Understanding Galatians 3, a most difficult chapter in the Bible to understand

Fred R. Coulter—January 14, 2017

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Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Sabbath services! This will be more like a Bible study because we're going to go from the simple to the complex. We will start before the beginning. Note sermons in which this is covered:

  • Overview of Romans 1-6 (Special Services)
  • Meaning of "Law" in Romans 7-8 (Special Services)

Now I know that we have reviewed part of Romans again. But one of the things that's important to understand is that once you get into the details of things, which we have verse-by-verse in the book of Romans: sermon series Epistles of Paul to the Romans. Then you step back from it and then you get an overview.

One of the greatest problems of Protestantism is they don't understand the Bible or Paul or salvation, because they don't keep the Sabbath. There are two very important things to always remember:

  • the Sabbath—that put you in contact with God. That gives you understanding of His Word.
  • God's Word is understandable if we apply ourselves to it and if we love God and keep His commandments

The Protestants believe that if you keep the commandments you are under law. They missed one very important verse, which we'll get to in Rom. 2.

  • Rom. 1 tells us the condition of man and why man will never be able to understand God while he is in rebellion of God.
  • Rom. 2 talks about sin and repentance and that God is going to judge.

Protestants have this: no baptism, you just profess that you believe in Christ. If you do that with the emotion you have no substance to it. Of course, professing Christ is a first step, but you have to believe in the Father, you have to believe many things and you have to understand the New Testament. So, the first step is not a conclusion. It's like this:

A child learns how to ride a bicycle that would be likened to the beginning of conversion. Grown men know how to make and build many things and even go to the moon and back. Would you not say that's complicated? and That a child on a tricycle could never understand that? Likewise with us! We start out like the child on the tricycle we learn certain things from the Bible, but we have to learn them correctly.

In Rom. 2 God says this after showing that there is repentance, which comes from God. God grants repentance.

Romans 2:13: "Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God…" That's a key thing for anyone who is living in sin.

What is sin? The transgression of the Law! If you don't keep the 2nd and the 4th commandments you're violating all the Laws of God. You can never be justified before God while you live in sin. Repentance means stop sinning, confess your sins, turn around and go the way of God instead of the way of man.

Now then, does repentance have to happen before baptism? Yes! That's what Peter said; 'repent and be baptized.' What happens when you repent? You find out what sin is and you stop sinning! What's one of the first things you need to do? Keep the Sabbath!

I give brand-new people a test. If they don't understand, then I say to take a month, in some cases two months, and keep the Sabbath every week from Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown, and study about the Sabbath in other parts of the Bible. At the end of that time you'll understand why you need to keep the Sabbath. In 99% of the cases that's true.

What this tells us here is very important. Verse 13 is key to the whole thing: "Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God…" A person could hear a law.

What happens when the Protestants talk about Sabbath? They say, 'Well, it's on Sunday now. We keep all the rest of the Law.' But they don't read what James wrote, that if you breaking one point, you're breaking the whole Law! They don't understand what Paul wrote, that all sin starts with covetousness, which is lust in the carnal mind. They're not aware of any of these things.

  • What does it mean to be just before God? You are in right standing with God!
  • How do you get in right standing with God?

"…but the doers of the Law… [who have repented] …shall be justified" (v 13). What does this tell us?

  • you have to stop sinning
  • you have to start obeying
  • you have to be keeping the Law

Otherwise you have no forgiveness! Forgiveness is what brings justification. That's the whole story of Romans. What is the place of law and how are you justified. How are you forgiven?

Verse 14: "For when the Gentiles, which do not have the Law, practice by nature the things contained in the Law, these who do not have the Law are a law unto themselves."

Then Paul goes on to show that there some Gentiles the keep parts of the Law, and God acknowledges the part that they keep, even though He's not dealing with them. Then Paul talks about the Jew. The Jews say, 'We have the Law and we are circumcised,' but they're not in right standing with God. How do we understand that? We understand it this way: The only thing that can justify from sin is forgiveness by God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! That is separate from law, that's what's so important.

Let's see what Paul says concerning circumcision. Because with the covenant with Israel, being circumcised as a male on the eighth day, made you a member of the community. That does not have any standing with the spiritual operation of the plan of God. Because whenever there is a change in the Law it's from the physical standard to the higher standard. This is what Paul is bringing out here.

Verse 25: "For on the one hand, circumcision profits if you are observing the Law; on the other hand, if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if the uncircumcised is keeping the requirements of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision?" (vs 25-26).

