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GALATIANS

CHAPTER  THREE

Vs. 2 - 5 - RECEIVED YE THE SPIRIT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW?

[NIV: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law?]

The Question asked here is: How did you originally receive the Spirit?

The Answer Is Which Corresponds To
It Was Received by Faith Believing Faith
It Was Perfected by Faith Yielding Faith
It Works by Faith Living Faith

Vs. 5  -  HE THEREFORE THAT MINISTERETH TO YOU THE SPIRIT

[NIV: Does God give you His Spirit ... because you observe the law?]

The Question asked here is: Why does God give His Spirit?

Does He give His Spirit to us because we "earn" it by keeping the Law? Or does He give His Spirit because we believe the message of the Gospel? This question is answered in the following verses.

How
did you Receive?

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Vs. 6 - 9 THE PROMISE WAS TO ABRAHAM’S FAITH

In the DOCTRINAL section (chapters 3 & 4), Paul discusses at length that salvation is by Grace by Faith alone, and not by works. His first proof was based on the fact that the supernatural ministry of the Spirit did not come by works, but by faith (vs. 2-5).

The necessity for this lesson comes from the Judaizers teaching that the natural descendants of Abraham were his children, and therefore were the only ones accepted by God. Therefore, they taught, only the circumcised could be saved.

This teaching in the Christian church was based on a misunderstanding of Genesis 12 and 17. Their mistake was in not realizing the true purpose of the national covenant with Abraham and his descendants. God did not separate the Jewish nation to Himself in order to make the whole world Jews so they could come to God. He called them out to use them as a channel through which He could come to all mankind.

Circumcision was God’s mark of separation upon the Jew, isolating him in the midst of the Gentile nations, so that He might use the nation for His own purposes. It had nothing to do with the acceptance of Salvation by the Jew.


The Misunderstanding

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ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD - This is quoted from Genesis 15:6
It is also quoted in Romans 4:3-5
Before Abraham was ever circumcised, he believed in God, and his faith was reckoned to him for righteousness (or JUSTIFICATION).
Abraham is called the "Father of the Faithful" (or of the BELIEVERS)
Since he was justified "without the deeds of the law," he was Justified by Faith.
Since he was justified by faith - long before the law was given - then the law is not necessary for salvation.

Faith
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It is remarkable that the Jews themselves maintained that Abraham was saved by faith. Rabbi Mahilta (in Yalcut Semeoni, pg. 1, vol. 69) states: "It is evident that Abraham could not obtain an inheritance either in this world or in the world to come, BUT BY FAITH." Equals

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Vs. 6  -  ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

-  ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

[NIV: It was credited to him as righteousness]

ACCOUNTED = "elogisthe"  from "logizomai" - used in the papyri as a business term:

"Put to one’s account"
"Let my revenues be placed on deposit at the storehouse"
"Reckoning the wine to him at 16 drachmae"
"A single artabae being reckoned at 180 myriads of denari"
"I now give orders generally with regard to all payments actually made or credited to the government"

(from Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek Testament)

Since Abraham believed God:

His act of Faith was PLACED TO HIS ACCOUNT as Righteousness
He believed God and his act of Faith was CREDITED TO HIM for Righteousness
He believed God and his act of Faith was PLACED ON DEPOSIT FOR HIM as Righteousness
He believed God and his act of Faith was COMPUTED AS TO ITS VALUE, AND THERE WAS PLACED TO HIS ACCOUNT = RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

Righteousness

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RIGHTEOUSNESS - in the Biblical sense is a condition of rightness, the standard of which is God Himself.

It is estimated according to the Divine standard -
It shows itself in behavior conformable to God -
It has to do above all things with its relation to God and the walk before Him -
It is, according to Romans 1:17 & 3:21:
GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Therefore - The person who, according to human standards, would be a "good person"-
Is not necessarily, according to God’s standard, a "righteous person."

Vs. 8 - WOULD JUSTIFY = "dikaioi" = "justifieth", or "justifies" (in the Greek grammar: present indicative - it reaches back to the origin and continues in the future).

It is now, and at all times (including Abraham’s time) God’s one way of justification for all, Jew or Gentile. The heathen are specified here since this letter is addressed to the Galatian Gentiles.

