Galatians 3 - Faith and the Law

Galatians 3:3 - "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" 'm frequently so foolish. Thanks Spirit, for getting me started, I'll take it from here. Then I work my buns off to be good enough to be approved. I forget that Jesus said that it was finished. The work on the cross was enough, I don't need to wrap it up myself.

Galatians 3:10 - Paul starts out in verse 1 by calling the Galatians fools for trying to work for justification. Here in verse 10 he tells them why - justification by the law is an all or nothing proposition. You either keep all of it, or none of your obedience is of any value. One violation, and they were (as we are) already well past one.

Galatians 3:19-26 - The ESV has some real interesting phrasing in these verses. Reading a new translation (I was an NIV guy for many years) helps bring new life to the text. Here's what I mean:


  • Verse 19 - The law was added because of sins. Sin existed already, the law was added to illuminate it.

  • Verse 22 - "the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin" That's a concept that's hard to wrap my head around. Even as Christians, we like to think that the law helps us see how to life, but Paul says it imprisoned everything. Verse 23 says we were captive by it.

  • Verse 24 - "the law was our guardian until Christ came" Wait, held captive, but it was our guardian? If you think in terms of children, a guardian is there to watch over, to protect and to instruct, but not permanently. There's a time, later, when the child no longer needs the guardian. And so it is with the law, verses 23-24 say that now that Jesus came and faith is here, we no longer need the law as our guardian.

Galatians 3:25-27 - Paul here links faith with baptism and with inclusion in Christ. He says faith has come, no guardian is needed for you are sons of God through faith in Jesus. Why? Because, those who have been baptized have put on Christ. The implication is that baptism and faith and membership in the church are inherently linked.

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