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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Galatians

Galatians Chapter 3

The gift of the Spirit is by faith, NOT by Law or works (3:1-5)

Galatians 3:1 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? (KJV)

Paul tells them: You are not using good sense. What’s gotten into you? The Galatian believers had become fascinated by the false teachers’ arguments. It was as if they had been bewitched. Paul told them . . . and us, it was Christ Jesus’ death on the cross that made salvation possible! Please beware of false teachers. They are out there in groves! They will lead you straight to Hell! . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_hell.1.htm

Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (KJV)

Some of the believers in Galatia, may have been in Jerusalem at Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit there. If that were true, they knew that they had not received God’s Spirit by obeying the Jewish laws. Paul tried to impress upon them that just as they began their Christian lives in the power of the Spirit, they should also grow by the Holy Spirit’s power. The Galatians had taken a step big backward when they had decided on keeping the Jewish laws.

We grow spiritually because of God’s work in us by His Spirit, NOT by following any rules or by doing something. Nowhere, not even in the Old Testament . . . did anyone ever receive the Holy Spirit by the works of the Law. The Holy Spirit is received by the hearing of the Gospel (Rom.10:14,17).

The Galatians NEVER received the Spirit by the Law. The Holy Spirit is evidence of our conversion. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13).

Do NOT let anyone tell you that you are not saved if you cannot speak in tongues. That is a LIE! NOWHERE does Jesus tell us we must speak in tongues to be saved! NOWHERE in the Bible do any of the Spirit led writers tell us we must speak in tongues! That is a damnable heresy! . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d_charismatics.htm . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_cults_pentecostals_charismatics_exposed.htm

Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (KJV)

Paul now asks: “If the Holy Spirit is the One who converted you and brought you to Christ . . . and now you are indwelt by the Spirit of God . . . WHY are you going to turn back to the Law and try to become perfect by your own human effort?”

Galatians 3:4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. (KJV)

Paul asked the Galatians, “Are you going to let all of the things you have suffered come to naught?” He means persecution from Jews and from unbelieving fellow countrymen, incited by the Jews, at the time of their conversion. He reminded them that they had paid a price for receiving the Gospel. Was it all going to be in vain, without a purpose? Paul asks some very pertinent questions. Here comes yet another!

Galatians 3:5 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? (KJV)

Paul refers to the ministry that he has had among them. He had been attacked by the Judaizers. For Judaizers, see: Gal.1:6-9; Phil.3:2-3; Tit.1:10. They said that Paul was a Johnny-come-lately apostle . . . NOT one of the original Twelve. They said Paul was not with Christ during His ministry but came along later. Paul reminded the Galatians that he was the one who had come into their country, preached the Word of God to them, and performed miracles among them. He did NOT do it by the works of the Law. Paul was very careful to say that. He preached the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for them, was raised again, and in Whom they placed their trust. When they did that, a miracle took place. They were regenerated.

Paul had the evidence that he was an apostle. In that day sign gifts were given to the apostles. It is my understanding that the apostles had practically all the gifts mentioned in Scripture. Paul could perform miracles. He could heal the sick. He could raise the dead. Simon Peter, one of the original Twelve, could also do that. To have this power was the mark of an apostle in that day. There are NO apostles today!

An apostle:

  • #1. had seen the Lord, and was able to testify of Him and of His resurrection from personal knowledge (John 15:27; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 9:1; Acts 22:14-15).
  • #2. They must have been called to that office by Christ personally (Luke 6:13; Gal.1:1).
  • #3. It was essential that they were infallibly inspired, thus being secured against all error and mistake in their public teaching, whether by word or by writing (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 Thes. 2:13).
  • #4. Another qualification was the power of working miracles when they were sent by our Lord in His power (Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; 1 Cor. 12:8-11).

The Abrahamic Covenant is a by-faith covenant (3:6-9)

This section of justification by faith uses Abraham as an illustration.

Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (KJV)

This verse is a quote from Genesis 15:6 concerning Abraham. The illustration comes from the early part of the life of Abraham, his life of faith. Abraham is the great illustration of justification by faith. Paul uses him as an example in both the Roman and Galatian letters. Abraham certainly was NOT justified by the Law because the Mosaic Law was not given until 400 years after Abraham. Neither was Abraham justified by circumcision (works, rituals) because Abraham was justified BEFORE God gave him the commandment of circumcision (Gen.17:11). Circumcision was the badge and evidence of Abraham’s faith, just as water baptism is the badge and evidence of a believer’s faith today. BUT . . . neither circumcision nor baptism can save. They make NO contribution whatsoever to salvation. Both are simply outward evidences of an inward work.

Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (KJV)

God justified Abraham before the Law was ever given. God did NOT make the covenant with him because Abraham was a good man or his good works. God told Abraham, “I’ll do this for you if you believe Me.” Abraham simply said, “I believe You.” God wants your faith to rest on a Solid Foundation, Christ Jesus.

