As Pastor Ben mentioned last week, we are now in the doctrinal portion of the book of Galatians. One of the most important purposes of Scripture is to reveal to us God centered, Christ exalting doctrine.
This week and next week (Lord willing), we will be covering verses 10-29 and dividing it up this way:
Gal 3.10-14 The Curse of the Law
Gal 3.15-18 The Promise of the Covenant
Gal 3.19-29 The Purpose of the law
The New Testament emphasizes what God has done for us. The Church has made the mistake of emphasizing what we should do for God, and in doing so; we have drifted away from God and Christ centered life of love, faith, grace and fruit in the power of The Holy Spirit, to a man and self centered the life of law, legalism, dead works, and the flesh.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law (lit. all who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the law of rituals) are under the curse: for it is written (Deut 27:26), Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Paul’s argument seeks to drive his opponents into a corner from which there is no escape. “Suppose you decide that you are going to try to win God’s approval by accepting and obeying the law, what is the, inevitable consequence?”
First of all, the man who does that has to stand or fall by his decision; if he chooses the law he has got to live by it.
Second, no man ever has succeeded and no man ever will succeed in always keeping the law.
Third, if that being so, you are accursed, because scripture itself says (27:26) that the man who does not keep the whole law is under a curse. Therefore, the inevitable end of trying to get right with God by making the law the principle of life is a curse.
The word curse here means, “to be condemned and doomed to punishment by the righteous judgment of God.” Why? Because if you attempt to be made right with God by human effort, there is no room for one single error. It is impossible for a sinner to save themselves.
The book of James puts it this way:
Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
The law demanded perfect, sinless obedience, and if you broke one of the commands of God, you have broken and guilty of breaking the entire law.
Not a single person here today, myself at the very top of the list, should be so self-deceived as to think we are able to perfectly obey the law of God.
The law was given by God to show us our inadequacy and our need of His saving grace, through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ; the law was never intended to make men righteous.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Heb 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
If God’s holy, perfect law could not justify us in the sight of God, but only declare us guilty and point us to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, how can any person, now that Jesus has come and fulfilled all of the holy and righteous requirements of the law, really believe that their salvation depends upon their keeping of the rituals or rules of their denomination? It’s absurd, its heresy, it’s impossible.
Gal 3.11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Having shown from the Old Testament that the law inevitably brings a curse upon fallen humanity, Paul now shows that the same Old Testament scriptures also revealed a way for sinful man to enter into a right relationship with God.
Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up (proud) is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
In quoting Habakkuk 2:4 Paul shows that pride in human effort or accomplishments proves that a person is not right in the sight of God. This is most clearly explained by Jesus teaching in Luke 18.9-14 about the prideful attitude of the Pharisee in the temple.
Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Like this self-righteous Pharisee, it is only a proud person or a legalist who believes that they are good enough to stand before God upon the basis of their own self-justifying religious activity or good works. (Nicodemus, Cornelius, Paul himself)
1 Peter 5.5 God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
The Scripture is very clear that the only way for a sinner to enter into a vital relationship with The Lord and live a life that is pleasing to Him is by grace, through faith.
Hebrews 11:6, but without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Three times we find this phrase, the just shall live by faith in the New Testament. Here in Galatians and
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Then just shall live-really live-by faith. And Paul will go on to tell us in Gal 5.6 that faith worketh by love.
Because faith worketh by love, a gospel relationship with God is a loving one, not a legalistic one. A gospel-centered life of faith will be a life that is rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.
Gal 3.12 And the law is not of faith (does not require faith): but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Paul here quotes Leviticus 18.5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.
The law is not of faith- The law is not based on what God has done, but on what I am doing. The law is performance based, and is not based on God’s grace but on my doing. The law says that you must do it and keep doing it. Faith says, it is finished.
Seeking to be accepted by God on the basis of my obedience to the law is not only impossible. According to Habakkuk 2.4, it is an act of arrogant, spiritual pride.