Why? Because circumcision has been elevated to the requirement of the circumcision of the heart and mind, not in the flesh as Paul explains!

"…shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision? And shall not the uncircumcised, who by nature is fulfilling the Law, judge you, who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law?" (vs 26-27). Very interesting statement! Here's the key; here is what God wants.

  • Where does all sin begin? Right within the mind!
  • Can you solve the problem of sin without something happening within?

Remember when Jesus was talking to the Jews at the temple, and there were Jews who professed belief in Him. He said, 'If you don't believe that I am, you're going to die in your sins.' These were circumcised Jews who said, 'We're the children of Abraham.'

Listen carefully to what Jesus said. What did He tell them? You are of the seed of Abraham! But if you were the children of Abraham you would not seek to kill Me!' What is the difference?

  • unconverted are the seed
  • converted are the children

Is that not what we are to be? children of God? children of Abraham?

Verse 27: "And shall not the uncircumcised, who by nature is fulfilling the Law… [not breaking it, not putting it aside] …judge you… [a Jew] …who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law?"

Here is one of the most profound statements in the New Testament, v 28: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is external in the flesh"

What does an infant child growing up, or a man, even know about the eighth day experience of circumcision? Nothing! That was just in the flesh for the community.

Verse 29: "Rather, he is a Jew…" What did Jesus tell the woman at the well? Salvation is of the Jew! Which one?

"…he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God" (v 29). That's very profound to understand.

In the first part of Rom. 3, in review, shows the futility and evil of men. Has there ever been a time a real peace on earth? No! I've got a book called Langer's Encyclopedia of History. All it is a chronicle of war all the way through.

  • What kind of nature do we have as normal human beings that's described in the book of Romans?
  • What is a called? Carnal!
  • What does that consist of? Human nature!
  • What does that consist of? The law of sin and death!

To receive eternal life—and that's God's plan—as a human being what can you do to forgive your sins? Because only God forgives sins! Repentance is a start for God to forgive!

  • What work of what law blots out your sins? There's only one work and that's the sacrifice of Christ!
  • Can anything substitute for the sacrifice of Christ? No!

This is the whole substance of the first part of the book of Romans. Remember we're just taking an overview.

Romans 3:19: "Now then, we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Now let's put this together with Rom. 7:1. Can a man, invent a law that he can tell another person to do that forgives sin before God? Let's look at the Roman confession: You confess what you want to confess; you never tell all the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then the priest says to do 100 'hail Marys' and 100 'our fathers.' What happens if you miscount and only get 98? That can't do anything! So, the question is: Who is under the Law of God?

Romans 7:1: "Are you ignorant, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know law)… [all law ] …that the Law…"—the Law of God and every law concerning the operation of human existence.

"…rules over a man for as long a time as he may live?" (v 1). Every human being in the world is under law! That's why it says there in Rom. 3:19 that the whole world is guilty before God.

  • How did human beings get the Law of sin and death within them? That was part of the judgment against Adam and Eve when they sinned!
  • Who put it there? God did!
  • Is it inherited? Yes!
  • Who alone can remove it?
  • How does He remove it?
  • All at once? No! A bit at the time through conversion!

Everything about a human being operates by law, everything about your physical existence. It's dependent upon oxygen, which is a law God created. The number of times you breathe per minute, your heartbeat, your eyesight—everything about you—is governed by law.

  • What happens when you get sick? One of those laws is broken! The first notice of it is and the first measurement of it is temperature.
  • What's the first thing your mom did to you when you were a kid or when you go to the doctor's office? Take your temperature!

No one can live if the temperature goes above 106; I don't know what the lower number is, but I would assume it would be 90 or below. You can't live!

Same way with blood pressure, you need blood pressure to get blood all around your system. That's quite an amazing thing! Yesterday Jonathan and I were moving some furniture and he cut his finger and there was blood right on the end of the finger. How far away is that from the heart? A long way! How did it get there? Blood pressure! So, you put a band-aid on it.

God put the Law in there that if you cut yourself, automatically the body starts reacting and sends the coagulant that it generates within the system to make a scab and then it begins to heal. Well, I knocked my wrist, the same thing. So, I had to put a band-aid on that. A law was broken; a physical law.

  • How about spiritual laws? Spiritual laws involve the mind, the emotions and the body!
  • How do you correct those transgressions? By repentance!
  • How are they forgiven? Through the sacrifice of Christ!

