Today: [Galatians 3:] Moving from Law to Grace by Faith: In Gal. 3 Paul speaks against the mesmerism of religious legalism and proclaims freedom and blessing over the Galatian believers that has nothing to do with earning or being good enough. In Christ, the law has worked its work to bring us to Jesus, and now our primary assignment is one of abandonment of the old mentality of disqualification that we might adopt and put on the mind of Christ as our default posture before God as entitled sons and daughters of the kingdom.
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[Gal 3:1-14 KJV] 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? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain. 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? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 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. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 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. 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.
In warning the Galatian church against the demands of Jewish teachers that they keep the law – Paul terms it in the strongest language as witchcraft being worked against them. What is witchcraft? In Galatians 5:20 it is listed with the works of the flesh. What does this mean? It indicates that witchcraft has a human origin. There are three spirits that can act on you in your life: God’s spirit, a demonic spirit, and a human spirit. Witchcraft originates from the flesh or from a human source – pressuring you in contradiction to the spirit of God. Has anyone ever tried to pressure you into to doing something? That is what the Bible terms as witchcraft. It takes many forms, and in this case, it is the witchcraft of Jewish Christians demanding the Gentile churches submit to and adhere to the law of Moses as a condition of their salvation.
The witchcraft the Galatians were being targeted with was pressuring them that they “should not obey the truth…” What or who is the truth? Jesus said in John 14:6 that He (in His person). is your way, your truth, and your life. What that tells you is that Jesus is the sum of all spiritual things. He doesn’t give us many things (codes of conduct, legalism, etc.,) He gives us Himself and anything that detracts from His person in your life is dead religion.
In v. 2 Paul chides the Galatian believers asking did they receive the Spirit of God by adherence to some religious or moral code, or by hearing in faith and receiving by faith? He asks them (v. 3) are they so foolish as to have started out in the kingdom by the Spirit as to think they will go on in the kingdom by human striving? He then points out (v. 5) that the miracles that were worked in their midst were not brought about by following some mystical, complicated, protocols of legalism but rather by mere faith believing that the dead were raised, bodies healed and lives changed. We could stop right here and come to an understanding as to why we don’t see more miracles or answered prayer. There is no three-step process of assuring answered prayer. That is legalism. It doesn’t matter how clever, or how “deep” the teaching may be – if it detracts from the simplicity of the person of Christ working in our lives both to will and to do His good pleasure it is dead religion, and it hasn’t worked for you neither will it ever work for you. We must return as Paul admonished the Galatians to the fundamentals of the faith.
Paul then goes on to point out that Abraham (v. 6) believed God and was accounted righteous before any law was handed down. Abraham wasn’t a law keeper because there was no law to keep – yet God called him a friend and worked in Abraham’s life on the basis of the mutual fidelity that existed between them. This is what Paul wants us to see (v. 7) that because we came into the kingdom by faith we are not debtors to the law but children of Abraham – inheritors of a basis of relationship to God far superior than those who walked under Moses’ law or any other system or form of performance-based approach to God.
In v. 10 Paul declares that those who are under the law are not under the blessing but under the curse because unless the law in its totality is completely fulfilled in your life, you are an offender. This gives us to understand that you cannot please God by a performance-based approach. If you act or conduct yourself in a certain way hoping God will notice you have to realize that if He takes the measure of your worth based on your actions or attitudes, it will only result in rejection because on your best behavior you are yet an offender whether you think you are or not. We are not rendered acceptable (or justified) in God’s sight by anything we say or do but only by our faith in what Jesus did for us on Calvary 2000 years ago do we stand without fear before our heavenly Father who so loved us that He gave us heaven’s best. In Christ, we are redeemed because while we were born under the curse – Jesus took the totality of that same curse upon Himself for us on the tree so that then the way is made clear for the blessing that Abraham enjoyed by faith to come upon us in fullness.
[Gal 3:15-29 KJV]
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. 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. 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. 18 For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise. 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. 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. 23 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. 26 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.
When God made the covenant with Abraham it is written that to Abraham and His singular seed (that is Jesus) was the promise made. The promises made to Abraham were made to two people – Abraham and Jesus. The only reason the Jews were blessed in Abraham is that God created the promises He made to Abraham inheritable by those who came after him. Likewise, those same promises were made conveyable to you and me by Jesus through the work of the cross and our faith in the finished work of redemption. We are not blessed because we obey protocols or expectations of what makes a “good little Christian…” We are blessed because of a covenant God made with Abraham and Christ 400 years before Moses came on the scene.
What is the purpose of the law then? What is the purpose of the testimony of your conscience to indite you for your behavior? The use of the law and the work of the conscience was given to communicate to you that you need a savior and to prepare you to receive the mediator that God has given to you in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not give a religious sense or moral expectation so you can live up to them but rather to realize how spiritually bankrupt you are that you might come to Jesus as the only solution for your irrevocably corrupt soul.
This doesn’t mean that the law of God or the moral sense of man’s conscience is in opposition against the promise. If man could keep the law or live up to the dictates of his conscience (as Jesus did) then right standing with God would be attained by adherence to a performance-based approach to the throne. The fact is however that the law concludes all under sin because all are sinners. Thank God we aren’t left there because when we have exhausted our efforts to live up to our perception of God’s expectation we are left gasping and panting at the foot of the cross with the gift of faith our only means of appropriating all that we vainly tried to earn by our own merits. The law then serves purely as a schoolmaster to communicate to us our need of a savior.
Once we have exercised faith in Christ and received the gift of Calvary, the law has served its purpose. We need no more reminder of our failures when Christ has become our all in all. Having come to Christ, we find we are not merely servants but sons, children of God not by religious striving but by the exercise of our faith in who Jesus is and what He did for us in redemption. As the children of Israel came out of Egypt through the Red Sea, so we have come through Christ in baptism into newness of life. We have (v. 27) put on Christ, and it is Christ who now lives in us, through us and as us on the earth and before the throne of God, thus we walk in the entitlement of sons and daughters of a loving Father, not by religious striving or moral excellence instead by total and complete abandonment and trust in the finished work of Calvary.
Because of this great transaction of Calvary and our faith in redemption all the labels are stripped away (v. 28). Are you looking for a Jew in the kingdom? There are no Jews. Are you looking for Gentiles? There are no Gentiles. What about the gender divide? There is no male, and there is no female – we are all enfolded into Christ living in us, through us, as us, and because we are Christ’s and He is the primary identifier of who and what we are then are we Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. What does it mean to be heirs? It means that what we once thought we had to conditionally earn as a blessing from God we have now inherited as sons and daughters as a consequence of the death of Christ on the Cross. We are free, and we are entitled by faith – endowed with all the potentiality of heaven’s resources to bless, enlarge, deliver and transform our lives into a little bit of heaven to go to heaven in.
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