 

The
True
Standard

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3:10 - 12 THE CURSE OF THE LAW

AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW

NIV: All who rely on observing the law]

All that seek salvation by the performance of the works of the law are under the curse, because it is impossible for them to measure up to the spiritual meaning and intent of the law. The law pronounces them cursed that do not continue in all things which are written in the book of the Law.

Works

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THEREFORE - every Jew, as well as every Gentile, is under the curse of God’s broken law, if he does not take refuge in the salvation provided for him by the Gospel. Equals

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ALL = "pasin"

[NIV: Everything]

Although no printed copy of the Hebrew Bible preserves the word "col" (all), in Deut. 27:26, which Paul quotes here using the Greek word "pami", there is much evidence that it was originally in the Hebrew text. According to Jerome, the Jews suppressed it so it would not appear that they were bound to perform ALL that was written in the Law. There is no reason to doubt Paul’s quotation of this passage - it exists in 6 MSS.a of Kennicott and De Rossi, it is in the Samaritan text, several copies of the Targum, and in the Septuagint. Also, there is no variation in the MSS. or Versions of Paul’s quotation here.

 

Curse

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Vs. 11 - BY THE LAW

Literally, "in law," corresponding to "in the book of the Law" of vs. 10. The person who does not continue in the "sphere" of the law is under the curse. And the person who attempts to remain in the sphere of the law by obeying it is not justified in the sight of God, because justification is by faith. Even obedience to the law cannot justify a sinner - for only blood can pay for sin (Heb. 9:22). God declares a believing sinner righteous on the basis of the fact that Christ has met the requirements of the law which we broke and Himself becomes our righteousness.

 

Sphere
of
Law

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Vs. 12 - THE LAW IS NOT OF FAITH

[NIV: The law is not based on faith]

The two principles of Law and of Faith as a means of justification are diametrically opposed to each other.

Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 - "The man that doeth them shall live in them." Light is thrown upon this statement by Romans 10:5 where he quotes this same passage and says: "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law." In other words, there is a righteousness that a human being could accrue to himself by a perfect obedience to the law - a thing which a fallen sinful human being cannot do - but which a perfect sinless being could do.

 

Two
Principles

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Vs. 13 & 14 - REDEMPTION BY CHRIST

REDEEMED: There are three Greek words translated "bought" or "redeemed".

These three tell the story of redemption:

1. (Agorazo) - to buy IN the slave market. Used in I Cor. 6:20.

We are slaves of sin. Our ransom price was paid by the Lord Jesus, with His precious blood. I Peter 1:18 says that we were not redeemed with little silver and gold coins used to buy a slave out of slavery, but with precious blood, highly honored, as of a lamb without spot or blemish, the blood of Jesus Christ.
Thus, believers become bondslaves of the Lord Jesus by right of purchase.
The word doulos (bondslave) translated "Servants" in Romans 6:18, refers to one born in slavery.
Redemption

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2.
2. (Exagorazo) - to buy a slave OUT OF the market-place. (used here)

The bondslave of the Lord Jesus is bought not only to be His bondslave,
but he is bought OUT of the slave market -
NEVER TO BE PUT UP FOR SALE AGAIN in any slave market.
He becomes the bondslave of the Lord Jesus for time and eternity.
Equals

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3.
3. (Lutroo) - to SET FREE by payment of ransom. Used in I Pet 1:18; Titus 2:14

The noun having the same root means "ransom money used to liberate a slave."
The bondslave of the Lord Jesus is set free from his former slavery to sin -
to realize in his life that for which God created him -
to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

The word used in this passage is #2 above. It means "to buy up." It is used frequently in the LXX (Septuagint), with the idea that such deliverance involves cost of some kind - effort, suffering, of loss to the one who effects the deliverance. It conveys the figure of a ransom. Mankind needed a ransom, for the law had left them prisoners under sentence of death.

 

Freedom

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Vs. 15 - 18 THE PROMISE WAS TO ABRAHAM’S FAITH

CONFIRMED = (kekuromenen) - "to confirm solemnly or publicly, to ratify".
[NIV: Has been ... established]

It is in the perfect tense, which indicates that the ratification is a past matter, and that at present the matter is closed and established.
Therefore, just as in human relations, an agreement solemnly ratified cannot be changed unless by mutual consent of the parties involved - so in the divine relationship.

disannulleth = (athetei) "to render without place or standing, to abrogate, to annul".
[NIV: Set aside]

ADDETH THERETO = (epidiatassetai) "to make additional prescriptions".
[NIV: Add to]

 

An
Established
Agreement

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There are two distinct methods of invalidating a contract:

1st.