But . . . IF you come to God, you must come to Him by FAITH! He has come to the door of your heart. He will NOT come any farther. He will NOT break down the door. He will knock and say, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). Only YOU can open the door by faith. Your heart’s door has only one door knob, and it is on the inside! When you and I trust Christ as Saviour, we are saved the exact same way that Abraham was saved . . . by faith . . . by believing God (1 John 5:10-12).

Galatians 3:8 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. (KJV)

If faith without works was sufficient for Abraham, WHY would God change that for us? Should we expect or desire something different? The blessing from God on Abraham was NOT for his fulfilling the Law . . . OR by his doing some great and wonderful work . . . God blessed Abraham for his faith. WHY should we turn from faith to law-works?

God … preached … the gospel unto Abraham.” When did He do that? I am sure that it was at the beginning of Abraham’s life of faith.

Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (KJV)

The word faithful in this verse is “believing. Abraham believed God! God saves the sinner today on the same basis that He saved Abraham. God asks and expects faith from the sinner. God asked Abraham to believe that He would do certain things for him. God asks us to believe that He has already done certain things for us in giving His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is the same way by which man is saved today.

The Judaizers said that Gentiles had to become Jews in order to become Christians. Paul said “NO.” The real children of Abraham are those who have faith, NOT those who TRY to keep the Law. Abraham was saved by his faith (Gen.15:6). ALL believers share Abraham’s blessing. This is a comforting Promise and a solid foundation for living. Faith . . . NOT the Law, NOT works save us!

Anyone under Law/works is under the curse of the law. (3:10-12)

Galatians 3:10 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. (KJV)

Do you keep the Law 24/7 in thought, word, and deed? I don’t! I can’t! If you try to keep the law, you are cursed, because you CANNOT keep the Law!

Paul quotes Deut. 27:26 to prove the Judaizers wrong, the Law CANNOT justify nor can it save you . . . the Law only condemns. Breaking even ONE commandment brings a person under condemnation. The Law is like a chain, if you break one link, the whole chain is broken. And since everyone has broken the commandments, everyone is condemned. The Law can do NOTHING to reverse that condemnation (Rom.3:20-24).

But Christ took the curse of the Law upon Himself (for us) when He died on the cross. He did this so we would not be condemned to Hell (John 3:15-18,36). The ONLY condition is that we BELIEVE in FAITH and accept Christ’s death on our behalf, and we are saved (Col. 1:20-23).

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (KJV)

NO one can DO anything to justify self! NO good intentions, NO good works, NO rituals of any kind, NO “I’ll never do that again” . . . (because you will).

Even the Old Testament taught that man was saved by FAITH. NO where does it say that anyone was saved by keeping the Law . . . because NO one can. Only Jesus fulfilled the Law by keeping it (Acts 13:39; Rom.8:3; 10:3-5; Eph.2:14; Col.2:14; Heb.4:14-15; 7:19,26; 10:4-5; 11:40). The Law was temporary (Mat.5:17; Luke 16:16; John 1:17; Heb.10:1). The very heart of the Mosaic system was the sacrificial system, which looked forward to Christ! Moses rejoiced that God could extend mercy and grace to people even under the Law, that is why his face shone as it did (Ex.34:28-35).

Habakkuk 2:4 tells us: “… the just shall live by his faith.” Only by trusting God and believing and accepting His Provision for our sins (Christ) and living each day in His power . . . will we ever break this cycle of failure within us. Only Christ can save you from Hell! (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)

Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. (KJV)

Paul is saying some very important things. Faith and Law are contrary standards for salvation and also for living. One cancels out the other. They are simply opposed to each other. If you try to live by the Law, then you CANNOT be saved by faith. You cannot combine the two of them! They are contrary, one to the other! God has NOT made ANY arrangement for you to be saved by faith AND by law. You have to CHOOSE one or the other. If you want to go by Law . . . I’ll warn you that God already has said you will NOT make it.

Christ bore our Law-curse that we might have a faith-blessing (3:13-16)

Galatians 3:13 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: (KJV)

The Mosaic Law condemned us. We are NOT rewarded for keeping those laws . . . BUT . . . IF we break one, we are condemned! God KNEW we could NEVER keep the Law . . . so He sent a Way out for ALL those who are wise enough to believe Him (1 John 5:10-13). Christ has redeemed us from the penalty of the Mosaic Law. He paid a debt (penalty) we could NEVER pay! HOW did He do it? By “being made a curse for us.” Christ bore OUR penalty.

For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Deut.21:23). Christ was “made a curse for us.” When did Christ become a curse? Was it in His incarnation? No! When He was born He was called “… that holy thing …” (Luke 1:35). Was it during those silent years of which we have so little record? No! It says that He advanced “… in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Was it during his ministry? No! During His ministry the Father said, “… This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17).

