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3. Faith or Observance of the Law

1O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified? 2This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh? 4Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain. 5He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 7Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. 9So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them. 11Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith; 12and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed, no one maketh it void, or addeth thereto. 16Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17Now this I say: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect. 18For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by promise. 19What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one. 21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law. 22But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. 28There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise.

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6. The answer to the question in Ga 3:5 is here taken for granted, It was by the hearing of faith: following this up, he says, "Even as Abraham believed," &c. (Ge 15:4-6; Ro 4:3). God supplies unto you the Spirit as the result of faith, not works, just as Abraham obtained justification by faith, not by works (Ga 3:6, 8, 16; Ga 4:22, 26, 28). Where justification is, there the Spirit is, so that if the former comes by faith, the latter must also.

7. they which are of faith—as the source and starting-point of their spiritual life. The same phrase is in the Greek of Ro 3:26.

the samethese, and these alone, to the exclusion of all the other descendants of Abraham.

childrenGreek, "sons" (Ga 3:29).

8. AndGreek, "Moreover."

foreseeing—One great excellency of Scripture is, that in it all points liable ever to be controverted, are, with prescient wisdom, decided in the most appropriate language.

would justify—rather, "justifieth." Present indicative. It is now, and at all times, God's one way of justification.

the heathen—rather, "the Gentiles"; or "the nations," as the same Greek is translated at the end of the verse. God justifieth the Jews, too, "by faith, not by works." But he specifies the Gentiles in particular here, as it was their case that was in question, the Galatians being Gentiles.

preached before the gospel—"announced beforehand the Gospel." For the "promise" was substantially the Gospel by anticipation. Compare Joh 8:56; Heb 4:2. A proof that "the old fathers did not look only for transitory promises" [Article VII, Church of England]. Thus the Gospel, in its essential germ, is older than the law though the full development of the former is subsequent to the latter.

In thee—not "in thy seed," which is a point not here raised; but strictly "in thee," as followers of thy faith, it having first shown the way to justification before God [Alford]; or "in thee," as Father of the promised seed, namely, Christ (Ga 3:16), who is the Object of faith (Ge 22:18; Ps 72:17), and imitating thy faith (see on Ga 3:9).

all nations—or as above, "all the Gentiles" (Ge 12:3; 18:18; 22:18).

be blessed—an act of grace, not something earned by works. The blessing of justification was to Abraham by faith in the promise, not by works. So to those who follow Abraham, the father of the faithful, the blessing, that is, justification, comes purely by faith in Him who is the subject of the promise.

9. they—and they alone.

of faith—(See on Ga 3:7, beginning).

with—together with.

faithful—implying what it is in which they are "blessed together with him," namely, faith, the prominent feature of his character, and of which the result to all who like him have it, is justification.




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