Justification is by Faith alone
(Read Galatians 3:1-9)
The Galatians were in danger of mixing the law with grace. Paul asks, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Paul preached the gospel of grace and the Galatians had responded by faith (Galatians 3:2). When they believed they received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:5). They were willing to suffer persecution for their faith in Christ (Acts 13: 45, 50). False teachers taught that circumcision and obedience to the law are necessary for salvation. Galatians' defection from their faith in Christ surprises Paul. It would be vain and useless for them to forsake the grace for the law (Galatians 3:4). Hearing the gospel alone will not save anybody but it should be combined with faith (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:2). All believers receive the Holy Spirit when they get saved (Romans 8:9). They become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Spiritual maturity does not come by the law but by the Holy Spirit. Flesh can be educated, reformed but it remains flesh. Salvation is of the Lord. What God begins; He will complete (Philippians 1:6). The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is the unmistakable proof of our salvation (Romans 8:9). Faith is what enables the Christian life and grace is the way of salvation. Paul brings Abraham’s example to prove that justification is by faith. He was justified by faith 430 years before the law was given (Genesis 15:4-6; Romans 4:3). He was not justified by faith plus circumcision. God promised to Abraham “In you all the nations will be blessed” (Galatians 3:8). Abraham is the father of all believers. In the Old Testament believers looked forward to the promised Messiah and in the New Testament they looked backward. Faith has always been and always will be how people receive the blessings of God. The natural descendants of Abraham are not the children of God. All who put their faith in Christ share the blessing of Abraham. Sinners are saved by faith alone apart from work.
Christ has redeemed us from the Curse of the Law:
(Read Galatians 3:10-15)
For all who depend on the law are under curse. For it is written “Cursed be everyone who does not continue in all things written in the Book of the Law”. To fail in one command is to fail in all (Deuteronomy 27:26; James 2:10). This curse includes both the present alienation from God and the future separation from God forever (John 3:18, 36). Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Jesus took our curse upon himself on the cross (Romans 5:8). This curse will not be fully removed until the end of the book of Revelation (Revelations 22:3). The just One suffered for the unjust to bring them to God (1 Peter 2:24). The sinless One was made sin for us on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took all our sins and gave us all His righteousness. This is the great exchange passage in the Bible. Thus, the demand of the law was silenced, and the holy God is satisfied forever. The believers are saved eternally. The only way to find God’s approval is by receiving Christ by faith (Galatians 3:11). The blessing promised to Abraham was intended for the whole world. It comes only through Jesus Christ (Genesis 12:3). No person is saved apart from Christ (John 6:37). The believers have no need to fear judgment because Christ has suffered the judgment of sin for them on the cross (Romans 8:1). How thankful we must be for the cross!
The Purpose of the Law
(Read Galatians 3:15-23)
Paul says that Christians obtain eternal inheritance by believing God’s promise and not by the obedience of the law. Since it is an unconditional promise, the emphasis falls on God to fulfill the promise. If an inheritance is based on obedience to the law, the emphasis falls on what people must do. This promise looked forward to Abraham’s offspring, Jesus Christ in whom all the promises were to be fulfilled (Galatians 3:16). The law was given 430 years after God made His gracious promise to Abraham. So, the law cannot invalidate the promise God has already made to Abraham. Grace and faith supersede law and works. Therefore, all who are united to Christ are the heirs of Abraham’s promise through faith whether Jews or gentiles. The law was given to show people how sinful and guilty they are (Romans 3:19-20). It was a temporary institution. Christ is the end of the law. He fulfilled all the purposes of the law (Romans 10:4). God used angels to communicate the law to Moses (Acts 7:53; John 1:17). But God made his unconditional promise to Abraham directly and not by any mediator. The Law was given to reveal their sinfulness (Galatians 3:22-23). Israel was obligated to obey the law (Exodus 19:5, 8). The law was their guardian (Galatians 3:24). A guardian was responsible to attend to children from the age of six to sixteen. He has no authority to punish the children. He must make sure that they are doing the right thing. Such was the purpose of the law. The law convicts and condemns sin but it cannot save us from sin. Until a man realizes that he is a sinner he cannot be saved. Only faith in Christ saves sinners and gives hope of new life.
The Believers are under Grace
(Read Galatians 3:24-29)
The born-again believer is no longer under the law but under grace (Romans 6:15). All believers are sons of God through faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26). The term “Son” speaks of our legal status and maturity to possess inheritance. The believers are united to Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Thus, they enter into a living union with Christ. It was practiced that when a boy becomes mature, he puts on a garment which signifies the full privilege of a son to enjoy his inheritance. All who belong to Christ through faith are heirs of the promise of God’s grace (Galatians 3:29). The believers are exhorted to cloth themselves with Christ (Romans 13:14). In Christ there are no racial or national or class or sexual differences. At the foot of the cross all are equal, and no one enjoys special privilege (Galatians 3:28). In Christ, believers are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Since we are equally received and loved by God, we should treat each other with respect (2 Corinthians 5:16)