Romans 3:20: "Therefore, by works of law…"

Verse 19: "…all the world may become guilty before God."

Every man and woman is under law! Protestants confuse being under law with keeping the commandments. No! Everybody's under law whether they keep the commandments or don't keep the commandments! That has nothing to do with spiritual salvation. Yet, because spiritual salvation involves repentance and then something else called baptism and a conversion of the mind, because all are in that condition:

Verse 20: "Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin." Now then, were going to understand this little more when we get to Galatians.

Verse 21: "But now… [after the sacrifice death and resurrection of Jesus Christ] …the righteousness of God…"

Righteousness is justification. If you have your sins forgiven upon repentance and you are in right standing with God, you stand before Him sinless through his righteousness, love and mercy. But you are not righteous in the sense that you are now loving God and keeping His commandments that comes after repentance and forgiveness.

There's no law that God has designed, there is no law that man has designed, which can justify you before God. It's that simple! Therefore, it has to be something of your whole being. Your heart, your mind, and your body, everything about you.

Verse 20: "Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (vs 20-21).

And you know it took me well over 20 years to understand that verse. Why? Because the King James, which was said, 'This is the most faithful translation there is,' says, 21 (KJV): "But now the righteousness of God without the Law…"

Separate from is different than without; 'without' tells you the absence of. This is were the Protestants go completely head over heels in cartwheels, because they don't grasp the point that the sacrifice of Christ is a spiritual operation separate from law-keeping. Law-keeping is required, you find it all the way through the Bible. Law-keeping for people in the world is 'the letter of the Law.' Do they become guilty before God if they commit sin? Yes—robbery, murder, mayhem—that's all sin before God!

Spiritually, for us, we are now not to have the commandments on a plaque hanging on the wall, as we have over here, which is fine nothing wrong with that. But where are they to be? In your heart and in your mind! That's how you have justification!

Instead of having something out here and it stays out there, you have it like from the Bible, the Word of God, then spiritually it is put into your mind and in your heart and we love God! So, the whole operation of forgiveness of sin and justification is separate from the Law and the Prophets. It's by:

  • repentance
  • forgiveness
  • baptism

Now we will look at some other things. Did we not see about the Gentiles that if they are fulfilling the Law they can be justified? No sinner can be justified without repentance and belief in the sacrifice of Christ and His shed blood! Paul answers the question:

Verse 31: "Are we, then, abolishing the Law through faith?…." Jesus said he didn't come to abolish the Law (Matt. 5:17-19).

"…MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing the Law" (v 31).

How do you establish law? By having it written in your heart and mind so it's the way that you operate—the way that you think—rather than having laws external, which are looking to avoid and not do. I hope that helps you understand it.

Christ died at the appointed time for sin (Rom. 5:6 [transcriber's correction]).

How was it and what is it that God requires that we do? Repent and be baptized! Were going to see how this applies when we get to Gal. 3.

There are two parties in a covenant, always. Both parties have to show the evidence of death. The Old Testament was sacrificial animal. That was that if you did not fulfill your word you would become like these dead animals. Furthermore, a covenant is never in force until there is a show of death. In the New Covenant we have that God's part in it is the death of Christ.

Think about what God gave up to become a human being for that to save through God's plan all of mankind that repent. That's why there was that death. We'll just review that a little bit later. Now then, what is our part in it? Once we come to God and say:

  • Lord God, forgive my sins
  • I've really been a terrible person
  • I've broken Your Law
  • I've done this
  • I've done that
  • I've done the other thing
  • I've ruined my life
  • I've ruined family

Whatever it may be!

How do I get myself squared around? God's says, 'Okay I'll help you. But I provided Christ to blot out your sins. What are you going to do? I tell you what I require. This is My faith to you that your sins are forgiven with the death of Christ. What is your faith back to Me?' Because it takes two parties to make covenant valid.

Rom. 6—Baptism is very simple but profound in its meaning. It is a show of death. It is a commitment unto death; a pledge unto death. Just like if you have animal sacrifices, that's a pledge if I don't fulfill it, I'll be like these animals. So, likewise we pledge our death! What does God do with that when we are baptized?

This is a distinct thing to remove you from under law to within Christ, and within law and the keeping of the commandments of God spiritually through the Spirit of God. That is what baptism is all about. So, Paul says this:

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound?"

