessed with Abraham who believed God. All those who live trying to keep the commandments of the Mosaic Law are under the curse of the Law, because they fail to keep it. The Scripture says that cursed is every one that does not continue in every commandment which is written in the book of the law to keep them. And no-one is declared righteous in the sight of God by keeping the Law. This is made clear by the scripture which says, ‘the just shall live by faith’. Trying to keep the Law is not the same as having faith in God but the man who tries to keep the Law is committed to keep it all. Christ has freed us from the slavery of the Law and its curse, by becoming the object of the Laws curse in our place, because it was written in the law that the curse of God remains upon any man who is hung on a tree. And Christ was crucified that the blessing of Abraham might come on all men including gentiles and that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. Then Paul says, I am speaking like an ordinary man – Even if it were a human agreement, when it were confirmed no-one is later able to break it or add to it. The promise to Abraham was given to him and his seed. The promise was not to ‘seeds’ as in the plural, but to ‘seed’ in the singular and this ‘seed’ is Christ. And so this covenant which was ratified before God in Christ, the Mosaic Law which came 430 years later, cannot render it null and void. The Mosaic Law does not cancel out the Promise to Abraham. If Gods blessing comes to us by trying to keep the Mosaic Law then Gods blessing is not a promise, but God gave blessing to Abraham by promise.