Salvation according to a religious person or a legalist is always rooted in self and is based upon what they have done or don’t do instead of trusting in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
This is clearly seen in Scripture in the account of the Pharisee in
Gal 3.13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
The Greek word for the English word redeemed is “exagorazo” and it means to purchase for oneself by the payment of their debt. It was a word that was used to describe the buying of a slave’s freedom by paying their debt.
1 Corinthians 6.20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law with His precious blood.
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Gal 3.13 …being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 in referring to what happened when Christ died upon the cross. Christ took upon Himself the curse of sin when he suffered the penalty of sin on the cross and died for us. ( 53:1-11; John 1:29)
Mt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Hebrews 2.9 But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; the He by the grace of God should taste death for every man
Like the symbolic scape-goat spoken of in Le 16:5-26, Jesus was the representative bearer of the sin and the curse, which God required.
Gal 3. 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Gal 3.2 received ye The Spirit by the works of the law, of by the hearing of faith?
We receive and are sealed with The Holy Spirit the very moment of our salvation.
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
A covenant, or agreement, among men, after it is ratified, cannot be annulled or altered without the consent of both parties.
The covenant God made with Abraham was based on faith, not works. So when the law was added 430 years later, it didn’t disannul the covenant that stated that the faith of Abraham would be accounted for righteousness.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Paul takes one word in the Abraham story and erects an argument upon it. As the King James Version translates 17:7-8, God says to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee” and says of his inheritance, “I will give it unto thee and to thy seed after thee.”
Paul’s argument is that seed is used in the singular and not in the plural; and that, therefore, God’s promise points not to a great crowd of people but to one single individual; and–argues Paul–the one person in whom the covenant finds its consummation is Jesus Christ. Therefore, the way to peace with God is the way of faith that Abraham took; and we must repeat that way by looking to Jesus Christ in faith.
Our relationship with God is based upon the earlier covenant made with Abraham and His Seed, Jesus Christ.
Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Paul’s point was simply this; The law was given many years after the covenant that God made with Abraham, and cannot therefore cancel the previous covenant. The Mosaic Law did not nullify the promise made to Abraham.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Law and promise exclude each other. The law knows nothing of grace. The law demands absolute obedience, as it’s only condition of justification.
The covenant with Abraham was an everlasting covenant, and its very principle was based upon a promise, not works; faith, not personal merit.
For those of us who are in Christ Jesus
For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, let us hear afresh the words of Paul regarding how the gospel forever impacted his life and the way that he lived.
2 Corinthians 5.14,15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Remember beloved, Christ bought you with a price to free you and me from being slaves to sin, self and the world. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
For those of you who have yet to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, we learned today that sin and the curse of the law are inseparable. Wherever sin is, there will be the ultimate consequence of sin, death. The penalty of the law is it’s dreadful curse- the sentence of death. Romans 6.23 The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Scripture declares, Acts 13.38-40 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you
Thus, the only way for sinners to be freed from the curse of the law and to be justified in the sight of God is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Embrace The Lordship of Jesus Christ today my friend.
Matthew 11.28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Come unto me. This is the call of the gospel. To whom is the invitation made?
Labor and heavy laden. Loaded, burdened with the guilt of sin and fear of judgment, which was only made worse by the legalistic teachings of the Pharisees.
Give you rest. Christ relieves the burden by saving from sin and guilt. There is a rest, which Jesus gives, and it is the rest of redemption. Isa 11.10 His rest shall be glorious
Take my yoke. The yoke was that wooden harness that they put upon the oxen so that they could pull the plow. Salvation is being yoked to Jesus Christ as one’s Lord, Master, and Teacher.
Learn of Me. This is another way of saying; grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We grow in Christ by reading His Word. Through prayer. As we grow in Jesus, we learn more and more that He is meek and lowly in heart.
My yoke is easy. The yoke of salvation is easy because The Lord Jesus Christ does all the work of salvation.
My burden is light. The burden is light because the weight of our salvation rests upon His shoulders. He carries us.