He became a curse while He was on the cross. But, consider it was NOT during the first three hours on the cross when He offered up Himself, He was without blemish. He became a curse during those last three hours on the cross that He was made a curse for us, when the sins of the world were transferred to Him in some mysterious way. It was then that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him and put Him to grief. He made His soul an offering for sin (Isa. 53:10). “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” Christ was hanged on a tree. Such contrast we see here. Christ willingly went to that cross, a tree of death to Him, so He might make it a tree of life for us!

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (KJV)

Israel had the Law for 1500 years and failed to live by it. At the council of Jerusalem, in Acts 15, Peter said in effect, “We and our fathers were not able to keep the law. Why do we want to put the Gentiles under it? If we could not keep it, they won’t be able to keep it either.” Christ took our place that we might receive what the Law could NEVER do. The Holy Spirit is the Special Gift in this age of grace. Starting on the Day of Pentecost, He was a Promise given to TRUE believers.

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. (KJV)

When two people agree on a matter and sign an agreement, no one can break it or add anything to it. You can’t change a contract after it has been made.

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. (KJV)

God called Abraham and promised to make him a blessing to the world. He made him a blessing to the world through Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham. Christ is the One who brought salvation to the world. The word seed refers to Christ (Gen. 22:18). The covenant of promise was NOT made just to Abraham, but to Abraham and his seed. Christ not having come when the Law was given, the covenant could NOT have been then fulfilled, but awaited the coming of Him, the Seed, of whom it was spoken. The covenant was not made with "many" seeds but with the ONE seed; therefore, the promise that in Him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen.12:3), joins together in this one Seed (Christ), Jew AND Gentile, as fellow heirs on the SAME terms of acceptability, that being by grace through faith (Rom.4:13); NOT to some by promise, and to others by the Law, but to ALL alike, circumcised (Jews) and uncircumcised (Gentiles), bringing together in just ONE seed . . . Christ (Rom. 4:16). "And if ye be Christ's, ye are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise." ONE Seed is Christ! The Promise to Abraham all those years ago is for ALL people, ALL nations!

The Law does NOT add a new condition to the Abrahamic covenant of faith (3:17-18)

Galatians 3:17 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. (KJV)

God made a Promise to Abraham. When the Law came along “four hundred and thirty years” later, it did NOT change anything in that Promise! The Promise was given through Isaac whose line led to the Lord Jesus Christ, the “Seed” in verse 16. God also promised Abraham that He would make him a blessing to all people. The only blessing in this world today is in Christ. Christ Jesus the Seed, fulfills God’s Promise that He would save ALL those (whosoever) would trust Christ by faith.

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (KJV)

The Promise concerning Christ was made BEFORE the Mosaic Law, and holds as good as though there had been no law given. The Law had nothing to do with the Promise, the Law changed nothing in the Promise!

WHY then, was the Law given? What value, is it? Paul is NOT demoting the Law. I think he is trying to help the people understand the purpose of the Law. He shows the Law in all its majesty, in its fullness, and in its perfection. But he states that that very perfection of the Law reveals that it is the reason it creates such a hurdle that NO one can get over in order to be accepted by God. We need faith in Christ!

The Law reveals God to us, also condemns us (3:19-29)

Galatians 3:19 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. (KJV)

On one side, the Law reveals the nature and will of God and shows us how to live. On the other side, it clearly points out our sins and shows us that it is impossible to please God by trying to obey all His laws.

God’s Promise to Abraham dealt with Abraham’s faith; the law focuses on actions. The covenant with Abraham shows that faith is the only way to be saved. Faith does NOT annul the law; but the more we know God, the more we see how sinful we are. Then we see that we must depend only on our faith in Christ for our salvation.

Till the seed should come” . . . means the Law was temporary. The Seed is Christ. The Law was given for the time between Moses and Christ. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The Law was given to reveal our sin . . . NOT remove our sin. The Law was given to show that we are sinners, and that we need a Mediator . . . One to stand between God and us.

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. (KJV)

A mediator is a Middle-man between two parties.1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (KJV) . . . Jesus represents all universal manhood before God the Father (1 Cor. 15:22, 45, 47).

Galatians 3:21 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. (KJV)

Is the law against the Promises of God? Certainly not! Why? If there had been any other way of saving sinners, God would have used that way. If He could have given a Law by which sinner could be saved, He would have done so.

Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (KJV)

We have seen that the Law brought death . . . “The soul that sinneth, it shall die …” (Eze.18:20). The Scripture concludes ALL are “under sin;” therefore all died.