To annul it directly
2nd. To impose new conditions which are diametrically opposed to its spirit or purpose.

The doctrine of the Judaizers at first glance appeared only to add some harmless new conditions to the covenant of Grace. BUT THE CHARACTER OF THESE NEW CONDITIONS VIRTUALLY ANNULLED IT. Works added to Faith would annul the entire covenant since any dependence upon works means that it is necessary to abandon Faith. That means that any sinner who claims to be saved on the basis of Faith plus Works is still a lost sinner.

 

Faith
+
Works
=
0

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HE SAITH NOT, AND TO SEEDS
[NIV: ...does not say "and to seeds"]

It was one particular kind of posterity which was intended.

BUT AS OF ONE = CHRIST
[NIV: meaning one person = Christ]

To the spiritual Head, and all believers in Him, who are children of Abraham, because they are believers (vs. 7).

But why does the apostle say, "not of seeds, as of many"?

To this it is answered that Abraham possessed in his family TWO SEEDS:

Many Seeds Natural the members of his own earthly household and their descendents are called "children of Abraham."
One Seed Spiritual Jesus Christ. Those who are justified BY FAITH in Jesus Christ, are also called "children of Abraham."

The promises were not of a temporal nature; had they been so, they would have belonged to his natural seed. But they did not - therefore they must have belonged to the spiritual seed. And as the promises of justification could only be made to and through Christ, they can only be appropriated through faith in Christ, even as Abraham appropriated the promise through faith in God.

FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS AFTER - God made a covenant with Abraham that the Messiah should spring from his posterity. This covenant stated that justification should be obtained by faith in the Messiah. The Messiah did not come until 1,911 years after the making of this covenant - the law was given 430 years after the covenant with Abraham - therefore, the law (which was given 1,481 years before the promise to Abram could be fulfilled) could not possibly annul the Abrahamic covenant.

 

Faith
+
0
=
Justification

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GRACE IS PERMANENT

THE LAW IS INTERMEDIATE

The promise to Abraham has respect to the Messiah, and cannot be fulfilled except in Him. Justification by faith is promised in the Abrahamic covenant, and attributed to that alone.

Furthermore, the promise was: "In thy seed shall ALL THE NATIONS of the earth be blessed" - not the Jewish nation only. (Gen. 22:19)

Therefore, the law, which was an intermediate transaction could neither annul nor affect the Promise, which was a Permanent Transaction.

 

A
Permanent
Covenant

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3:19-25    THE USE OF THE LAW

(19-) To reveal sin till the promised Seed should come.
(-19) A mediator manifests 2 parties Shows the Law to be conditional.
(20) No mediator; manifests 1 party Shows the Promise to be unconditional.
(21-25) The Law given till Christ should come.

 

3:21-25    THE LAW GIVEN TILL CHRIST SHOULD COME

(21-) The Promise not affected by the Law.
(-21) The incapacity of the Law.
(22) The Promise the original intention.
(23-25) The purpose of the Law.

Vs. 19 - IT WAS ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS

It was added so that we might know our sinfulness, and that we stood in need of the mercy of God.

The Law was the Right Line - the Straight Edge - that displayed the error of our conduct. Romans 4:15 says that the law works wrath. No law makes provision for the exercise of Mercy, for it works wrath - punishment - for the disobedient. Romans 5:20 says that "the law entered that the offence might abound." That the true nature, deformity and extent of sin might appear - for by the law is the knowledge of sin. It was necessary that this law should be given, that the true nature of SIN might be seen, and that we might be the better prepared to receive the Gospel.

THE  LAW  IS  A   RULE   -   A  STRAIGHT  LINE
It does not conform us to God’s righteousness
It only reveals our deformity

GOD IS ONE: Thus the law is a contract between two parties.

God gave the law through the mediator Moses (see also Heb 8:6), and man is obligated to obey it. God will bless man if he obeys, and will punish man if he disobeys. But the promise of free grace is not in the nature of a contract between two parties.
God acts ALONE and directly when He promises salvation to anyone who will receive it by the outstretched hand of faith. There are no good works to be done by the sinner in order that he might merit that salvation.

