Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Galatians 3: 18-29
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he defends his inclusion of Gentiles who shared Abrahams faith. There were those Jews who did not accept this teaching. Some of the Jews believed that new converts must become Jewish in order to follow Jesus . Paul taught that anyone who lives by faith in Christ are recipients of the promise.
1 THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW (Galatians 3: 18-22)
Paul here argues that observance of the Jewish law was not a requirement to be accepted into the Christian community. He says that these are justified by faith, not by works of the law. He establishes that one does not come into the promised inheritance by keeping the law. The promise is part of the Abrahamic covenant, not the Mosaic law. God gave the law for them to see that sin is contrary to his will. The law was a temporary system until the arrival of the promised offspring. The law was compromised because Moses received it through a mediator in the form of an angel, Abraham received the promise directly from God. Paul maintains that the law did not oppose God’s promise but the law could not save them from death in that the law could not prevent them from sinning. He concludes that the law had imprisoned them under the power of sin. The only way to be released from under the power of sin is through faith in Jesus Christ.
2 THE COMING OF FAITH (vv. 23-29)
It is here that Paul contends that before faith came, the law was as a custodian or a guardian over the Jewish people. With faith, they were no longer in need of a custodian, they were now children of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, full heirs of the promise, not by birth but by faith, being baptized in Christ, which affords them the status of Abraham’s off spring. Baptism was a sign of inclusion into God’s covenant family for women as well as men, social economical, racial, gender, native born, non native born. They are all one in Christ Jesus, Abraham’s off spring and heir to the promise.
Society as a whole has difficulties with acceptance of those who are different. There are more times than not undo expectations put on those who are different, we tend to exclude them with tangible and intangible prejudice.
Paul’s contention here in the lesson to the Galatians and to the reader today is that faith in Christ eliminates and discards the perception of exclusion in the Christian faith and Christian community, all are welcome without legalistic absurdity .
“FREEDOM AND THE LAW”
Rev. J. H. Eskridge