Paul isn’t bashful or vague. Look how he starts off the first paragraph:
Galatians 3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
He gets right to the heart of the Gospel: We are saved by belief in Christ, but we can foolishly then try to earn what we have already been given. It is as if we have been granted free access into Heaven, but we sneak out then try to work our way back in.
We should look different and continually get “better” as God sanctifies us (purifies us). But that can sometimes fool us into the false belief that we deserve salvation or can earn it ourselves.
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The 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.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
If we try to live by the law, we have to uphold every bit of it. This is simply impossible. If you look closely at the 10 Commandments it is hard to go 10 minutes without sinning.
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Brothers, 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. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
One of the big myths about Christianity is that we win God over and restore our relationship with him by doing good things. But the opposite is true: We are hopeless on our own and it is only by his power that we are transformed and become righteous. The law can condemn us, but it can’t save us.
Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
This is hard for us to believe, but as Christians we are no longer under the curse of the law. We were imprisoned by something we couldn’t conquer, but now we can live in freedom. Sinning does not cost you your salvation once you have received it.
Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
The world wants to give more importance to certain backgrounds, skin colors, job holders, sexes, etc. But the Bible teaches that each person has equal worth in God’s eyes.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.