Grace is the description of our covenant with God after baptism. He's given us direct access to God the Father and Jesus Christ in heaven above. That's grace! People in the world don't have it. Only those with the Spirit of God are under grace! Now they think that if they've asked Jesus to forgive them for their sins and they're not baptized and are in this particular church and they're Sunday-keeping… They don't realize that they are continuing to live in sin and this is why they have a tremendous dropout rate in churches. There is no conversion or real lasting change. So, Paul says:

Verse 2: "MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin…" That's what baptism is all about, a pledge, a solemn pledge of your life unto death that you're not going to live in sin.

"…how shall we live any longer therein? Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (vs 2-3)—joined in covenant.

The Indians used to have a covenant pledge where you make a deal and you promise you'll fulfill it. Cut the hands and you join blood. Each one is saying, 'I'm guaranteeing my death if I don't do it.'

Christ has already died; He's already done that first. So, when we're baptized, were baptized into His death! We are pledging our future death if we are not faithful to the end.

That's why only the blood of Christ can forgive sin and bring us into this covenant relationship with God. Nothing else can do it. Granted, in the world there people who keep parts of God's Law like Paul said. That's fine, that's well and good. God is happy; God is glad when any society is at least reasonable and decent.

Sidebar: A report comparing childrearing in Japan to America is really a different thing. Do you know what the Japanese teach them the first three years in school? Ethics 't anyone get all mad at Donald Trump if he says to ban Muslims. They cannot come into the country to stay. They cannot live, they cannot take up citizenship of that country! Do they have peace in their society? Did they learn the lesson of WWII? Let's put it that way. Look at how bad they were. Yes! That's out in the world. How are we to be?

Verse 4: "Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death…"—that's how it is in the Greek. Christ's death was the death the only single One to pay for all human sin, because He was Creator of all human beings. He took that death upon Himself because He judged all human beings beginning with Adam and Eve to be burdened with 'the law of sin and death' because of disobedience.

"…so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death…" (vs 4-5).

That is quite a thing! That is spiritual and legal terminology of being conjoined, because a covenant death is important. Why am I making this point again so hard? Because that's the whole key to understanding Galatians! You cannot understand it, and you cannot understand:

Verse 12: "Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof." This also tells us that we are to be in an attitude of repentance. Can the carnal mind without the Spirit of God and with out the Laws of God being written in their heart and mind, stop from sinning? No!

"…by obeying it in the lusts thereof. Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead… [because you died in the watery grave of baptism] …and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not rule over you…" (vs 12-14).

  • Why? You still have 'the law of sin and death,' but it won't rule over you!
  • Why? Because as God writes His laws and commandments in your heart and mind, it also with this power of the Spirit of God gives you the strength to overcome from within to recognize sin!

To say, 'Oh no!' Then what you do? You repent of it, and God cleans you up again! The whole process of conversion and being perfected is through the power of God's Spirit and grace.

Verse 14: "For sin shall not rule over you…" That means sin is still there. But it is not to be your master. Lust is not to be your commander.

"…because you are not under law, [out in the world] but under grace… [covenant relationship with God] …What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? MAY IT NEVER BE!" (vs 14-15).

Then he goes on to show that you need to yield to God. For Rom. 7 see sermon Meaning of "Law" in Romans 7-8 (Special Services).

We understand that no law that man can make or that God has given can forgive sin. But you must be obedient upon repentance to keep the Law in order to have your sins forgiven. That is just completely the opposite as the Protestants.

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I've done three reviews of Romans, there's a reason that I did it. So that we can have it clear in mind:

  • under law are all human beings in the world with no relationship with God
  • under grace is having a direct relationship with God through:
  • repentance
  • baptism
  • loving God
  • obeying God
  • receiving His Holy Spirit

This is what Jesus meant when He said, 'Enter in at the narrow or straight gate, for difficult is the way that leads to life and few are those that find it. But broad is the way that the majority of the people go and many go and many go in at that gate.' That's the difference.

  • under law in the world
  • under grace with God's Spirit or relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ

We're going to do an overview, and let's start with Abraham. We're not going to be turning to many Scriptures. I'll be referring to some of them because we've gone over those, too. This is much like how we need to approach and understand Gal, 3, the most difficult chapter in the book of Galatians.

Remember the covenant of Abraham in Gen. 15, 'You're going to have a son from your own loins.' Then God took him outside and showed him all the stars in heaven and said, 'If you can number the stars so shall your seed be.' We have two elements of God's plan; two elements from that one covenant. And remember, once a covenant is made, you can't add to it or take away from it!