Vs. 21 - THE PROMISE IS NOT AFFECTED BY THE LAW

IS THE LAW THEN AGAINST THE PROMISES OF GOD?

[NIV: Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?

No! The law and the promises are not in conflict because each has a distinct function -

The Law The Promises
Ministry of Condemnation Ministry of Salvation.
Judges a person on the basis of
obedience or disobedience
The Promises judge a person on the basis of
faith

 

An
Addition

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The Law, whose ministry is one of condemnation, was not intended to express God’s attitude towards man, but God’s attitude towards sin. God’s attitude towards man is, and always has been, one of grace.

The Law is not the basis of God’s judgment of man. A sinner who rejects Christ goes to the Lake of Fire for all eternity, not because he has broken God’s laws, for his sin is paid for. He goes to a lost eternity because he rejects God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus.

THE LAW IS A REVELATION OF OUR LEGAL STANDING
It cannot change us
As a result, it can only condemn us

The
True
Basis

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Furthermore, no law could give eternal life. The wages of sin is death. The law demands of the sinner the death penalty, spiritual and physical death. The law will not accept the good works of a sinner in lieu of the death penalty. Only the precious blood of Jesus could satisfy the righteous demands of the broken law.

THE LAW REVEALS OUR NEED OF A SAVIOR
But it is powerless to save us.

Vs. 23 - WE WERE KEPT UNDER THE LAW            [NIV: We were held prisoners by the law]

Literally, "We were kept in prison under lock and key."

 

Legal Demands

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THE LAW IS A JAILER
It continually reminds us of our sinfulness
But it cannot loose us from it.

Faith

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UNTO THE FAITH WHICH SHOULD AFTERWARDS BE REVEALED -        
[NIV: Until faith should be revealed]

Or, with a view to the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Equals

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They were shut up with only one avenue of escape, namely, faith in Christ. During the 1500 years in which the law was in force, it was the means of convicting sinners of their sins and of causing them to look ahead in faith to the atonement God would some day offer which would pay for their sins.

THE LAW WAS A SCHOOLMASTER
It could lead us to Christ
But it could not justify us.

 

Atonement

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3:26 - 4:11 SONSHIP IN CHRIST

(3:26-29) Sons and Heirs.
   (4:1-6) Illustration.   Abraham's sons
(4:7) Son and Heir.
   (4:8-11) Application   God's Son

 

Vs. 26 - 29 SONS AND HEIRS

CHILDREN = (hios) LITERALLY, "SONS."          [NIV: Sons]

Adult male children - no longer in need of a tutor (the law  -
but sons emancipated and walking at liberty.
And this liberty of maturity comes only BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.

BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST - HAVE PUT ON CHRIST     [NIV: Have clothed yourselves with Christ]

Christ is to you the "toga virilis"  (the Roman garment of the full-grown man, assumed when ceasing to be a child).
Here again, this maturity is attained only by faith in Christ, and Christ alone is the evident apparel of that maturity.

THE LAW WAS A GUARDIAN
It watched over us in our childhood
But it was unable to help us mature.

 

Faith
=
Maturity

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NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK - no more race privilege
NEITHER BOND NOR FREE - no more class privilege
NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE - no more gender privilege
Males alone had circumcision - the sign of the covenant.
(contrast Baptism - the sign of Faith, applied to male and female alike)
Males alone were allowed to be kings and priests.
(all of either gender are now "kings and priests unto God" - Rev. 1:6)
Males had prior right to inheritances.
(in the resurrection the relation of the genders shall cease - Lk. 20:35)

 

Divine
Equality

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HEIRS  ACCORDING   TO  THE  PROMISE

Here he arrives at the same truth with which he began in verse 7 - that one "seed" - the culmination of a righteous succession. In Him the lineal descent from David becomes extinct. He died without natural posterity. But He lives and shall reign on David’s throne. No one has a legal claim to sit upon it but Himself, He being the only living direct representative (Ezekiel 21:27). His spiritual seed derive their birth from the travail of His soul, being born again of His Word, which is the incorruptible seed (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 9:8; I Pet. 1:23).

Divine
Inheritance

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To Chapter 2          To Chapter 4

 


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