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Galatians 3:15-29





BY: Jeremy Witt

In the remaining verses of chapter 3, we are dealing with the Law.  Just a quick sidenote:  if you have access to other translations of the Bible, let me suggest you try reading it in the New Living Translation (NLT) as some things became clearer for me than from what I was reading in the New American Standard (NASB). 

Not only was the Law was given to Moses (verse 17) but also a promise was made to Abraham (verse 16).  The fulfillment of both had to be done in order for God’s word to be fulfilled.  It was only possible through the “seed” as the NASB states or “his child” as the NLT states.  This was Jesus as read at the end of verse 16. 

So what was the purpose of the Law?  We know the Law was given to the Israelites to show them how to follow and obey God as we studied in our Exodus study a few weeks ago.  This is the positive side.  The negative side comes in Verse 19.  The Law was given to show us our sinfulness.  We also learn that the Law was meant to last until the seed or child came.  Many argue still today that the Law was necessary for salvation.  This is exactly what Paul was arguing against.  We will continue this thought throughout the book.  The big picture for us today is that the Jews were so focused on the Law that they forgot the Author of the Law.  They had elevated the Law itself higher than anything else.  In essence, the Law had become their god. 

But let us remember what we discussed yesterday that some still do this today.  We try to earn God’s favor.  Many rely upon what they do (acts or works) or don’t do in order to earn God’s gift of salvation.  We do this by trying to be good people, and because we are good people, some think that they are right with God.  Many will try to make their agreements or covenants with God.  “Me and God have this worked out.”  Or it might be, “I go to church” or “I am just as good as those folks so I know that I am right with God.”  If you recall from yesterday’s devotion, we are “justified” or made just in the eyes of God through faith in the LORD Jesus.  It is not based on anything we do, but what the Spirit does in us by faith. 

Verse 22 reminds us that we are prisoners or slaves to sin until we become free by believing in Jesus Christ.  The Law had its purposes until the fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus.  That brings us to the question regarding the Law again.  How does that apply to us now?  For the sake of review, let’s remember that we live under the new covenant because of the Cross and Resurrection.  Jesus fulfilled it all.  The Law was not enough.  Jesus is enough.

So what are we to do with Law today?  Remember that we are bound to the laws  that are repeated in the New Testament.  The Law had 3 purposes:  Ceremonial for worship, Civil law, and moral laws make up the different categories of the Law.  The ceremonial laws like Leviticus 1:1, 13 were given for worship and point towards the coming Messiah.  Since Jesus is the Messiah or Christ, these laws are not necessary for us today.  These are what many of the things Paul is addressing in Galatians.  The civil law was for daily living such as Deuteronomy 24:20, 11.  We are not bound to these laws but we should apply the principles behind them.  Why are we to obey these:  to promote unity and to be different from our culture today.  The last category is the moral laws.  The 10 commandments fall into this category and are repeated in the New Testament except for one.  Do you know which one that is?  I’ll give you a hint.  Saturday events!  We are to obey these laws not for salvation but to live in a manner that is pleasing to God.

Verse 25 Paul says it pretty clearly for us, “We no longer need the law as our guardian.” (NLT)

Jesus did it all.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Galatians 3: 1-14





BY: Jeremy Witt

Do you believe in magic?  I put a spell on you.  Those are the only lyrics to some songs that come to my mind regarding magic, but as we read verse 1, Paul asks “who has bewitched you? in the NASB or “who cast a spell on you” in the NLT.  Remember the TV show Bewitched and Samantha wrinkling her nose?   Paul brings this idea of magic up because the believers were listening to false teachers as though they had been placed under a spell.  Magic was common then as we read in Acts 8:9-11 and 13:6-7. 

Let’s remember that Paul is not a “happy camper” as the believers are listening to folks who tell them they must obey the Law.  In verses 2-3, Paul just comes out and asks how they were saved (received the Holy Spirit or by following the Law).  Was it by the Law or by faith?  Imagine a parent’s tone with their child as you read through verses 1-5.  Paul knew that they had received their faith via the Spirit and not the Law because he was the one who proclaimed the truth of the Gospel to them.  But his “children” were listening to someone else and believing them.  (I know your kids would not do this or never did this, but mine sure do, especially my son!  Well, “So and So said!”  It just makes me blood boil!  Is my word not good enough?  Do you not trust me?  This is the feeling I believe Paul has, which is why this letter is so angry.)

So let’s go to the why question.  Why would the Galatians be turning to the Law and not by faith in the Spirit?  Why would anyone trust in something they do or actions/rules to follow rather than trusting in something they can’t see or touch?  I hope that you see it now!  Because we or our culture do this still today.  That is how we base our relationships with others.  We base how we feel about someone else based upon their actions (or works or following the Rules).  We carry this idea over to God and our faith too, but God’s ways are not man’s ways.  Oh man, then that means we are just like the Galatians, doesn’t it! 

Verse 6 is a big verse.  Paul uses these hero of the Jewish faith to combat this Law issue.  How was Abraham counted as righteous?  Was it by following the rules or Law or by something else?  It was by believing in faith.  We struggle today with the question of, “how did people in the Old Testament get saved or go to heaven?”  The answer is this.  By believing God (faith in God in the coming Messiah) and it was credited to them by righteousness.  Bro Joe used this picture in Ecuador when we were there, so I am stealing it.  The OT people looked forward to the Messiah (Jesus) while we look back to the Cross/Resurrection of Jesus.  Their faith was placed in God to the future Messiah while our faith is placed in God to the Risen Messiah.

We keep reading some big words as in verse 8.  Justify is such a word.  What does it mean to us?  We are made “just/right/pardoned/clean” in the eyes of God through the blood of Jesus Christ.  We are justified by what Christ did, not by what we did.  See Ephesians 2:8-9.  We did not save ourselves.  Christ did.  All we can do is to believe and place our faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.  He paid the debt for all of mankind, but man has a choice.  That choice is to believe in faith that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on a Cross for our sins, defeated sin and death by resurrecting from the dead, and He promises to come back for us.  Or we choose to deny/reject Him and we commit the one sin that cannot be forgiven, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  (See Mark 3:28-30)

Verses 10-14 point us to the Law.  If our standard for salvation is the Law, then we have to follow it all perfectly as in verse 10.  Simply put, we can’t do it.  This is why God sent Jesus to save us as in verse 13.  This salvation was not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles (verse 14).  Praise be to Jesus for this!!!!!!

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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