God had to establish several sub covenants in order to fulfill His promise concerning the physical children. We find in Gen. 17 that that's when God gave the promise that Isaac would be born and he would be the father of many nations and Sarah would become the mother of nations and kings, and so forth.

Then we come to the birth of Isaac a year later, and when Isaac was 15-years-old we have Gen. 22, the second half of the covenant of Gen. 15. The first half of the covenant is what God did in pledging His death. In both cases there had to be a pledge of death in order for those covenants to be fulfilled and a pledge of death by God in order to terminate the one with Israel. That's what Rom. 7 is about.

What was Abraham told to do? Take your son your only son whom you love… Though Ishmael was a descendent of Abraham through Hagar, he's not counted in the promise. God said to Abraham to take Isaac out and offer him for burnt offering. This was to test Abraham. I mean, all of God's plan from that time forward hinged on what he and Isaac would do!

When Abraham built the altar, tied up Isaac, laid the wood, put him on it ready to offer him as a sacrifice, God provided a substitutionary sacrifice through a lamb. Much like when we enter into covenant with God, Christ has done the first half. We have to do the second half; our death in baptism is symbolic, but literal. It is a quick death, because you're dying to sin;but pledging that if you live in sin you're going to die. So, after Abraham did that we have something really tremendous that took place, which is this:

All the places where God shows His power and His promise, He verifies it by the heaven and the earth. Even Jesus said of His Word, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall never pass away.'

What did God say after Abraham offered Isaac but God intervened to rescue him? 'Now I know that you fear Me!' Then He said, 'I swear by Myself!' That's greater than the heavens and the earth—think on that—because God created the heavens and the earth! When He swears by Himself there can be no greater pledge than what He promised He will fulfill! That becomes very important. That also means that He would fulfill to the coming of Christ for the sacrifice to forgive sin. That He would fulfill that the spiritual seed would be like the stars of heaven. This plan was proposed by God before the creation of the world.

Here we have something very important concerning Abraham. Remember what happened, we'll just review a little bit here the first part of Galatians.

Let's talk about what Paul said concerning perverting the Gospel. We'll just review this again, because this is so important. The false prophets who come within the Church of God, come with Judaism practices, or a minister who says, 'I had a dream…' Remember Deut. 13, that if a prophet comes along and says, 'I had a dream…' if he doesn't keep the commandments of God or if he's exalting himself it's not from God!

Galatians 1:6: "I am astonished that you are so quickly being turned away from Him Who called you into the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which in reality is not another Gospel; but there are some who are troubling you and are desiring to pervert the Gospel of Christ" (vs 6-7).

How do you do that? One of the major ways that comes along is:

  • attacking the Passover
  • attacking the Sabbath
  • attacking the Holy Days

Always remember that Satan is the most clever and cunning of all! He starts out with just a little bit. How do you think they got crosses into the churches? 'Well, we need to identify who we are. Why don't we put a cross up because Christ died on the cross! What does it say about leaven? A little leaven leavens the whole lump!

What is the perversion? It can be anything! The leader saying, 'I'm the only apostle in the world.' We've gone through that. Whatever it may be. Saying that you have to do this man-made tradition or law in order to be saved.

Verse 8: "But if we, or even an angel from heaven…" That's all the apostles or an angel from heaven.

Remember why I went back to 1-Kings 13? God sent this prophet to go witness against Ahab, and he did. But then a false prophet came and said, 'An angel told me that I can invite you in to eat.' But the instructions to that prophet was that:

  • you're not to eat
  • you're not to drink
  • you're to go
  • you're to do what I said and come back a different way
  • you're not to stop and eat or anything

What happened to that prophet that God sent to witness against Ahab and his arm and the destruction of the altar and everything like that?

Whatever God says do not modify it for convenience of human nature. There may be some judgments that need to be made, but as far as what God has said never, never, never change that; only He can. What did Jesus say about the Gospel that He preached? They are Spirit and Life! He said, 'The flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak to you they are Spirit and they are Life.'

That's why the condemnation here is so great, v 8: "But if we, or even an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel to you that is contrary to what we have preached, LET HIM BE ACCURSED!" No salvation! He repeats it again in v 9.

What happened here with Peter and the Jews in Gal. 2? What were they doing? They were perverting the Gospel of Christ by bringing in a law of Judaism, which demanded separation between the Jews and the Gentiles! The Jews thought they are more righteous and more justified if they do it, and Paul said, 'You are sinning against God, and that you Jews ought to know that a man is not justified by works of law.' What was that work of law? Separation, man-made perversion of the Gospel! So, Paul said if you do that, you're against Christ.

