1. Oh you thoughtless Galatians! What has gotten into you after we carefully showed you how Jesus was mocked and crucified?
The original language here (mocked = written against) describes the words that Pilate (John 19:19) nailed over the head of Jesus on the cross. These words were put there to mock Jesus. The devil wants to hold a sign over our heads to accuse us of the things that we have said and done. The devil threatens to expose our secret faults and destroy any ministry that we can have.
Having canceled out the writing consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14
2. There is only one thing I want you to tell me: did you you receive the Spirit by keeping the Law of Moses or by the hearing of faith?
It is very important to know that people do not come to Christ by listening to our words. Only the Word of God can bring people to Christ. We sometimes forget this, and try to convince people to come to Christ using our own words.
Maybe the person you are talking to has not come to Christ because you are talking too much? Jesus told a story about a farmer planting seeds. Some of the seeds grew and some of the seeds had problems. We are only farmers who have been given the privilege of planting seeds for God. We scatter the seed and we leave the rest to God.
If we are not speaking actual words from the Bible and praying for people then we will not see them come to Christ.
The same thing happens with our personal problems. The only way we can receive the faith to live through our personal problems is by being saturated in the Word of God. When you read His Words you will receive the faith to walk through your problems.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ! Romans 10:17
3. Are you really so thoughtless that even though you began in the Spirit you now think that you can finish in the flesh?
Paul is saying, "It does not make any sense! How can you possibly think that something that God did in your spirit can be complete by doing something in your flesh?"
This is a good warning to us also. When we are tempted to take control of a situation we need to remind ourselves that God does not use our flesh or our ideas to do what He wants done.
Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
4. Have all your sufferings been for nothing? If they really were for nothing.
It is this Gospel that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you never really believed in the first place. 1 Corinthians 15:2
5. Does the One who gave you the Spirit (and does miracles among) you do it through the Law or by the message of faith?
The whole book of Galatians is showing the difference between the Law, the flesh and the Spirit. Paul is showing here that the Law cannot do miracles. The Law cannot rebuild a man's life in the way that the Spirit does.
But the apostles stayed there [the cities of Galatia] a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. Acts 14:3
6. The Scripture says that Abraham believed and was made clear before God.
And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6
7. You need to see that those who trust God this way are the real sons of Abraham.
For no one is a Jew who is only one outwardly, nor is true circumcision outward in the flesh only. Romans 2:28
8 – 9
The Scriptures, knowing that God was going to save the Gentiles by their faith, show us that the Gospel was revealed to Abraham saying, “In you will all the nations of the world will be blessed.”
This means that everyone who trusts God the way that Abraham did will share in his blessing.
Here is a lesson: when we trust God to save us and to help us overcome our problems - people are watching, and they begin to think that if it works for us then it can work for them.
Bottom line: faith is contagious, just like fear is contagious.
...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3, John 8:56.
10. Everyone who is trying to be saved by the Law falls under a curse because Deuteronomy says, “Cursed is everyone who does not live completely in all the things that have been written in the book of the Law to do them.”
It is very clear that no one can be saved by keeping the Law.
Paul is saying that it would be impossible to keep every part of the Law anyway!
I have discovered this principle of life —that sometimes when I want to do what is right, I end up doing what is wrong. Romans 7:21
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:2
Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this Law by doing them. Deuteronomy 27:26
11 – 12
As Habakkuk says, “Those who are clear before God will live by trusting in faith.”
But the Law is not based on faith, but instead, it says in Leviticus, “He who does these things shall live by them.”
If we only have faith that Christ has saved us, but we do not trust God for the problems of daily life, then we only have something which is called "fire insurance."
We need to see that we are not only saved by faith, but that we live by faith. This means that God is not finished with us yet. It is the same when you learn something new in school, the next day there will be a test.
In the book of Job, the devil said that Job would only trust God if things were going good for him.
There comes a time in our lives when we are tempted to say, "Yes, I have trusted Christ to save me but I cannot trust Him, while I am in this bad situation. After all these years of serving Him. How could He let these things happen to me?”
True faith that has been tested comes from trusting the One who can see - when you cannot see.
Faith means that we have complete confidence in the things that we are trusting in. It means being sure of things that we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1
Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat. Luke 22:31
The righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4
You shall keep My laws and My rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:5
13 – 14
Christ has rescued us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us as Deuteronomy says, everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed."
Jesus became a curse, so that the Gentiles might be connected with the blessings of Abraham and so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by our faith.
