You foolish Galatians! I had been a Christian about 10 years when I “found” this passage in Galatians 3. It read “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” And my answer was “Yes, isn’t that what I am supposed to do – try harder and do more? God saved me by His grace and I recognized there was nothing I could do to earn his favor but I was working so hard to please Him in my Christian life – I wanted to pray more, study the Bible more, serve more and honestly, I became worn out by striving to do all the things I thought I needed to do make myself into the person I thought God wanted me to be. Then I read this verse and how freeing it was to realize that just as I received salvation by faith, I would also be sanctified by faith. Hallelujah! It did not depend on my efforts and this was good news because I could never get it right!
Read Galatians 3. What made Abraham righteous (3:6)? You can see the whole account in Genesis 15. Some people will claim the in the Old Testament, before Jesus, people were made righteous by works of the Law. What do you see from this section? What observations did you make about the law and faith, promise and covenant from this chapter? What was the purpose of the law (verses 19,24)? What is now true of us (26,27,28,29)?
Since this is a long chapter with many subjects, share as the Spirit guided your study and any insights or applications you want to post.
4 thoughts on “Galatians 3”
Faith–of things unseen and of confidence that things would be how God revealed it to him–made Abraham righteous. In context, Abraham was told he would be the father of nations, which was a mystery to him as he had no biological heir. Yet even that was in God’s plan, to provide a son to Abraham, and to let his people possess the land that He promised..
The Galations had a struggle with being influenced by teachings emphasizing adherence to the law, rather than growing in their Christian walk as new believers. Perhaps they thought there must be more to this faith in God. We can have that same mentality when we “work out” our faith, over seeing acceptance of Christ as the security of our salvation.
The purpose of the law in v.19, 24 was to show us where we were going off the path (sinning), and giving us ways to get back on track. However, the law was no longer necessary to wholly depend on when Christ came because by grace He provided salvation.
I want to leave just one more comment here before going on to Chapter 4…Paul has a passion, a mission, to emphasize the spirit of grace that saves us, when the Galations are so swayed by works or the law. In an article written by Marvin Rosenthal in Zion’s Fire, he cites that God’s grace is unmerited favor. Furthermore, “grace is appropriated by faith, and leads to peace. Law requires works, which always leads to sin and bondage. Work is never completed & never without sin. Christ died that you & I may live a life of faith that leads to peace.”
What comes to my mind to further this point is to consider a deathbed confession, or one of a shut-in who is limited to the four walls of his home. Is he less saved because there were no indications of anything he did to work out his salvation? Surely, God has counted him as part of the fold the minute he claimed Jesus as his Savior.
That quote fits this chapter perfectly! Also we know the thief beside Jesus on the cross was welcomed into God’s kingdom without doing anything except recognizing Jesus was the Messiah and trusting in His power to save.