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?
- I really like how the Passion Translation translates this verse. “What has happened to you Galatians to be acting so stupidly? You must have been under some evil spell to have missed the revelation of truth! Didn’t God open your eyes to see the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion? Wasn’t he revealed to you as the Manifestation of Wisdom?”
- This is not how you typically talk to people about the gospel, but Paul is not writing to people who were ignorant of the truth. Paul himself revealed the truth to them. He wouldn't be talking this bluntly to people who didn’t know better.
- Paul calls the Galatians fools! It’s interesting how in Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “Whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” This is evidence of how Jesus was talking to a specific group of people who were under the strict standard of the Law.
- Before the cross, it was impossible to earn your own righteousness. Something as simple as calling someone a fool would put you in danger of hell fire. Thank God that the cross made a difference and we no longer have to worry about our own works for righteousness!
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? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
- Paul is essentially saying, “Answer me this..”
- He then proceeds to ask them questions about what they have learned from him. Many times, the best way for people to see the errors they are making is to ask them questions that they already know the answers to. By doing this, it will reveal the truth that is already in them.
4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
- The suffering that Paul was speaking of the Galatians enduring was persecution for preaching the Gospel of Christ. If they turned from that Gospel to legalism, then all the suffering they had gone through for the sake of Christ would be wasted
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?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
- Paul is continuing to tell them things they already know.
- Just as Abraham was justified by faith, we too are justified by faith.
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.”
- If you choose to live under the Law, to avoid a curse you must continue is ALL 613 laws.
- Many people don’t realize that the Ten Commandments are just a very small portion of the entire Mosaic Law. It’s impossible to keep the entire law; that was the whole point of it! We can’t be perfect enough to earn righteousness, we have to put our faith in Jesus, who was perfect.
- James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
- The just shall live by faith and faith alone, not works, not good deeds. It takes no faith to live by the law.
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”), 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.
- Because of The finished work of the cross, Jesus redeemed us from the curse and we are now qualified to receive ALL of the blessings of Abraham!
- Deuteronomy 28 lists all of the blessings of Abraham.
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. 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. 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. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
- Paul is reiterating that living under the Law make Christ of no effect. If you trust in the Law for justification, you will not experience the promises of Abraham in your life.
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 the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
- One of the main purposes the law was given to show man their guilt and pave the way for Jesus to be born.
- If mankind continued in the direction they were headed, there wouldn'thave been a virgin to bring Jesus into this world.
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. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
- Remember the audience. The Galatians were mostly jewish christians. The law revealed the need for a savior, but it was never meant for the gentiles.
- The Law was in place to provide a pathway for a savior to be born.
- The King James Version of Galatians 3:24 says, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The Greek word for “schoolmaster” is “paidagogos,” and it describes a slave in either Greek or Roman households whose job was to conduct a young child to and from school (to the real teacher), as well as to supervise the life and morals of the child until he or she reached maturity.
- Although the paidagogos may have instructed, their real job was to supervise by strict enforcement of rules and regulations. So, until Christ came, the Law was like someone trying to make them behave.
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
- Now, even for Jews, the law is no longer needed to experience the promises of God. Faith in Jesus and the finished work of the cross is the only requirement to receive all the promises.
- You can’t do enough to earn anything from God; you simply don't deserve it. Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” To trust in your own righteousness is to trust in filthy rags! It doesn’t make sense. Put your trust in Christ alone and all the blessings of Abraham will begin to manifest in your life.