We have now made it to the third chapter in our study. Paul has established his place as THE apostle that the Lord Jesus has sent to the Gentiles with THE message that the Lord Jesus gave to him. The epistle left off with the truth that the law has no part in our righteousness. The law can only condemn. We have also learned from studying these chapters along with Acts how that those wanting to bring the Gentile Galatian believers under the law by their submission to circumcision would not be allowed. Paul told them that submitting to this was submitting to another gospel which he called accursed.
In chapter 3 Paul begins by telling them that they are not using their minds and thinking about this rebellion against the truth-“O FOOLISH GALATIANS”! He asks rhetorical questions, a useful tool in teaching to make people begin to use their minds and think.
Those of the Galatians who have been “bewitched” to go back under law and submit to circumcision are doing so based on supposed obedience to God. The question they would ask is “Did not God tell Abraham that every man child among you shall be circumcised?” Paul begins by reminding them that the blessing came on Abraham when he believed God. In other words, it was by faith.
Paul also reminds the Galatians that the law is a performance system, with blessings and curses tied to performance. That all mankind is under the curse is evident for the law that they were putting themselves under has a purpose:
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. [Rom 3:19-20]
Our Lord Jesus Christ bore the curse of the law for us, so that the blessings of the promise by faith could be freely given. So why go back under the curse? The blessing of Abraham comes on the gentiles through Jesus Christ, not by the law, and not by circumcision (becoming a Jew). (Gal 3:14) God gave Abraham a promise, and the law could not change that. Even man’s covenants cannot be added to or made void without violation once cut, and God who is the judge of the earth will do right. The law cannot give life, but it concludes all under sin.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. [Gal 3:22-25]
The chapter concludes with the glorious fact the believer in Christ being a full-grown son (Greek-υἱός “huios”) of God with all of the privileges that come with sonship, because of the baptism into Christ (vs 27).
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [Gal 3:27-28]
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [1Co 12:13]
How great is the grace of God! Being in Christ makes the gentile believers the seed of Abraham, according to the promise by faith. How much greater, that being in Christ also makes us the privileged sons of God!
Studies in Chapter 3:
- Galatians 3:1-5
- Galatians 3:6-9
- Galatians 3:10-14
- Galatians 3:15-18
- Galatians 3:19-25
- Galatians 3:26-29
Previous Chapter: Galatians Chapter 2
Next Chapter: Galatians Chapter 4