"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Chapter Three OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To perceive how we are clearly justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law 2) To understand why the Law was given, what purpose it served, and how long it was to last 3) To appreciate the purpose of baptism as it relates to becoming sons of God SUMMARY With a defense of his apostleship behind him, Paul spends the next two chapters defending the gospel he received by revelation. It is a gospel which proclaims justification by faith in Christ, not by keeping the works of the Law. As support, Paul begins by providing a personal argument, asking the Galatians to recall how they themselves had received the Spirit, and from Whom. That it came not by the works of the Law but through the hearing of faith should be obvious to them. If they were so begun in the Spirit, why seek to be made perfect by the flesh (1-5)? For his next argument, Paul appeals to the Scriptures. First, Genesis 15:6 reveals that Abraham's faith was accounted to him as righteousness, and Genesis 12:3 foretold that in Abraham all the nations would be blessed. Therefore, those who are of faith are sons of Abraham and blessed along with him (Ga 3:6-9). As for the Law itself, the Scriptures reveal that those who are of the works of the Law are under a curse, while proclaiming that the just shall live by faith (Deu 27:26; Hab 2:4). Christ, however, has redeemed us from the curse of the Law and made it possible for the blessing of Abraham to come upon the Gentiles, especially that the promise of the Spirit might be received through faith (Ga 3:10-14). Continuing in his argument from the Scriptures, Paul reminds them that the covenantal nature of the promise made to Abraham means it cannot be broken. Therefore, the promise (along with its inheritance) to Abraham and His "Seed" (Christ) remained firm, even when the Law came along 430 years later (15-18). What was the purpose of the Law then? Paul answers that it was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Christ) should come. It was not against the promises of God, but because it could not provide life itself, it served the purpose of confining all under sin until the promise by faith in Jesus could be given to those who believe (19-22). Thus the law served to keep them under guard, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. To put it another way, it was like a tutor leading them to Christ where they could be justified by faith. Once faith had arrived, the tutor was no longer over them (23-25). Paul then proceeds with a practical argument to prove we are justified by faith in Christ, which will be continued on into the fourth chapter. Through faith they have become sons of God in Christ, for in being baptized into Christ they had put on Christ (26-27). Being in Christ, they are now one in Him, with all racial, social, and sexual distinctions removed as it pertains to salvation. Being in Christ also makes them Abraham's seed and thereby heirs according to promise God made to him (28-29). OUTLINE I. JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH: THE PERSONAL ARGUMENT (1-5) A. HOW THEY RECEIVED THE SPIRIT (1-4) 1. Paul's concern that they have been misled (1) 2. Did they received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, or by the works of the Law? (2) 3. Having begun the Christian life in the Spirit, did they expect to be made perfect by the flesh? (3) 4. Would this not make their previous suffering in vain? (4) B. FROM WHOM THEY RECEIVED THE SPIRIT (5) 1. Consider the One who supplies the Spirit and works miracles among them (5a) 2. Does He do it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? (5b) II. JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH: THE SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENT (6-25) A. THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM (6-9) 1. Abraham's faith was accounted to him for righteousness (6) 2. Those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (7) 3. As foretold by Scripture, God would justify the nations by faith (8) 4. Thus, those of faith are blessed along with believing Abraham (9) B. THE CURSE OF THE LAW (10-14) 1. Those who live by the works of the Law are under a curse (10) 2. The Old Testament proclaimed that one would be justified by faith, and not by the Law, which itself was based upon works (11-12) 3. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law by His death on the cross (13) 4. Making it possible for Gentiles to receive the blessing of Abraham in Christ, in particular the promise of the Spirit which is received through faith (14) C. THE PRIORITY OF THE PROMISE OVER THE LAW (15-18) 1. The Law, given 430 years after the promises to Abraham, did not nullify the covenant and its promises that God made with Abraham and His "Seed" (15-17) a. Just as a man's covenant is not to be broken or added to (15) b. God made promises to Abraham and His "Seed," that is, Christ (16) c. The Law cannot annul the covenant God confirmed with Abraham, so as to make the promise of no effect (17) 2. If the inheritance was based on the Law, then it is no longer based upon a promise; but it is obvious that God gave the inheritance by promise, not by the Law (18) D. THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW (19-25) 1. It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come (19-20) 2. The Law was not against the promises of God, but served to confine all under sin until the promise by faith in Jesus could be given to those who believe (21-23) 3. The Law served as a tutor, leading people to Christ, where they could be justified by faith and eliminating the need for a tutor (24-25) III. JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH: THE PRACTICAL ARGUMENT (26-29) A. THEY BECAME SONS OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS (26-27) 1. It was through faith in Jesus they became sons of God (26) 2. For by being baptized into Christ (an act of faith), they had put on Christ (27) B. THEY ARE ONE IN CHRIST, AND THUS ABRAHAM'S SEED (28-29) 1. In Christ, there is no distinction, they are all one (28) 2. In Christ, they rightfully become Abraham's seed, and thus heirs according to the promise (29)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What was Paul afraid had happened to the Galatians? (1) 3) To demonstrate that they were justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law, what did Paul ask them? (2) 4) What did Paul consider foolish on their part? (3) 5) To further show that they were justified by faith, what did Paul ask them? (5) 6) What was accounted to Abraham for righteousness? (6) 7) Who are the true sons of Abraham? (7) 8) What did the Scripture foresee that God would do? (8) 9) What is the condition of those who are of the works of the Law? (10) 10) What did the Old Testament say that makes it evident no one is justified by the Law? (11) 11) What did Christ do by becoming a curse for us? (13) 12) What else did Christ make possible by becoming a curse? (14) 13) To whom were the promises made? Who is the "Seed"? (16) 14) How long after the promise or covenant that God made with Abraham did the Law come in? Did the Law annul the promise? (17) 15) What purpose did the Law serve? How long was it to last? (19) 16) What function therefore did the Law serve? Are we still under the Law? (24-25) 17) How does one become a son of God? (26-27) 18) What happens to the racial, social, and sexual differences in Christ as they relate to salvation? (28) 19) If we are Christ's, who are we? (29)