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.” 18  3:9 So then those who believe 19  are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 3:10 For all who 20  rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.” 21  3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. 22  3:12 But the law is not based on faith, 23  but the one who does the works of the law 24  will live by them. 25  3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming 26  a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree) 27  3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, 28  so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

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, 35  referring to many, butand to your descendant, 36  referring to one, who is Christ. 3:17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, 37  so as to invalidate the promise. 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave 38  it to Abraham through the promise.

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.” 98 

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 103  of the free woman. 4:31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 104  we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

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 

Practice Love

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.

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