Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bible Study Series - Galatians Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Faith or Works of the Law?

Chapter 3 begins with Paul rebuking them with a series of questions.

Galatians 3:1-5 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

You foolish Galatians, who has pulled the wool over your eyes, that you no longer obey the truth, whose eyes which have clearly seen or understood the crucifying of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jesus’ crucifixion is foundational to our beliefs; we also should know the reason why he died for us as well. That he died for our sins, all of them for every man. The Lords death changes everything; Salvation is through him, and not by the letter.
Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?
Well the answer to this question is pretty simple and another foundational point to Christianity. We received the Spirit by the hearing of Faith; by accepting what they heard.

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?

The Spirit is received by the Grace of God, not by the law. These false teachers were teaching the Galatians that they still had to be Torah observant; being justified by grace they then made the error of adding works of the law.

Why would you keep the works of the law if you have received the Spirit by grace? Paul makes it perfectly clear here, that Salvation is by faith in what Jesus had done on the cross; this is the foundation of Salvation, it is not merited by us in work performed by us.

As far as Salvation is concerned: the Holy Spirit is received as a gift on the basis of faith, and not the works of the law. In verse 4 the Galatians would have suffered persecution for their faith, and that turning to the works of the law would effectively cause their faith to be in vain.

God worked his miracles by the Spirit by faith, and not the works of the law. Why do they need to entertain the idea of adding works, when it is by faith?

Galatians 3:6-9 “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Paul cites scripture from the Torah as written in Genesis, even supports Salvation by faith alone.

Genesis 15:6 “And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

Abraham was imputed righteousness long before he was circumcised, and years before he offered his son Isaac up for sacrifice. Knowing for that reason, those who are of faith are the counted as the children of Abraham; those who are of faith are classed as the seed of Abraham.
Because Abraham believed, not because he was obedient; God will justify the Heathen the very same way Abraham was justified by his faith.

Galatians 3:10-14 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

There are many that believe that by keeping the Law they are justified in the Lord, on the contrary; many who claim salvation by law are under the curse. Here is what the Old Testament (Torah) reference says.

Deuteronomy 27:26 “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do the; And all the people shall say, Amen.”

Failure to perfectly keep the law brings divine judgment and condemnation. One violation of the law deserves the curse of God. – Deuteronomy chapters 27 & 28.
Anyone seeking Salvation through works of the Law, and continues to do them are subject to God’s wrath. Our Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the law; he was made a curse for us. We receive the promise of the Spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ.
James also makes the same comment about those trying to earn Salvation through their own meritorious works by the law.

James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

For it will be impossible for sinful man to merit Salvation through the deeds of the Law; because offending in one point makes him guilty of all.
Verse 11 says that NO man is justified by the Law in the sight of God; the Just shall live by faith!
As it is also written in the Old Testament by Prophet Habakkuk –

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”

Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness! You see, Abraham believed and this event was recorded in the Old Testament, Genesis 15:6. No mention of the Law here! Note, he was around 75 years old when this covenant was made with God, long before he was circumcised at 100 years old and even longer when he attempted to offer his son Isaac up for sacrifice at around 130 years old; no Isaac was not a small boy when this happened, many have been misled and out of scope of this study. What’s even more interesting is Abraham was imputed righteous approximately 430 years before the law was given and written down for Moses to give to the people.

Living by the law was impossible to keep. To live under the law, would put you under the curse should you break one of them. God tells us in the Old Testament that is better to obey him, rather than constantly making sacrifices.

1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

It is evident from these scriptures, that God wanted our loyalty and love from the very beginning.

Galatians 3:15 “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”

Paul addressing the Galatians as brothers and sisters, He speaks after the manner of men; though it is but a man’s covenant, even though, once confirmed or validated is considered unchangeable, how much more greater it is having a covenant with God himself; who is unchangeable. Old Testament Prophet Malachi says the following –

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

And James the Lords brother says the following –

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

What is a covenant?

A covenant is an unbreakable agreement. Covenants made between men were binding and usually sealed with blood.

In verse 15 where it says “no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto” which means the covenant cannot be neutralised, be violated or even added to it. So we see the covenant between God and Abraham was not ever broken.

Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”

The “Promises” made to Abraham and his seed, what were they? You can find them in the following scriptures.

Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 12:7 “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.”

Genesis 13:15-16 “for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”

Genesis 15:5 “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.”

Genesis 15:18 “ In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:”

Genesis 17:8 “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

More verses to look up:
  • Genesis 22:16-18
  • Genesis 26:3-4
  • Genesis 28:13-14 Jacob’s vision.

These promises are mad to Abraham and his descendants, this covenant was not made void when Abraham died, nor was it made void by the advent coming of the Law. The greatest of Abraham’s seed is the Lord Jesus Christ!

The promises that were made to Abraham belong to all believers in the Lord. It is also confirmed in Romans chapter 12 –

Romans 12:5 “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members; one of another.”

In verse 17 and 18 we read the following –

Galatians 3:17-18 “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

The last mention of the covenant was mentioned in Genesis 46:2-4 this was around the year 1875 BC Just before Jacob sojourned in Egypt, 430 years before the Laws were given.