What is needed is life! The Law brings death, that is all that it can do. It is NOT actually the degree of sin but the FACT that sin brings death. SO . . . we ALL are equally dead in trespasses (Eph.2:1) and equally in need of a Saviour! Someone once said: “I have never seen a crime committed but what I too might have committed that crime.” We ALL have that kind of a nature. It is NOT the degree of sin, but the very fact that we are sinners.

The purpose of the Law was NEVER to give life. It was given to show us that we are guilty sinners before God.
“The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” is a tremendous and true statement. Believe it!

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (KJV)

Before faith came” . . . means faith in Jesus Christ who died for us. Until the Lord Jesus Christ came, the Law had in it mercy because it had a mercy seat. It had an altar where sacrifices for sin could be brought and forgiveness could be obtained. Mercy could be found there. BUT . . . ALL the sacrifices for sin pointed to Christ.

Before faith came, Paul says, we were kept under the Law . . . “shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” So many people today continue shut up as if they were in a dark dungeon, in love with their sins, completely blinded and lulled fast asleep by Satan, through worldly pleasures, power, fame, money, lust, interests and pursuits. Only an awakened sinner can truly discover their dreadful condition. It is only then that they can feel deep within, that the mercy and grace of God are their ONLY hope. The persuasive Holy Spirit, shows sinners their need for Christ, and how to be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (KJV)

The Mosaic Law CANNOT save. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Rom.4:5). God REFUSES to accept ANY works of man for salvation. You either do it God’s Way (Christ) OR you are condemned to an eternal Hell (John 3:17-18,36; 8:24; Rev.20:15). God says our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).

The Law cannot save; it can only condemn. It was NOT given to save sinners but to show them they are sinners. The Law does NOT remove sin; it reveals sin. The Law shows that man is NOT how Hollywood or the world portrays him.

I really don’t understand how people can think there is NO God or that God will NOT punish sin. This absolutely amazes me! I wonder, do these people really think they will go to Heaven? Every time some sinful celebrity dies, the media says: He/she is in Heaven now. THAT is NOT what the Bible says! The Word of God shows us who we are and what we are . . . dirty sinners that fall short of the glory of God. That is what the Law says! But, thank God, the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can cleanse us. We are justified by faith in Jesus (Rom.3:24; 5:1).

Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (KJV)

The Law is like supervision given by a tutor to a young child. The law teaches us the NEED for salvation; God’s grace gives us that salvation. We cannot be saved by keeping that Law; we must have faith in Christ. Since Christ came, faith having come, we are no longer under a tutor . . . Law. We have something much better!

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

Paul will show in the rest of this chapter, and in the first part of chapter 4, some benefits that we have by trusting Christ that we could never have under Law. The Law cannot give a believer the nature of a child of God. Only Christ can do that. Only faith in Christ can make us children of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8).You are a TRUE child of God by faith in Christ, and that is all that it takes. It is NOT faith PLUS something equals salvation . . . it is faith plus nothing that makes you a child of God. Don’t let cults tell you differently.

For ye are all sons of God.” . . . HOW? “FAITH in Christ Jesus. Even if you kept the Law, which you CANNOT do, your righteousness still would be FAR inferior to the righteousness of God. To be a child of God requires and demands that Christ Jesus' righteousness be applied to you (1 Cor.1:30). “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” (John 1:12). ONLY Jesus is given the power, the authority, the right, to make us children of God!

A Pharisee, Nicodemus, followed the Law extensively, yet he was NOT a child of God. Jesus told him, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). I want to make this very plain . . . neither your prayers, your gifts, your heritage, multiple rituals, nor your baptism will ever make you a child of God. Only faith in Christ can make you a son of God.

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

This is NOT speaking of water baptism. This is speaking of spiritual baptism (1 Cor. 12:13). When we put on Christ, we lay aside the old clothes, and put on Christ’s new robe of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Ephes. 4:23-24). Then when God looks down, He sees you "in Christ." He sees the Blood of Christ. He sees you as perfect! God the father will NEVER turn His Back on the precious and Holy Blood of His Son (1 Pet.1:18-19).

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. (KJV)

How I love this! Faith in Christ makes ALL believers one in Christ. ALL believers are His heirs, NO one is more privileged or superior to anyone else. All people in Christ are my brothers and sisters, no matter the color of their skin. It is the color of their heart that should interest us. “There is neither male nor female.” Christ make us one in Christ. Isn’t that wonderful?

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (KJV)

The original Promise to Abraham was intended for the whole world, not just for Abraham’s descendants, Jews (Gen.12:3). ALL believers participate in this Promise and are blessed by God as children of Abraham. HOW can a Gentile be Abraham’s descendants? Because Abraham was saved by faith, and we are saved by faith. If I am in Christ and you are in Christ, then we ARE Abraham’s seed, and we ARE heirs according to the Promise. Paul says so because God says so! Praise God for this awesome blessing!

Book of Galatians

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