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Law or Faith

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God[a] supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”[b] 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law[c] will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Promise to Abraham

15 Brothers and sisters,[d] I give an example from daily life: once a person’s will[e] has been ratified, no one adds to it or annuls it. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring;[f] it does not say, “And to offsprings,”[g] as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,”[h] that is, to one person, who is Christ. 17 My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

The Purpose of the Law

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring[i] would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. 20 Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. 22 But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ[j] might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,[k] heirs according to the promise.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 3:5 Gk he
  2. Galatians 3:11 Or The one who is righteous through faith will live
  3. Galatians 3:12 Gk does them
  4. Galatians 3:15 Gk Brothers
  5. Galatians 3:15 Or covenant (as in verse 17)
  6. Galatians 3:16 Gk seed
  7. Galatians 3:16 Gk seeds
  8. Galatians 3:16 Gk seed
  9. Galatians 3:19 Gk seed
  10. Galatians 3:22 Or through the faith of Jesus Christ
  11. Galatians 3:29 Gk seed

Faith or Works of the Law

You foolish(A) Galatians!(B) Who has bewitched you?(C) Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.(D) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit(E) by the works of the law,(F) or by believing what you heard?(G) Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles(H) among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?(I) So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c](J)

Understand, then, that those who have faith(K) are children of Abraham.(L) Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d](M) So those who rely on faith(N) are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.(O)

10 For all who rely on the works of the law(P) are under a curse,(Q) as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e](R) 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God,(S) because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f](T) 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g](U) 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law(V) by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h](W) 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,(X) so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.(Y)

The Law and the Promise

15 Brothers and sisters,(Z) let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.(AA) Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i](AB) meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years(AC) later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise;(AD) but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions(AE) until the Seed(AF) to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels(AG) and entrusted to a mediator.(AH) 20 A mediator,(AI) however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not!(AJ) For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.(AK) 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin,(AL) so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody(AM) under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.(AN) 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came(AO) that we might be justified by faith.(AP) 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.(AQ)

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God(AR) through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ(AS) have clothed yourselves with Christ.(AT) 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,(AU) nor is there male and female,(AV) for you are all one in Christ Jesus.(AW) 29 If you belong to Christ,(AX) then you are Abraham’s seed,(AY) and heirs(AZ) according to the promise.(BA)

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 3:3 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
  2. Galatians 3:4 Or suffered
  3. Galatians 3:6 Gen. 15:6
  4. Galatians 3:8 Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18
  5. Galatians 3:10 Deut. 27:26
  6. Galatians 3:11 Hab. 2:4
  7. Galatians 3:12 Lev. 18:5
  8. Galatians 3:13 Deut. 21:23
  9. Galatians 3:16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  10. Galatians 3:23 Or through the faithfulness of Jesus … 23 Before faith came

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