Galatians Chapter 3

March 22, 2012

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Galatians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

Galatians 3:1-29 (NIV)
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing–if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. 15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:1-5

Paul is going to present the case that there is no life to be found in the law. He starts by expressing his amazement that the Galatians had been so easily impacted by the Judaizers. His questions make the point:

“Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law, or by believing what you heard?”

“Are you so foolish?” that “after beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

It had not been the law that brought them life, it was their faith in Jesus. The spirit had been moving in their churches and worked miracles not because of their observance of the law, but because they had believed in the gospel they had heard.

Life in Christ is a matter of faith from beginning to end. If real life is found, received and lived by faith, why turn to the law?

Galatians 3:6-18

Not only is faith the key to life for the New Testament believer, it was also the key for the Old Testament believer.

Paul says that Abraham “believed God” and it was his faith that credited to him as righteousness.

It has always been about faith. The law cannot and does not bring life. The law condemns and actually puts all who do not “do everything” written it under a curse. It is Jesus death on the cross that releases us from the “curse of the Law” so that we can relate to God through faith.

Galatians 3:19-29

So, if there is no life found in the law, what was its role?

First, the law was added hundreds of years after faith was introduced as the way that we would relate to God, and it was always meant to be temporary, something that was only in effect until Christ, the seed came.

Second, the law didn’t have the function of bringing life, that was always the role given to faith. The law was introduced to lead us to Christ. Paul gives the example of a pedagogue, (which was a family slave who would watch over young children). The law was like a family slave to watch over the children until “faith should be revealed”. The goal of the law was to make us aware of our need for a savior, of our need for Jesus.

Thirdly, Paul tells us that now that Christ has come, those who have faith Iin Him are no longer under the supervision of the law. Since we are now in Christ we are no longer subject to a pedagogue.

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