Bible: Gal. 3-5
Justification by Law or by Faith?
3:1 You 1 foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell 2 on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed 3 as crucified! 3:2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law 4 or by believing what you heard? 5 3:3 Are you so foolish? Although you began 6 with 7 the Spirit, are you now trying to finish 8 by human effort? 9 3:4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing? – if indeed it was for nothing. 3:5 Does God then give 10 you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law 11 or by your believing what you heard? 12
3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 13 3:7 so then, understand 14 that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 15 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, 16 saying, “All the nations 17 will be blessed in you
Inheritance Comes from Promises and not Law
3:15 Brothers and sisters, 29 I offer an example from everyday life: 30 When a covenant 31 has been ratified, 32 even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. 33 Scripture 34 does not say, “and to the descendants,
3:19 Why then was the law given? 39 It was added 40 because of transgressions, 41 until the arrival of the descendant 42 to whom the promise had been made. It was administered 43 through angels by an intermediary. 44 3:20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. 45 3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? 46 Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 47 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned 48 everything and everyone 49 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness 50 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.
Sons of God Are Heirs of Promise
3:23 Now before faith 51 came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners 52 until the coming faith would be revealed. 3:24 Thus the law had become our guardian 53 until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous 54 by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 55 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 56 3:27 For all of you who 57 were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave 58 nor free, there is neither male nor female 59 – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, 60 heirs according to the promise.
4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, 61 is no different from a slave, though he is the owner 62 of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians 63 and managers until the date set by his 64 father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, 65 were enslaved under the basic forces 66 of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time 67 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 68 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls 69 “Abba! 70 Father!” 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are 71 a son, then you are also an heir through God. 72
Heirs of Promise Are Not to Return to Law
4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. 73 4:9 But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless 74 basic forces? 75 Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? 76 4:10 You are observing religious 77 days and months and seasons and years. 4:11 I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. 4:12 I beg you, brothers and sisters, 78 become like me, because I have become like you. You have done me no wrong!
Personal Appeal of Paul
4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. 79 Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, 80 as though I were Christ Jesus himself! 81 4:15 Where then is your sense of happiness 82 now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me! 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 83
4:17 They court you eagerly, 84 but for no good purpose; 85 they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 86 4:18 However, it is good 87 to be sought eagerly 88 for a good purpose 89 at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 4:19 My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 90 4:20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, 91 because I am perplexed about you.
An Appeal from Allegory
4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law? 92 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the 93 slave woman and the other by the free woman. 4:23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, 94 while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise. 4:24 These things may be treated as an allegory, 95 for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 4:25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, 96 and she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; 97
break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains,
because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than those of the woman who has a husband
4:28 But you, 99 brothers and sisters, 100 are children of the promise like Isaac. 4:29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent 101 persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, 102 so it is now. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son
Freedom of the Believer
5:1 For freedom 105 Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke 106 of slavery. 5:2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! 5:3 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey 107 the whole law. 5:4 You who are trying to be declared righteous 108 by the law have been alienated 109 from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. 110
5:7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying 111 the truth? 5:8 This persuasion 112 does not come from the one who calls you! 5:9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! 113 5:10 I am confident 114 in the Lord that you will accept no other view. 115 But the one who is confusing 116 you will pay the penalty, 117 whoever he may be. 5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, 118 if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? 119 In that case the offense of the cross 120 has been removed. 121 5:12 I wish those agitators 122 would go so far as to 123 castrate themselves! 124
5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; 125 only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, 126 but through love serve one another. 127 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, 128 namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 129 5:15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, 130 beware that you are not consumed 131 by one another. 5:16 But I say, live 132 by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 133 5:17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires 134 that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to 135 each other, so that you cannot do what you want. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh 136 are obvious: 137 sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, 138 hostilities, 139 strife, 140 jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, 141 factions, 5:21 envying, 142 murder, 143 drunkenness, carousing, 144 and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit 145 is love, 146 joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 147 5:23 gentleness, and 148 self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ 149 have crucified the flesh 150 with its passions 151 and desires. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with 152 the Spirit. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, 153 provoking 154 one another, being jealous 155 of one another.