Galatians Chapter 3

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The address of Paul to Peter, as I suppose, was closed at the last verse of chapter 2. The apostle in this chapter, in a direct address to the Galatians, pursues the argument on the subject of justification by faith. In the previous chapters he had shown them fully that he had received his views of 'the gospel directly from the Lord Jesus, and that he had the concurrence of the most eminent among the apostles themselves. He proceeds to state more fully what his views were; to confirm them by the authority of the Old Testament; and to show the necessary effect of an observance of the laws of Moses on the great doctrine of justification by faith. This subject is pursued through this chapter and the following. This chapter comprises the following subjects: --

(1.) A severe reproof of the Galatians for having been so easily seduced, by the arts of cunning men, from the simplicity of the gospel, Gal 3:1. He says that Christ had been plainly set forth crucified among them, and it was strange that they had so soon been led astray from the glorious doctrine of salvation by faith.

(2.) He appeals to them to show that the great benefits which they had received had not been in consequence of the observance of the Mosaic rites, but had come solely by the hearing of the gospel, Gal 3:2ff. Particularly the Holy Spirit, with all his miraculous and converting and sanctifying influences, had been imparted only in connexion with the gospel. This was the most rich and most valuable endowment which they had ever received; and this was solely by the preaching of Christ and him crucified.

(3.) In illustration of the doctrine of justification by faith, and in proof of the truth of it, he refers to the case of Abraham, and shows that he was justified in this manner, and that the Scripture had promised that others would be justified in the same way, Gal 3:6ff.

(4.) He shows that the law pronounced a curse on all those who were under it, and that consequently it was impossible to be justified by it. But Christ had redeemed us from that curse, having taken the curse on himself, so that now we might be justified in the sight of God. In this way, says he, the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, and they all might be saved in the same manner that he was, Gal 3:10ff.

(5.) This view he confirms by showing that the promise made to Abraham was made before the giving of the law. It was a mode of justification in existence before the law of Moses was given. It was of the nature of a solemn compact or covenant on the part of God. It referred particularly to the Messiah, and to the mode of justification in him. And as it was of the nature of a covenant, it was impossible that the law given many years after could disannul it, or render it void, Gal 3:15ff.

(6.) It might then be asked, what was the use of the law? Why was it given? It was added, Paul says, on account of transgressions, and was designed to restrain men from sin, and to show them their guilt. It was, further, not superior to the promise of a Mediator, or to the Mediator; for it was appointed by the instrumentality of angels, and it was in the hands of the Mediator himself, under him, and subject to him. It could not, therefore, he superior to him, and to the plan of justification through him, Gal 3:19, Gal 3:20.

(7.) Yet Paul answers an important objection here, and a very obvious and material inquiry. It is, whether he means to teach that the law of God is contradictory to his promises? Whether the law and the gospel are rival systems? Whether it is necessary in order to hold to the excellency of the one, to hold that the other is contradictory, evil, and worthless? To all this he answers; and says, by no means. He says the fault was not in the law. The view which he had taken, and which was revealed in the Bible, arose from the nature of the case. The law was as good a law as could be made, and it answered all the purposes of law. It was so excellent, that if it had been possible that men could be justified by law at all, that was the law by which it would have been done. But it was not possible. The effect of the law, therefore, was to show that all men were sinners, and to shut them up to the plan of justification by the work of a Redeemer. It was appointed, therefore, not to justify men, but to lead them to the Saviour, Gal 3:21ff.

(8.) The effect of the plan of justification by faith in the Lord Jesus was to make the mind free. It was no longer under a schoolmaster. They who are justified in this way become the children of God. They all become one in the Redeemer. There is neither Jew nor Greek, but they constitute one great family, and are the children of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise, Gal 3:25ff.


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? edit

2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? edit

3: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? edit

4: Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. edit

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? edit

6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. edit

7: Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. edit

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. edit

9: So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. edit

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. edit

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. edit

12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. edit

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: edit

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

18: For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. edit

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. edit

20: Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. edit

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. edit

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

23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. edit

24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. edit

25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. edit

26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. edit

27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. edit

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. edit

29: And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. edit

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