In Genesis 15:9-21 is when God established, and declared his covenant with Abraham. This could not be broken by anyone even by the coming of the Law or else the promise becomes no promise at all.
The Abrahamic covenant promised justification by faith.

In verse 18, God gave it Abraham by Promise; look, there is no middle ground between the works of the law and the promise by grace. These are the two ways of salvation Romans Chapter 4 says the following –

Romans 4:14 “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:”

You see an heir is someone who inherits something; he does not earn it work for it. Inheritance is receiving something that you did not work for in anyway, just like you would have a will, detailing who gets what from the person who created the will.

Abraham had faith in God’s Promise. Keeping the Law would not be an inheritance at all and would void grace altogether.

Galatians 3:18-22 “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin; that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

The law was added because of man’s transgressions, till the seed come, who is Jesus Christ; the angels were somehow involved in giving the law Acts 7:53 and Hebrews 2:2 also state this, but doesn't give us details on how they played a role in giving the Law.

The law was never meant to be the way to salvation as we read in Romans 7:1-13, it was put in place for sinful man; because of his transgressions.

The Law is Holy, it is a standard of God’s character; it is his divine standard. When man stepped over the law, he became guilty of transgression.

The laws and ordinances had a specific purpose. Without the law, man would have not been aware of his transgressions and thus not making us aware that we needed a saviour. All of man was doing what he himself considered what was right in his own sight; the law was given to show man this error. Jesus Christ our Lord was made the perfect sacrifice, eliminating the need of the people from making regular sacrifices with animals to temporarily cleanse them of their sins.

One mediator, this means the in-between person. Moses was the mediator of the law between God and the people. Whereby the Abrahamic covenant, God is one, this covenant is in the Spirit.

1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

Verse 21 Paul asks a question whether the Law and the Promise is at odds with each other, God forbid is Paul’s answer. Both the law and the Promise came from God, since he does not work against himself, the law and the promise work together in harmony: The Law reveals man his sinful nature; and Salvation is freely offered by the Promise upon the seed.

Again, if the law provided righteousness and eternal life, then there would be no need of a gracious promise.
As it is written in the scriptures, all are under sin; there is not one righteous, that the promise is by faith of the Lord Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:23-24 “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come; we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Before faith came (Faith of Jesus), we had all been kept under the law; until the seed came to deliver us from the law through his faith.

The law being our schoolmaster points us toward our Lord Jesus Christ, so we might be justified by faith.
A school master in those days was someone who was a family slave. The Greek word denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. The Schoolmaster escorted the children to and from school and watched over their behaviour at home. Schoolmasters were often strict disciplinarians, causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be free from their tutor’s custody.

The law would point out sin and lead us to Christ Jesus; who alone can put away sin.
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:26-29 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

All who place their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ are considered Children of God. Mankind is not automatically a child of God as some religious institutions erroneously teach.

While God is the father of all mankind in a general sense because he created man – Acts 17:24-28
However, from scripture this can be proven without a doubt that we, as believers who trust solely on Jesus Christ are the children or sons of God.

Unbelievers are the children of the Devil –

Matthew 13:38 “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”

John 8:38 “speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”

John 8:41 “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, we be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

 Acts 13:10 “and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

See Also:

1 John 3:10
1 John 5:19
Ephesians 2:3

Believers in Christ are reborn of the Spirit, and are sons of God –

·        Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
·        John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
·        Romans 8:17 “and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
·        Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Baptized into Christ, this is not water Baptism, this cannot save. Baptize means to “immerse” or “placed into”. This verse is saying that many of us who believed, have been immersed or placed into Christ, symbolizing by the spiritual miracle of union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.

“Putting on Christ” means we are clothed on Christ, his righteousness. We were clothed in sin, before we became a Christian, but after we receive Him, He takes our sin and clothes us in His righteousness.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In the sight of God, There is no distinction in ethnicity, slave or freeman; nor is there a distinction in gender for we are all spiritually one in our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no spiritual inequality in the eyes of God.
God is not interested in the flesh of man. The flesh is what distinguishes us from each other. The Spirit does not have gender or ethnicity and nationality.

Our Lord Jesus quickens our Spirit, not our fleshly bodies that have been scarred with sin; this is why we get new bodies at the Lords return.

The Spirit is the part of man which is the 2nd part of us that is made in the image of God: God is a Spirit.
If we are made in somebody’s image, and that somebody is a Spirit; then that makes us, the real us, a Spirit too.

John 17:21 “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

“If you be Christ’s”, this is a possessive punctuation using the apostrophe. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, this is his Spiritual seed; we become heirs or we inherit the Promise of God that was imputed to Abraham, which is Justification by Faith.

Go to Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6


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    1. Hello Daaya and greetings to all my brethren abroad! Grace to you all and peace from God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I am most thankful to our Father in heaven that he lead you to my site. My study material is all written in me word then uploaded exactly as is. The main source of my material is using the King James Bible and guided by the Holy Spirit as I write what he reveals, not my own. Please feel free to use any of the material on my site to advance God's Heavenly Kingdom. I need to finish Romans and Galatians, as well as beginning to write up studies on the Lord Parables. If you have any questions or concerns I am always willing to assist fellow saints. God Bless You!

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