Galatians 3

This devotional is written by Sarah Harris.

Galatians 3

Faith or works of the law
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain – if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’

7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’ 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’ 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The law and the promise
15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: the law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


How often do you try to do things in your own strength? In today's society, we glorify the grafters. We're inspired by those who work themselves to the bone, who do everything by themselves and never stop hustling. Don't get me wrong, those people can be really inspiring. But I sometimes wonder if this obsession with bone-wearying work can be a bit problematic.

The thing is,you don't always have to do things the hard way. You certainly don't have to when it comes to God. Of course, you could focus all your time, effort and energy on following every single rule perfectly. Just as a taste, that means things like never feeling angry. Never envying anything of anyone else's. Never letting a single lustful thought cross your mind.
But personally, I'd rather take Jesus' way. By dying on the cross, he paid for every single time we break any of the rules - in the past, present or the future. The only thing we have to do? Let Him.

Paul's letter to the Galatians comes from a place of frustration. Some of the Galatians had been slipping back into old ways, demanding adherence to old laws, such as circumcision. The thing is, by doing this, they were forgetting the huge price that Jesus paid on the cross – the price of sin. They were taking the hard way, hoping that their following of the rules would save them, rather than the faith way, accepting that Jesus had saved them. Those old laws had been helpful, acting as a guard for the people of Israel before Jesus' arrival. But once He arrived, He fulfilled the law – he basically took a big marker pen and ticked off all the 'must pay fors' on the sin list.

Do you find yourself obsessing over the rules? Do you really trust that Jesus has completely dealt with your sin? What does it feel like to know that everything on the 'must pay for' list has been ticked off already for you?

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