Galatians 2:16: "Knowing that a man is not justified by works of law…"—not "the work of the law" (KJV). That's a bad translation out of the King James and unfortunately there are people who still use King James. If you have that scratched out in your King James do it. Scratch out the for works and the for law, because it's not there in the Greek.

"…works of law, but through the faith of Jesus Christ…" (v 16). The whole operation of His coming:

  • living in the flesh
  • preaching the Gospel
  • dying through crucifixion
  • being in a grave three days and three nights
  • being resurrected from the dead
  • returning to the earth
  • teaching the Apostles

"…through the faith" and you believed in that!

"…we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ…" (v 16)—Christ's own faith!

He came to forgive sin, to justify sin, and nothing else can do it but His death and His shed blood, and He did that by faith. I might give a sermon, What was the Agreement Between God the Father and Jesus Christ? It says that 'it's written in the Scroll of the Book concerning Me' (Heb. 10). Remember Dan. 10:21? That the angel came to revealed to Daniel what was 'written in the Scripture of Truth in heaven.'

Think of that! How much of everything that's in the Bible here was already recorded in heaven long before. Amazing! "…the faith of Jesus Christ…" So, if you think a work of law will forgive your sins before God and put you in right standing with God, then what you are doing is denying the coming, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His shed blood. That's what Paul is saying here.

"...we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ… [Christ faith in us and His faith to do what He did] …and not by works of law… [not the work of the law, plural] …because by works of law shall no flesh be justified…. [no one] …Now then, if we are seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves are found to be sinners,… [which Peter and the Jews were] …is Christ then the minister of sin?.…" (vs 16-17).

You can tie in there other things. What agreement is there between God and idols? None!
"...MAY IT NEVER BE! For if I build again those things that I destroyed… [because Paul was a leading one in Judaism] …I am making myself a transgressor. For I, through law, died to works of law… [the wages of sin is death, so he died] …in order that I may live to God" (vs 17-19)—Rom. 6, we just covered that. Come up out of the watery grave and 'walk in newness of life.'

Verse 20: "I have been crucified with Christ…" Notice that. That's quite a statement! How does he say it in Rom. 6? We been conjoined to His death! What are we to do to overcome flesh? Crucify the flesh!

"…yet, I live. Indeed, it is no longer I; but Christ lives in me. For the life that I am now living in the flesh, I live by faith—that very faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness is through works of law, then Christ died in vain" (vs 20-21). Anyone can write any law and claim that this makes you right with God.

Now we're ready for Galatians 3. All of this is leading up to here. It's kind of like this: Remember the little kid on a tricycle who becomes the astronaut to go to the moon? How much did he have to learn through all those years of learning and studying and putting it together before he could say, 'All right, I'm willing to do this. I understand how it's going to happen. I will, if everything works, come back.'

Galatians 3:1: "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…" Very interesting terminology. Who has enticed you with hypnotic words, would be another way of putting it.

"…into not obeying the Truth…" (v 1). What is the Truth? The whole Gospel, plus the fact that nothing can forgive sin except the sacrifice of Christ, which was done through His faith and the faith of the Father. This next sentence is really very interesting, very profound. I remember the first time I understood it going through the Greek. I'll tell you about it.

"…before whose eyes Jesus Christ, crucified, was set forth in a written public proclamation?" (v 1). That's not what the King James says. But why did I put "…written public proclamation"? Because the root of this word is 'graphe' meaning writing. What does that do to those who say they had oral tradition for 300 years before they wrote anything down? How can we trust the New Testament? Well, what we'll do we'll readjust it according to our thoughts and our age.

I gave sermons on the Jesus Seminar also on Church at Home {churchathome.com} all about that. How they want to do away with Christ. That's why God put it in writing.
Sidebar on Bibles again: There's a website called Faith Comes by Hearing {faithcomesbyhearing.com}. They are reading, because there are over 1000 languages that people speak that do not have any form of the Bible, and most of them are just verbal, they do not have much of a written language. They're translating it into those languages. Combined with that, they have a separate solar player, digital, that they put in there the reading of various versions of the Bible and it has a little solar panel on the top.

So, anywhere in the world you put it out there and get the power, and whatever your language is that no one else in the world knows, in its small number of people, you play it and you hear the Word of God. When you consider that all of the various smart phones, dumb phones, computers, whatever… And just on smart phones alone there are over one-billion people that have a version of the Bible on their phone!

