Aug. 30. Justified by Faith—Not by Works of Law of Moses

Gal. 3:1-29

After defending his authority as an apostle, Paul turned his attention to the condition of the Galatians. He again expressed his astonishment at the ease with which they had allowed themselves to be misled into following those false teachers.

Paul had plainly taught how the death of Christ had relieved the Galatians from the bondage of the law and into the hope of salvation by His resurrection. It was now his task to bring them back to that faith.

The Galatians, like other Christians had received spiritual gifts upon their obedience. Paul appealed to their intellect as he asked them about the Spirit. It was obvious that they had received the Spirit through faith in Christ instead of works of the law or flesh. If they were returning to the works of the law, everything they had gained in the Spirit would be lost.

The Jews were very proud of their heritage through Abraham. Paul pointed out that God had “preached the gospel to Abraham” four hundred thirty years before the law had been given. God had promised Abraham that through his Seed (Christ) and not seeds, all nations would be blessed. If this inheritance came through the Law of Moses, the promise to Abraham was useless.

Abraham believed God and had faith in His promise. Paul urged the Galatians to ignore the law that Abraham had never known and to go back in time those four hundred thirty years to his original faith. Those who would be like Abraham must also follow his spiritual example. Anyone who remains under the law or returns to it is under the curse that Christ died to remove from mankind.

If God had made the promise to Abraham that his Seed would bless the earth, why then did He institute the Law of Moses instead of sending Christ at that time? Paul explained that because of the sins of the people, it was necessary for the law to act as a tutor to train and fit them to receive the promise of Christ.

According to Paul, there was then no need for a tutor (the law) since faith in Christ had come. He explained that all became sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. How? “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

“As many” is an inclusive term that included all races, nationalities, genders and social classes whether circumcised or uncircumcised. All become one in Christ. Christians belong to Christ, thus becoming Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise made to Abraham.

Our study of Paul’s letters becomes more personal when we visualize Paul as a person like we are. His mission was his job. He faced objections, obstacles, physical and mental fatigue, health problems and many other issues just as today’s working people face.