The Expository Files

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
Final Page
From Expository Files 11.4; April, 2004