I want you to take how great God is. Now these people who are doing it, there dedicated to God and I'm sure God is helping him do it, because God said that 'this Gospel—before the end—shall be preached in all the world to all nations.' Didn't leave out any. Maybe the penguins in Antarctica. 'And then the end shall come.'

He also said in the book of Mark, 'and this Gospel shall be published.' Why is one of the most desired books, yet, one of the most hated books, one of the most condemned books in the world, the most popular book and everyone is going to have a copy available to them, especially if they put it on their phone? How close can you get the Word of God to you? So, you better keep your batteries charged up.

I thought that was interesting with that player, a nice little solar panel right on the top. So they have different ones translating into the native languages. How about that? "…a written public proclamation"! Amazing! When I read that I thought, boy that's fantastic. I was reading about how some of these theologians were saying, well it was all transmitted orally. Written!

Verse 2: "This only I desire to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit of God by works of law…"

Yes, go to Jerusalem 100 times in your lifetime and you'll receive the Holy Spirit of God. Be circumcised in the flesh and you'll receive the Holy Spirit of God. Separate yourself from the Gentiles, you'll receive the Holy Spirit of God. No!

"…or by the hearing of faith?" (v 2). What also has to happen with that? If you hear with faith and you desire it, then God has seven spirits under the control of Jesus Christ. What do they do? They're sent forth into the whole world seeking those who are seeking God! That will come with you,  and if you continue in the desire then that's the thing that made you do and me do, what everyone does, when they first come to the knowledge of the Truth. God is dealing with us.

"…or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit…" (vs 2-3). To repentance and baptism receiving the Holy Spirit of God. Believing the Gospel.

"...are you now being perfected in the flesh?" (v 3)—by fleshly means! Let's sit in a different area of the building, so we don't have to sit near these Gentiles. To have Peter, one of the leading apostles, do it. Think of the impact that would have had on the Church if Paul hadn't corrected him.

Verse 4: "Have you suffered so many things in vain, if indeed it has been in vain? Therefore, consider this: He Who is supplying the Spirit to you, and Who is working deeds of power among you… [through prayer and through healing and things like that] …is He doing it by works of law or by the hearing of faith? It is exactly as it is written: 'Abraham… [now you know why I went to Abraham] …believed God…'" (vs 4-6). Well, that's quite a statement.

  • What is the difference between believing in God or that there is a God, and believing God?
  • Did Abraham obey God?
  • Why were the promises passed to Isaac?
  • Because Abraham obeyed My voice, kept My charge My commandments My statutes and My Law (Gen. 26:5)!

He believed God. So, what it is believe, you believe and trust in Him and you do what He says because God said to do it.

"…and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.'.… [or right standing with God] …Because of this, you should understand that those who are of faith are the true sons of Abraham" (vs 6-7).

What was it that he believed God that was so profound? God said, 'Look at the stars and if you can number them so shall your seed be,' and Abraham believed that God would do that. Everything else flows from there.

Verse 7: "Because of this, you should understand that those who are of faith are the true sons of Abraham. Now in the Scriptures, God seeing in advance that He would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed'" (vs 7-8).

When did He give that promise? When he was circumcised? or uncircumcised? Before he was circumcised!

Verse 9: "It is for this reason that those who are of faith are being blessed with the believing Abraham." Isn't that interesting how God puts it this way. Constantly going on now. Here's the comparison.

Verse 10: "For as many as are relying on works of law…" That's contrary to the commandments of God. These are works of men's laws.

"…are under a curse…" (v 10). Why? Because works of law do not forgive sin, nor can they replace the sacrifice of Christ.

"…because it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that have been written in the Book of the Law to do them'" (v 10).

Now that's another one of these very difficult verses here. Protestants believe the Law is a curse. No! There is the curse of the Law because of disobedience.

Can we, today, do everything written in the Book of the Law? No! There is no temple. Yet, Jesus said, 'Man shall live by every Word of God.' How can you justify this when it says, 'cursed it is everyone who does not do all things written in the Book of the Law to do them'? Because when the Gospel came, all the laws were raised to a higher level:

  • a spiritual level
  • a spiritual circumcision of the heart and mind
  • a spiritual keeping of the Law within

Jesus said, 'You've heard it said in ancient times you shall not commit adultery. I tell you don't look on a woman to lust after her because you've already committed adultery in your heart.' That's not written in the Book of the Law. Anything short of murder or anything short of adultery would not be murder or adultery.

