CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

9526a07d9f8686ec5667a96cad064ff6

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIANS

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER THREE

Paul begins chapter three with his personal argument about how the Galatians were justified by faith in the God-man Jesus. He asked them to remember how they received the blessing of the Holy Spirit and who brought it to them. It was Paul’s greatest concern that they were being misled into believing that they received the Spirit by their own adherence to the Law’s demands.

In a continuation of his argument based on justification by faith, Paul then points to Abraham as an example. It was his faith that was credited to him as being right with God. Also, he stressed that God would justify the nations by faith, and those who put their faith in Him would be blessed like Abraham.

Paul felt led to remind the Galatians that whoever lived by the works of the Law would suffer its curse. However, through the Anointed One, they were redeemed from such a curse. The priority of the promise over the Law was quite evident, according to Paul, given that the law was received 430 years after God made His promises to Abraham.

That promise was spoken to Abraham, but it was carried out through his Seed.  In essence, it was made by God to Himself; it was a one-party agreement between God and the God-man – the promised Seed, with Abraham as a witness. The God-man would be free to pour out His Spirit (the promise) on whomsoever He chose to receive it.

The Jews mistakenly saw the promise as being made by God to them, Abraham’s seeds. They saw the Law as an amendment to the original promise, a condition added to the covenant 430 years after it was first spoken to Abraham. If they would keep the Law, then the promise would be fulfilled. Paul is saying, “No!”  The Law is an entirely separate matter. It has nothing to do with the promise. It was simply a tutor to teach people that God cannot enter into a direct relationship with mankind; because of sin, there must be a mediator. Moses was simply a type of the true mediator, the God-man, the Anointed One Jesus. The proof that the Law has nothing to do with the fulfillment of the promise is that the promise involved one party (God and Himself), whereas the Law involves two (God and mankind). They are two separate matters.

And just because they are two separate matters doesn’t mean that they are in conflict with each other. In point of fact, the Law helps point us to the God-man so that we can participate in the blessing of the promise through faith in Him as our Mediator. We learned from the Law that we need a mediator, and we find the Anointed One to be the only mediator between God and mankind. And since the Anointed One is God, there is no need for an in-between mediator. God, through the Anointed One, is His own Mediator.

Paul also begins a discussion about the purpose of the Law. He informed the Galatians that the Law was added because of the transgressions of His people. But that ended when the Anointed One came with His message of grace and forgiveness. It served the purpose of confining everyone under sin until the promise by faith in the Anointed One could be fulfilled.

Now we enjoy the fulfillment of the promise, for we have all received the indwelling Holy Spirit; we are all “children of God through faith in the Anointed One Jesus.”  It was granted to Abraham that the inheritance of the promise to the God-man may be enjoyed by his descendants: “in him, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”[1]  Therefore, if you belong to the Anointed One, then you are Abraham’s spiritual descendants as heirs to the promise. Paul finally reminded them that they were all one in union with the Anointed One, and there were no restrictions based on race, gender, or class.

In conclusion, the whole point Paul is making in the book of Galatians is that grace works, not that works are grace!  Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that God was in Himself, reconciling the world to Himself.[2]  That’s what Paul was saying about the promise by God to the God-man.  It was a one-party deal.  Mankind had nothing to do with either its conception or its implementation so that no one could boast of having achieved it on their own.[3]

The Law, on the other hand, was a two-party deal requiring a mediator. It taught us that we need to come to God based on faith. The practical application of all this is grace, not works! Paul made it abundantly clear that having begun by the Spirit, you cannot now be perfected by rites, rituals, and regulations. Sanctification, just like salvation, is an inside-out process by the Holy Spirit, not outside-in by external works. As Jesus said, speaking of the Spirit: “Whoever believes in me…from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.[4] – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Genesis 18:18

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

[3] See Ephesians 2:8,9

[4] John 7:38,39

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s