Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


Galatians was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Chapter Three
(Lesson Three - 3:1-29)


We come now to the doctrinal section of the book of Galatians, (chapter 3 & 4). Of course all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, (chapters 3 & 4) seem to contain a heavy concentration of New Testament truth, thereby, these two chapters have become a spiritual battle ground. Paul in chapter three, explains the relationship between law and grace. Three words are repeated: faith (14 times), law (19 times), and promise (11 times).

In chapter three Paul presents three arguments, seeking to prove salvation and justification by faith, through faith, apart from the Old Testament Law.


I. The Personal Argument - (3:1-5)

Paul's first appeal is made to their knowledge of their own experience, although not foolproof, Paul asks, "What happened to you when you got saved?" "Did you receive the Spirit by keeping the Law or was it by an administration of the grace of God?"

It is interesting here to note that almost all of the "New Bibles" eliminate the phrase in verse one "that ye should, not obey the truth". Who would want that out?

In verse four Paul asks them, "You have suffered so much for your stand for Christ, you received the Spirit by hearing of the Word of God, are ye now going to revert back to the Law? What was it all worth?"

A very important question is asked in verse three, "You've begun in the Spirit, now are you going to continue in the flesh?" In other words, the Law is flesh. Romans 8 teaches that the Spirit continues the work of grace and fulfills the demands of the law in us.

Paul concludes the personal argument by asking the Galatians: "This man (or men) who are bewitching you (vs. 1), does he minister by the Spirit by grace or law?"

II. The Old Testament Argument - (3:6-14)

A. (Verses 6-7) - Paul quotes (Gen. 15:6) "How was Abraham saved?" More precisely "How was righteousness imputed to Abraham?" Although Abraham received his imputed righteousness as we have, by faith, Abraham was justified by his works. (Ja. 2:21,24) Abraham was justified by works (Gen. 22). We are justified by the works of Christ (Rom. 4:2, 5:1).

B. (Verses 8-9) - Paul quotes (Gen. 18:18). God Promised to bless the nations through Abraham. The gospel of verse 8 certainly is not the gospel of grace preached-today, for even the apostles did not understand the gospel fully until (Acts 15). What Peter preaches in (Acts 2 and 3:19) is not the gospel preached today. The point is the promise of (Gen. 18) was given before the Law and will be fulfilled without the Law!

C. (Verse 10) quotes (Deut. 27:26). Paul points out that those who are under the Law are under a curse. James tells us that if we offend the Law in one point we are guilty of the whole Law. (See Jer. 11:3; Deut. 28: 61) .

D. (Verse 11 quotes Habakkuk 2:4)... in part. The word "his" is eliminated.

[1]. Faith in the Old Testament is manufactured by the individual - (Heb. 11:1-30) it is attributed to him as part of his own doing.

[2]. The personal element enters because salvation under the Law is a combination of faith and works - (Ja. 2,3; Rom. 10: 15).

[3]. Faith in the New Testament is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8,9; Gal. 2:20) and not even the faith exercised can be called a work - (Rom. 10:16).

E. (Verse 12) quotes (Lev. 18:5). There is a vast difference between doing and believing. Nobody was ever saved by doing the Law because no one ever could fully obey the Law.

F. (Verses 13-14 quotes Deut. 21:23). The point being Christ became a curse, he bore the curse of the Law himself (1 Pet. 2:24) so that Abraham's promises might be bestowed by faith without the Law. The promise was made without qualification of the Law, and Jesus did away with the Law anyway!

III. The Logical Argument

Paul compares the Law to a human contract. When two people make a contract (Abraham & God), it is illegal for a third party to step in (Moses, the Law) and nullify the contract. God made a contract with Abraham long before the Law was given to Moses. The Law of Moses could never cancel the promise or contract given to Abraham. The Mosaic Law was not a new way of salvation that canceled God's promise to Abraham. The Judaizers would retort, "Why did God give the Law?"


[1]. The Law was temporary, given to the Jews (3:19,20) Rom. 2:14; Acts 15:24 makes it clear that the Law was not given to the Gentiles. The Gentiles had the moral law written on their hearts. (Rom. 2:15)

[2]. The Law convicted of sin and was never designed to save. "It was added because of transgressions" Given until the seed (Christ) should come. The Law shows that I am in desperate need of grace. The Law forces the sinner to trust in the grace of God!

[3]. The Law prepared the way for Christ. Those that have not come to Christ remain under the Law. The Law is a schoolmaster or a teacher. (vs. 24,25)

The Law kept the Jews "in line" so to speak but through the course of the history of that infant nation, their sin and idolatry only proved that no one could keep the Law.

The man who exercises faith, receives the Holy Spirit as part of a spiritual inheritance, that was promised to Abraham and began with his justification.

The question is then, "Why would keeping the Law perfect that which was already accomplished for you?"

"O foolish Galatian..."

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