Now we have a higher standard to live by then just by the Book of the Law. Can you go to the temple to offer sacrifices? No! God took it away! That's where Judaism really gets all wrapped up in its own self, because they reject Christ. What they did they took all their oral traditions and after the temple was destroyed they made the Mishnah and the other writings that they have of their traditions so that they could make each individual in his own life as pure as a priest. That's impossible to do, and this is what Judaism was bringing in to the Galatians.

Now then, this is why Protestants come here and read this and say, 'Therefore we don't have to keep the Law.' This does not mean that at all. This means that the things written in the Book of the Law, which apply to the physical covenant between God and Israel, cannot be fulfilled in the New Covenant! If you tried to, you must do all of it, or what you are doing is absolutely in vain.

Verse 11: "Therefore, it is evident that no one is being justified before God by means of works of law…" It's only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His shed blood, which is separate from the Law and Prophets.

"…because it is written, 'The just shall live by faith'" (v 11). Not external actions of law that you can do. In other words, it has to be by:

  • loving God
  • praying to God
  • studying the Word of God
  • living by the Word of God

All of those things put us into relationship with God.

What happens when you have the laws and commandments of God written in your heart and in your mind? When you begin to sin, you're alerted. Shouldn't do that, and you stop it!

This is why there's repentance every day. Because God, and we'll project forward a little bit here, God is cleansing the mind and the heart with the washing of the water by the Word! That's a completely different thing then having a religion with rituals and exercises and idols and things like this. I hope you grasp that.

Verse 12: "Now then, the Law is not based on faith; but, 'The man who practices these things shall live in them.' Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law…" (vs 12-13). He has not redeemed us from the Law. Very important to understand, because that's the way Protestants read it.

"…having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree') in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (vs 13-14).

I hope you all grasp it! This part of the Galatians is the most difficult to handle, especially if you are new. Especially if you're just starting to keep the Sabbath Day, and you think that 'if I can't do everything you're cursed.'

Your relationship with God is by belief in Christ and keeping the commandments of God from the heart through loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and being!

How many Jews today keep the Sabbath? Well the majority of them reject it, because it didn't do anything for them, because they didn't accept Christ. But those who do, what does it do for them? Very little! It's like milk comes with two substances: milk and cream. So, if you separate out all the cream and you drink skim milk, you only have half the value. If you get all the cream and do things with the cream you don't get the benefit of the milk. So likewise, you can't take half and expect the results of a whole.

Jack and I were talking about hamburger. What does that have to do this? He said that hamburger today doesn't really taste like hamburger. Why? Because they don't grow the beef the way that they should! They don't take care of it the way that they ought to. So, I suggested, get good beef and have them grind it up and make it ground round for you, or ground chuck for you, right on the spot. And some of these hamburger outlets they put in 10% soybean flavored like beef.

This is difficult to understand, especially if you are just beginning to understand the Bible, and then someone takes you immediately to Galatians. Closes everything down.

What we need to do, I know there are a lot of political things going on, but we'll just have to wait and see how those develop. We won't get into those. But just one interesting thing, the inauguration is on Friday, January 20, and Donald Trump said himself that they are going to have all day church services on Saturday! He said that! It's been deleted from the news. Very interesting!

Maybe the hand of God is there in a way for the nation that we don't understand. But if that's the case and things do improve and there's more time, then we better be about really preaching the Word of God and growing and developing the best we can individually and together.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 2:13-14, 25-29
  • Romans 3:19
  • Romans 7:1-
  • Romans 3:20, 19-21, 31
  • Romans 6:1-5, 12-15
  • Galatians 1:6-8
  • Galatians 2:16-21
  • Galatians 3:1-14

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 1
  • Matthew 5:17-19
  • Romans 5:6
  • Romans 7
  • Genesis 15; 17; 22
  • Deuteronomy 13
  • 1-Kings 13
  • Galatians 1:9
  • Hebrews 10
  • Daniel 10:21
  • Genesis 26:5

Also referenced:


  • Overview of Romans 1-6 (Special Services)
  • Meaning of "Law" in Romans 7-8 (Special Services)

Sermon Series Epistles of Paul to the Romans

Book: Langer's Encyclopedia of History

FRC: po/bo
Transcribed: 2/16/17

Copyright 2017—All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes, no part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. This includes electronic and mechanical photocopying or recording, as well as the use of information storage and retrieval systems.