Galatians 3:15–29 (ESV)
The Law and the Promise
15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were
made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came
430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made,
and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the
promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under
the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has
come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There
is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Through Christ, God fulfills the promise He gave to Abraham. All united to Christ by Baptism become heirs of the promise and therefore are righteous before God. The Law, as between Moses
and Christ, still serves the good purpose of revealing sin and our need for a Savior. However, Christ does what the Law cannot do. He gives forgiveness and life.
I pray: Lord,
help us to see that in our congregation all are to be welcomed, whatever their background or place in life. Help us also to reach out to all with the message of Jesus’ love. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2008.
Galatians 3:10–14 (ESV)
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them
shall 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 hanged on a tree”— 14 so
that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Christ redeems us from the Law’s curse
by becoming a curse for us. One sin, no matter how trivial it may seem to us, makes us a transgressor of the whole Law and accountable to God (Jas 2:10). But Christ’s death on the cross releases us from the guilt of every transgression.
I pray: O Holy Spirit, continue to strengthen us in the new life of faith begun in our Baptism. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2007.
Galatians 3:1–9 (ESV)
By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me
ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did
you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just
as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
7 Know then that it is those of faith
who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So
then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
The Galatians’ experience (vv 1–5) and Scripture’s witness concerning Abraham
(vv 6–9) teach that all believers are heirs of Abraham, to whom faith “was counted … as righteousness” (v 6). Paul warns against being mesmerized by the foolish notion that salvation is completed by works of the Law. Those who see
the crucified Christ in faith, however, see their sins completely forgiven.
I pray: How blessed we are, Lord, to be the heirs of Your promises! Thank You for granting me faith through Your Word.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2007.
Galatians 2:15–21 (ESV)
Justified by Faith
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed
in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For
through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of
God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
With the incident with Peter as the backdrop, Paul presents the Epistle’s core theological argument: justification is by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law. Those who appeal to the Law in addition to Christ as a means of salvation make
His death meaningless—worse still, null and void. God’s Son loves us and gave Himself for us to free us from the Law’s condemnation.
I pray: O God,
our earthly life in Christ now has a high purpose, to live for You (2:19). Grant me full confidence in Christ Jesus, who alone can save me. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2006.
Galatians 2:11–14 (ESV)
Paul Opposes Peter
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles;
but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But
when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
For the sake of the truth of the Gospel, Paul publicly rebukes Peter for his hypocritical conduct, which communicates that the Gentiles must keep Jewish laws. The Word of God condemns hypocrisy (Mt 23:28; Lk 12:1;
1Pt 2:1; cf Lk 20:20). Yet this history shows that God is true to His promise of mercy toward sinners (1Co 1:9; 1Jn 1:9).
I pray: Lord, keep us from hypocrisy in our
thoughts, words, and actions. Affirm our freedom won by Christ. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2004.