Galatians 3: When faith becomes a set of rules

March 14th, 2007

Many people experience a progression in their relationship with Jesus. When they first encounter Jesus, an amazing transformation happens in their life. Their hearts become filled with a mixture of wonder, awe, passion, love and devotion. But if they do nothing to build the relationship and stoke the flames, then the passion can cool and the relationship can become mechanical. The joy that once existed gets transformed into obedience to a series of rules. A relationship which was originally founded on the spontaneous inspiration of the Holy Spirit has now been reduced to a daily or weekly grind.

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians — Chapter 3

3:1 Naive Galatians, who has cast a spell on you? The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was clearly explained to you. 3:2 I just want to find out this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by obeying the law, or by believing what you heard? 3:3 Are you so naive? After beginning in the Spirit, are you now trying to finish using human exertion? 3:4 Have you suffered so much trouble for nothing? Is it really for nothing? 3:5 Does God give you the Spirit and perform miracles amongst you because you obey the law, or because you believe what you heard? 3:6 Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” 3:7 People who have faith are the children of Abraham. 3:8 The Scripture anticipated that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you all the nations will be blessed.” 3:9 So people who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith. 3:10 People who rely on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep doing everything written in the book of the law.” 3:11 It is clear that nobody is justified by obeying the law before God, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 3:12 The law is not the same thing as faith; instead, “The person who obeys the laws will live by them.”

3:13 Christ rescued us from the curse of the law, after becoming a curse for us. It is written, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.” 3:14 The blessing of Abraham came to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and we received the promise of the Spirit through faith. 3:15 Friends, to use an everyday example, once the terms of a contract have been finalised, no-one can set it aside or add to it. 3:16 The promises were communicated to Abraham and to his seed. It doesn’t say, “And to your seeds,” as if there were many, but, “And to your seed,” as if there was only one, who is Christ. 3:17 This is what I’m saying: The covenant which had previously been confirmed by God was not cancelled, so as to render the promise ineffective, by the law which came four hundred and thirty years later. 3:18 If the inheritance comes through the law, it no longer comes through the promise. However God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

3:19 So, why do we have the law? It was added because of sins, until the seed to whom the promise had been made arrived. It was put into place through angels by a mediator. 3:20 A mediator acts between more than one party, but God is only one. 3:21 Does the law contradict the promises of God? Certainly not! If a life-giving law had been given, righteousness would indeed have come from obeying the law. 3:22 But the Scriptures say that everything is imprisoned under the power of sin, so that the promise can be given to people who have faith in Jesus Christ. 3:23 But before faith came, we were imprisoned under the law, shut away from the faith which was about to be revealed. 3:24 The law has become our teacher to bring us to Christ, so that we can be justified by faith. 3:25 Now that faith has come, we no longer need the teacher. 3:26 You are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 All of you who have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. 3:28 There cannot be Jew or Greek, slave or free person, male or female, because you are all one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

Entry Filed under: Legalism

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » How&hellip  |  January 1st, 2011 at 8:04 am

    […] the origins of which are long forgotten. It was like that for the Galatians, as Paul described in chapter 3 of his letter. They had received the message of grace, but after a short time they had lapsed back into a […]

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