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Today is the third post in our Bible study with me series, and we've already covered the first two chapters in Galatians. If you haven't checked those out yet, I would highly encourage you to read those first so that you're all caught up in Paul's message for both us and the Galatian churches, and then we'll be ready to jump right into Galatians chapter 3!

Paul starts this chapter off extremely strong, calling out the Galatians for having foolish, clouded, and unbiblical thinking. If my AP Lang teacher was studying this, she would point out the rhetorical strategy of the many, many questions that Paul "asked" his audience because he was so flabbergasted at their behavior. He reminds them of everything that they have experienced, and challenges them to really reflect upon that, because they've begun living in a way that completely contradicts the faith that they accepted at the beginning.

Many of them saw with their very own eyes Jesus being crucified, yet they are falling into the trap of false gospels and believing in a works-based salvation. Paul has to shake some sense into them, asking if everything they've experienced was in vain, if they're now trying to finish their race in the flesh, and if God does miracles because of their good deeds instead of their faith.

Even if we aren't struggling with believing a gospel that isn't grace focused and Christ centered, sometimes we need to a long, hard conversation with ourselves about where we may be going wrong. And sometimes we need people like Paul to hold us accountable and call us out when we're straying in the wrong direction. I think that as Christians, it's so important that we often take a step back and reevaluate where we are in our faith journey and how we can stay on course with Jesus. That's how we grow and move closer to the Father, and if we never make little adjustments along the way, we may find ourselves way off track.

But Paul continues reminding them of where our salvation comes from: grace. He pulls from the Old Testament and how Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness, and connects it to the present by saying that those who have faith are children of Abraham. (And to the Jewish audience, this was a very big, important statement because Abraham was held in such high regard.)

Then he breaks down why we cannot rely on the law for salvation. He gets to the root of the lie that these Christians are believing and tears it down with truth. In verse 10, he makes a very bold statement that everyone who relies on the works of the law is under a curse - because we are incapable of fulfilling the law perfectly. We could be justified by the law if we could obey it fully, but we can't, and because of that, we have to experience the weight of the consequences of our failures. Without Jesus, we would have to carry the burden of our sin for the rest of eternity.

But don't worry - we have Jesus. The Enduring Word commentary wrote that God never intended for the law to be the way we find our approval before Him, and that's why Jesus had to come to bear the weight of the curse that we deserved on the cross. He put the curse - separation from God - upon Himself, so that we may receive the promise of the Spirit. He had to put all of our shame, sin, and sorrow on His own shoulders so that we could experience relationship with Him and receive His blessing.

Note that word receive. The promise, the relationship, the blessing, we don't have to earn any of it. We can't purchase or obtain it by our own strength. We just open our hearts and accept it. It's a free gift, friends, and that blows my mind every single day, but praise God for it, because I know that I could never deserve it, no matter how hard I tried.

Throughout the next part of the chapter, Paul tries to explain to them the role that God's promise and the law plays in our life. He uses the example of a human covenant, and how it can't be changed or added to, and the same is with the covenant that God made with Abraham. God promised Abraham a seed, Jesus, before the law was even established. God knew that we needed Jesus, with or without the law, and so even when the law was created, it couldn't take away the promise of a Savior. It couldn't take His place or redeem us enough. The covenant was made, and it remained, even in the presence of the law.

The Enduring Word commentary describes God's grace in the covenant like this: "God's giving to Abraham was the free giving of grace. The word is also in the perfect tense, showing that the gift is permanent." The promise of grace and Jesus is a forever promise, and it's not dependent on the law or on us.

So, then, Paul asks why the law was given at all. It was given as a temporary mediator, a way to prevent us from destroying ourselves in sin. The law was a standard for us to work towards, so that we didn't completely spiral in sin; it was a protection of sorts for us. It made us increasingly aware of our broken nature, so that we would recognize our need for God and for grace. It didn't oppose the promises of God, but it couldn't fulfill the promises, either. It couldn't give us life.

Paul explains that Scripture had locked up everything under the control of sin, meaning that Scripture put us in a metaphorical prison because it made us so aware of our sinful nature. We became trapped by our failures, but faith broke our chains. Christ came, justified us, and set us free. By faith, the promise can come to those who believe, and we don't have to remain in those chains forever. We are no longer captive to our sin, to our past, or to all of the lies that the enemy whispers in our mind, but we are instead free.

This unites us. Paul reminds us that we are all one in Christ Jesus - we are all the same, he says, and "there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female." None of that matters, nor is it our identity, because Christ is the common denominator.

I think it's clear that throughout all of Paul's writing so far, and what's still to come, is rooted in the idea that we need grace, and we can't earn it ourselves. This is something that I've been thinking about a lot, and that God has really been trying to press into my heart lately. We cannot earn it or work for it or deserve it, but only received it by faith. We have to lay down our lives, pick up the cross, and surrender it all to Him. That's the only way that we will ever experience the freedom, life, and redemption that the Father desires for us.


Jesus, thank You for what You're teaching us through Galatians. Thank You for Your grace and the righteousness that Your blood covers us in. I pray that You would help us to take a step back and realign ourselves with Your voice and Your will. Give us community that kindly convicts and corrects us when we stray from Your path. Thank You that all we have to do is receive the promise and experience the chains fall off our wrists. Thank You for freedom and for new life. I pray that we each would continue to take time to study and reflect upon Your word. Reveal to us what You want us to hear and apply in our every day lives. We love You Lord! Amen.


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