New Century Version
Blessing Comes Through Faith
3 You people in Galatia were told very clearly about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But you were foolish; you let someone trick you. 2 Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Holy Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the Good News and believed it. 3 You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power? That is foolish. 4 Were all your experiences wasted? I hope not! 5 Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you follow the law? No, he does these things because you heard the Good News and believed it.
6 The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.”[a] 7 So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith. 8 The Scriptures, telling what would happen in the future, said that God would make the non-Jewish people right through their faith. This Good News was told to Abraham beforehand, as the Scripture says: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9 So all who believe as Abraham believed are blessed just as Abraham was. 10 But those who depend on following the law to make them right are under a curse, because the Scriptures say, “Anyone will be cursed who does not always obey what is written in the Book of the Law.”[c] 11 Now it is clear that no one can be made right with God by the law, because the Scriptures say, “Those who are right with God will live by faith.”[d] 12 The law is not based on faith. It says, “A person who obeys these things will live because of them.”[e] 13 Christ took away the curse the law put on us. He changed places with us and put himself under that curse. It is written in the Scriptures, “Anyone whose body is displayed on a tree[f] is cursed.” 14 Christ did this so that God’s blessing promised to Abraham might come through Jesus Christ to those who are not Jews. Jesus died so that by our believing we could receive the Spirit that God promised.
The Law and the Promise
15 Brothers and sisters, let us think in human terms: Even an agreement made between two persons is firm. After that agreement is accepted by both people, no one can stop it or add anything to it. 16 God made promises both to Abraham and to his descendant. God did not say, “and to your descendants.” That would mean many people. But God said, “and to your descendant.” That means only one person; that person is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: God had an agreement with Abraham and promised to keep it. The law, which came four hundred thirty years later, cannot change that agreement and so destroy God’s promise to Abraham. 18 If the law could give us Abraham’s blessing, then the promise would not be necessary. But that is not possible, because God freely gave his blessings to Abraham through the promise he had made.
19 So what was the law for? It was given to show that the wrong things people do are against God’s will. And it continued until the special descendant, who had been promised, came. The law was given through angels who used Moses for a mediator[g] to give the law to people. 20 But a mediator is not needed when there is only one side, and God is only one.
The Purpose of the Law of Moses
21 Does this mean that the law is against God’s promises? Never! That would be true only if the law could make us right with God. But God did not give a law that can bring life. 22 Instead, the Scriptures showed that the whole world is bound by sin. This was so the promise would be given through faith to people who believe in Jesus Christ.
23 Before this faith came, we were all held prisoners by the law. We had no freedom until God showed us the way of faith that was coming. 24 In other words, the law was our guardian leading us to Christ so that we could be made right with God through faith. 25 Now the way of faith has come, and we no longer live under a guardian.
26-27 You were all baptized into Christ, and so you were all clothed with Christ. This means that you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 28 In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. 29 You belong to Christ, so you are Abraham’s descendants. You will inherit all of God’s blessings because of the promise God made to Abraham.
- 3:6 “Abraham . . . God.” Quotation from Genesis 15:6.
- 3:8 “All . . . you.” Quotation from Genesis 12:3 and 18:18.
- 3:10 “Anyone . . . Law.” Quotation from Deuteronomy 27:26.
- 3:11 “Those . . . faith.” Quotation from Habakkuk 2:4.
- 3:12 “A person . . . them.” Quotation from Leviticus 18:5.
- 3:13 displayed on a tree Deuteronomy 21:22–23 says that when a person was killed for doing wrong, the body was hung on a tree to show shame. Paul means that the cross of Jesus was like that.
- 3:19 mediator A person who helps one person talk to or give something to another person.