Reading: Galatians 3
Summary: Paul speaks very strongly to these Christians regarding the error they have embraced. The strength of his language bears testimony to the seriousness of this matter. Paul would not stand for any change or adjustments to the saving truth of the salvation for all men through faith in Christ Jesus. This demanded a right understanding of God’s work and purposes going all the way back before the Law, to Abraham.
Faith in Bible Terms
The discussion from Galatians takes place in the deep end of the pool. These are major themes of great import. We dare not miss its message.
Paul argues convincingly—what else would one expect being guided by the Holy Spirit?—that faith is key to righteousness, long before works of the law. Thinking we can be justified by our law-keeping (aka, obedience) nullifies God’s grace (Gal. 2:21). Also, it places one under a curse (Gal. 3:10). Rather we received the Spirit “by hearing with faith” (3:2). God’s work is “by hearing with faith” (3:5). It is those of faith who are the “sons of Abraham” (3:7). Further, it is by faith that the righteous live (3:11).
There were certainly things the law could not do, but it accomplished precisely that which God intended for it to do (3:21-25). Upon accomplishing that faith replaced law (v. 25). Galatians is an excellent expansion on the statement that we are saved by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8).
Here’s something worth noting—particularly in light of much discussion to the contrary—it is precisely in the midst of this conversation of our being justified by faith and not works that the statement is made, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27-28).
To suggest baptism is but a work and therefore not essential to salvation argues quite contrary to Paul here in Galatians. I’ll stick with Paul.