If you had to be Jewish and then be saved by trusting in Jesus and keeping the Law, then there would be no way for Gentiles to be saved. God would have had to make another way for Gentiles to be saved that was not through the Law or through Jesus' death on the cross. There is nothing in the Bible to support this!
We see how amazing God's love is for us when we see that He turned His face away from Jesus on the cross. Jesus took on Himself our sins and became sin for us. God cannot look at sin and this made Jesus cry out, "Father, why have you turned away from Me?"
This one cry from the cross should make us tremble at how evil our sin was in the sight of God. For those who do not see themselves as sinful, Jesus death was the death of a man who just died for his beliefs.
For our sake he made Him to become sin - who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
...he who is hanged on a tree is cursed of God. Deuteronomy 21:23
15. Let me give you an example, my brothers. After a contract has been made and signed, it is respected by the ones who signed it and cannot be put away or changed by anyone else.
I n Genesis Chapter 15 we see that God used the culture of that day to confirm the promises to Abraham. In those days, men who were making a legal contract, would cut some animals in half and they would walk together in between the dead bodies.
There were witnesses on each side who would testify that the contract had been made. God knew that Abraham could not keep his part of the contract so He put Abraham into a deep sleep and walked in between the animal parts by Himself.
If a contract signed by men cannot be changed, how much more can a contract with God not be changed? When Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross He was saying that the contract had been fulfilled. John 19:30
16. The promises were made to Abraham and his seed. Notice that the Scripture does not say, “seeds” but is talking about one seed , meaning Jesus Christ.
Of course, the Jews could read Hebrew and they knew that these promises would come through one man but they thought that this one man was Isaac who passed on the promises to them.
In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice. Genesis 22:18
17. What I am saying is, that the Law came 430 years later, after the promise made to Abraham and so it cannot change the contract or the promises which God had made with Abraham.
Paul is saying that any contract that has been standing for over 400 years cannot be changed by a Law.
From the time that the promises were confirmed, to the year of the escape from Egypt is 430 years.
Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. Exodus 12:40, Acts 7:6, Genesis 15:13.
18. For if we can only receive the promises by keeping the Law, then it would not be a promise, but God gave these things to Abraham by promise.
Paul is asking them to make up their minds - did the blessings of Abraham, come from a Law or from a promise?
19. So why did God give the Law then? It was added to show us what things are not pleasing to God but only until the seed (Jesus), to whom the promise was made, came into the world. This Law was sent through messengers [such as Moses] who were standing between God and man.
The Law was added to show us what things are sin:
I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about being greedy if the Law had not said, “You shall not be greedy.” Romans 7:7
20. A mediator does not represent only one person, but God is one person.
Moses was the mediator. He could not only represent the Law but he had to balance the Law with the promises to Abraham. A go-between cannot only work for one side.
I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of the LORD. Deuteronomy 5:5
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5
There is no go-between for us, who may lay his hand upon us both. Job 9:33
21. Is the Law working against the promises of God? May it never be! For if there could have been a Law which would give men spiritual life then that Law would have made men clear before God.
Paul is saying that the Law is not against the Gospel but the Gospel completes what the Law started.
22. But the Scripture shows that all men are under the power of sin so that men would see that the promise was for those who trusted in Jesus Christ.
The law showed men, that they needed someone to save them.
23. Before the coming of faith we were all under the power of the Law and our only hope was the promise of faith that was being shown to us.
This is a key to many Scriptures: Evil does not have control over you because of the past or in the present. Tell yourself this when the enemy attacks you.
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. Romans 6:14
24 - 26
So the Law was like a guardian and our only hope was that by faith we could be made clear before God. After we find out that we are made clear by faith, we do not need a guardian anymore. Now that you have faith in Jesus Christ, you are all sons of God.
In the days of Paul some families had guardians who fed them, helped them get dressed, and walked with them to school until they were grown up. Do you see how the Law has done this for you?
27 – 28
All of you who were baptized in Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer any difference between Jew or Greek or slave or free men or male or female. You are all one in Jesus Christ.
And if you belong to Christ you are true children of Abraham, and true heirs of his promise.
A sad, old Jewish commentary says, “A man must say these three blessings every day: Blessed are You who has not made me an unbeliever, who has not made me a woman, and who has not made me a slave."
Anyone who looks down on someone else is asking for some trouble in his life. At any time that we do not walk in God's ways He will humble us until we turn away from the ugly things in our lives.
Whoever troubles his own house will inherit the wind. Proverbs 11:29