Notes and References
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"The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian." Martin Luther
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?
Self righteousness through legalism is equated with witchcraft! Paul is making a valid argument. Did you not see my power? (Paul speaking) and How did you get your power and gifts? " by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" There is a pretty simple answer to his questions, BY FAITH!
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Now I want you to read your bible in context from now on. "Made perfect by the flesh", means circumcision and following Moses Law. When Paul says glory in the flesh, he means circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law. Trust in the flesh, he means circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law. Justified by the flesh, he means circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law.
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?
Christians suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Jews for following the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and not following Moses Law! Uncircumcision was the ultimate practise of heresy! Pauls says it is not too late to turn back to faith! Stop it! Look at the miracles, how were they performed, by law or by 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.
Faith = Blessing
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.
Works or Law = Curse
Paul is now laying out the argument masterfully. His education in the Mosaic Law and the Old Testament are manifest. Paul is relaying to them that you are justified by faith and not law and that you cannot, as a Gentile believer, possibly keep all of the laws of Moses. One you did not keep them from birth. Two you are willingly placing yourselves under the judgment that comes from not keeping all the Mosaic Laws.
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.
Faith = Blessing
Law = Curse
The crucifix - a wooden cross - is likened to a tree and Paul is quoting the Mosaic Law (Deut 21:23) regarding it.
Faith in Jesus Christ brings the blessing of Abraham.
What is that blessing or promise of Abraham? The Holy Spirit!
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.
This is why even circumcision through Abraham is no longer necessary, because of Jesus Christ. No man or law could remove or change the promises made to Abraham by God, until the promise was kept or completed, which was Jesus Christ and that all men could now be saved through His death, burial, and resurrection.
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.
Even breaking the Mosaic Law, which came 430 years after the promise, could not disannul or override the promises made to Abraham. These promises could only be acquired by and through faith.
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.
Jesus Christ is the promised seed.
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.
Moses was the mediator between man and God, when he receieved the Law from God and delivered the Law to men, v19. God is one. The promise to Abraham was one way, from God directly to Abraham, no mediator, v20. Is there conflict between the two? Is the law greater than the promise or the promise greater than the Law? No! Christ is the fulfillment of BOTH, v22!
How do you obtain the promise? By faith. Any old faith? No! Only by faith in Jesus Christ!
Faith in Jesus Christ = Receiving the promise
What is the promise? The Holy Spirit of Christ dwelling in us and on us, saving us from eternal judgment.
The Law a Schoolmaster
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.
Now this faith Paul is referring to is not talking about the faith of Abraham, but faith in Christ! Not baptized in water, but in the Holy Spirit, which is Christ in us and as Paul correctly states, "on us".
So many times we read the word baptism and assume water. Paul mostly talks of it as baptism in the Holy Spirit. Here is a great example:
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied
Paul did not re-baptize them in water. He baptized them in the Holy Spirit! What was the original question? "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" They were believers. What was their answer, "we were only baptized in water by John". I love how doctrines and whole church denominations are formed around the next words that he "baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus." Did the 12 Apostles get re-baptized? They were only baptized by John. How about everyone in the upper room? Did they get re-baptized before they received the Holy Spirit? John was the only one doing the baptizing then during Jesus' ministry and eventually the disciples baptized. So now Paul is assumed to have re-baptized them in water in Jesus' only name, which if this taken out of context might sound true, but in context it only means one thing, he baptized them in the Holy Spirit.
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.
Everyone is equal in Christ, equal heirs, equal to receive the promise, which is the seal of the Holy Spirit, for righteousness and justification.
schoolmaster = paidagogos παιδαγογος G3807 leader of chidren
A school master in this period of Paul's writings was usually a Eunuch or slave in charge of overseeing the daily routines and rearing the children of a man's house. Among the children were also the children of the servants of the house and none was more important than the other in rank. He was not the teacher, but the overseer until the children reached maturity and the father of the house concluded them as adults and no more under the schoolmaster. So this is a fitting analogy. Paul goes on in chapter 4 to explain, which we will continue next time.
This chapter was a very deep discourse regarding Moses and Abraham and what they each brought to the scriptures in doctrine. This letter is to ensure that Christians hold fast to Paul's gospel which is faith alone in Jesus Christ who brings justification, righteousness, salvation, and everlasting life.