Notes From Galatians Three
Here is the issue Paul is addressing in Galatians. After the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ, the gospel was preached. Sinners who heard the gospel
and believed in Christ were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of
sins (Acts 2:38). It was not necessary to reinstitute the religious ritual of
circumcision as a condition of salvation or test of fellowship. The apostles
made no law that anybody needed to practice the religion of Judaism, in whole or
part. Christians were not obligated to keep the works of the law of Moses.
But there were certain men who went from place to place telling Christians they
needed to keep the works of the Law of Moses (Acts 15:1). These men were
preaching another gospel - and the Galatians were deserting God, moving in the
direction of this false teaching (Gal. 1:6-9). The apostle Paul is responding to
that problem with teaching from God (Gal. 1:12).
Part of Paul's argument was, to challenge his readers to better understand the
promises made to Abraham. God promised Abraham, "In you all the nations shall be
blessed," (Gal. 3:8, Gen. 12:3). Circumcision and the Law of Moses came after
this promise, and did not annual or change it. "And this I say, that the law,
which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that
was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no
effect," (Gal. 3:17). This may be one of the greatest steps you can take to
better understand the difference between the Old Testament and the New
Testament; grasping the significance of the promise made to Abraham and the
fulfillment of that blessing in Christ.
"But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith
in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." (Verse 22).
Here is the problem and solution in one sentence! The problem: "everyone under
sin." The solution: "faith in Jesus Christ." The solution is not found in
Judaism, or in keeping the Law of Moses. The solution is, to activate your faith
in Christ. Every time the gospel is heard, believed and obeyed - the promise
made to Abraham is fulfilled; the promise that God would bless all the families
of the earth (Gen. 12:3).
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 11.4; April, 2004