Why Am I Saved?
What Does That Mean?

A Study of Galatians
Part Six

by David Chadwell

Background Overview Introduction -
Galatians 1:1-5
Section 1 -
Galatians 1:6-10
Section 2 -
Galatians 1:11-2:21
Section 3 -
Galatians 3:1-22
Section 4 -
Galatians 3:23-4:31
Section 5 -
Galatians 5 and 6

Section 3: Galatians 3:1-22

  1. You have been foolish enough to allow these people to "cast a spell" on you.

    1. When I taught you, you responded as if you actually could see Jesus' public execution by crucifixion.

      1. Please reflect on your decision to follow these Jewish teachers by answering my questions.

        1. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the commands of the Law or by having faith in what you heard about Jesus?

        2. If your spiritual life came into existence with the activity of the Holy Spirit, are you foolish enough to believe that the road to spiritual maturity is found in your physical acts?

        3. Becoming Christians resulted in suffering for you--did you suffer for no reason?

      2. The Divine One gives you the Holy Spirit and causes miracles to occur among you.

        1. Does that happen through human obedience to the Law or through faith in Christ?

        2. Does it happen because of your human acts or because of what you heard?

      3. Even Abraham, the forefather of these Jews who deceive you, was regarded to be righteous by God because he BELIEVED (Genesis 15:6).

        1. It is certain that the true descendants of Abraham are those who, like Abraham, trust God.

        2. Scripture itself predicted the God would justify people who were not Jews.

          1. That would occur through the good news about Jesus Christ.

          2. That is what scripture meant when it said, "ALL NATIONS will be blessed in Abraham" (Genesis 12:3).

        3. Those who respond to God through faith in Christ are blessed with the believing Abraham.

    2. Everyone who surrenders to the Law's acts of obedience places himself under a curse.

      1. The Law itself declared that the person was cursed who did not perfectly obey everything the Law commanded (Deuteronomy 27:26).

      2. It is impossible for the Law to make a person "right before God" (because no one can perfectly obey all the Law's commands).

      3. Even from Abraham's day, this has been true: those who are "right before God" live by faith [please note that they, like Abraham, live by faith, not merely declare that they believe].

        1. A person can obey the instructions of the Law without any faith.

        2. To obey the law, all that is required is to physically function, to practice the instructions.

    3. Christ redeemed [freed us from slavery] us from the Law's curse.

      1. Christ did that by becoming [by law] a curse on our behalf.

        1. The Law said, "A curse is on everyone who is hung on wood" [publicly displayed in or after death by having his/her body hung for the public to view] (Deuteronomy 21:23).

        2. Christ was willing through crucifixion to become a curse for our benefit.

          1. Because he did that, all people can benefit from the promise made to Abraham.

          2. Because he did that, people who are not Jews can benefit from Christ as certainly as can Jews.

        3. That is the reason that we can receive the Holy Spirit who was promised us if we had faith in Christ.

  2. Brothers in Christ, I challenge you to understand my point by considering a covenant agreement between two people.

    1. When two people make a covenant agreement, everyone knows that the following things are true:

      1. The agreement must be ratified.

      2. Once ratified, it cannot be changed or canceled.

      3. The conditions are firm (like our signed contracts).

    2. Please pay careful attention to the order of events.

      1. God made His covenant with Abraham.

        1. God gave His promise to Abraham to his SEED [singular] (Genesis 12:1-2;13:15;17:7.

        2. Please take note: the word translated "descendants" in some translations is literally translated "seed."

        3. The covenant promise was made to Abraham and his SEED.

        4. SEED referred to one person, not many persons.

        5. SEED specifically pointed to Christ.

      2. Paul said, "This is my point."

        1. The Law was given to Israel 430 years after God gave the covenant promise to Abraham.

        2. That Law did not invalidate God's covenant promise that was made 430 years earlier.

        3. That Law did not nullify God's promise made through His covenant with Abraham.

        4. That promise was an inheritance to be received.

          1. An inheritance is based on a promise, not law.

          2. The inheritance existed because of a promise made to Abraham.

      3. Does the mean that the Law had no purpose to serve?

        1. The Law was needed because of Israel's failure to follow God's purposes and will.

        2. Israel, the nation, was not like Abraham--Abraham trusted God and did as God instructed him to do.

        3. The Law had its origin in God, and both angels and Moses were mediators.

        4. It was to be in force until the SEED could come and make God's promise a reality.

      4. The meaning of verse 20 is unclear to us: the point was that the promise is superior to the Law.

      5. Does the Law oppose God's promise? Impossible!

        1. It did not oppose the promise, but it had a specific limitation.

        2. The Law could not give a person [spiritual] life.

        3. If the Law could make a person "right before God," then human righteousness would be based on Law instead of faith in Christ.

      6. Scripture confirms that all people are the prisoners of sin.

        1. Only through Christ can people be released from that prison.

        2. The promise given to Abraham said, "All families [nations] would be blessed through Abraham" (Genesis 12:3).

        3. Faith in Christ makes that promise reality.

David Chadwell

Galatians Study Guide (part 6)
Wednesday evening Bible class, 14 January - 3 June 1998
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1998
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
previous next section

Background Overview Introduction -
Galatians 1:1-5
Section 1 -
Galatians 1:6-10
Section 2 -
Galatians 1:11-2:21
Section 3 -
Galatians 3:1-22
Section 4 -
Galatians 3:23-4:31
Section 5 -
Galatians 5 and 6

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