Bible: Galatians 3:1-4:11

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.

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