The Book of Galatians-Chapter 3

(1) You foolish (not understanding, unwise) Galatians, who has bewitched (to slander, to lead away through wicked arts) you that you should not obey the truth (Torah-Psa 119.142), before whose eyes Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach) was publically portrayed crucified (not literally, but through Paul’s teaching). (2) This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit (the Shekinah presence; alludes to the two covenants-Gal 4.24) by works of law (no “the” in Greek- he has ritual circumcision of the School of Shammai in mind -Gal 2.16) or by hearing by faith (emunah=confidence, action). (3) Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit (Shekinah), are you now being perfected by the flesh (in this case ritual circumcision of the School of Shammai)? (4) Did you suffer so many things in vain (reproaches and afflictions)-if indeed it was in vain? (5) Does he then (God), who provides you with the Spirit (Ruach ha Kodesh) and works miracles among you (a manifestation of the Spirit; the purpose of a miracle is to draw your  attention to what a person is teaching), do it by works of  law (no “the” in Greek) or by hearing with faith (emunah)? (6) Even so Abraham (who the false teachers from the School of Shammai glorified in) believed God (before he was circumcised) and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Gen 15.16). (7) Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith that are sons of Abraham. (8) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel (basar) beforehand to Abraham (the gospel didn’t start with Yeshua, it predated him- Isa 40.9-11; Isa 49.4; 52.7; 61.10; 62.10-11) saying “all the nations shall be blessed in you” (Gen 12.3). (9) So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham (not through ritual circumcision but through his seed Yeshua) the believer. (10) For as many as are of works of law ( no “the” in Greek) are under a curse for it is written, “Cursed is every one who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the Law to perform them” (in other words, if you are going to keep the law for salvation and righteousness, even breaking one law causes you to lose it anyway. So, how far would trying to keep a man-made law like ritual circumcision get you, something the Lord didn’t even require. You can’t earn righteousness by keeping God’s Law, or man’s). (11) Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for “the righteous man shall live by faith” ( Hab 2.4-you see, the Torah taught that you could not gain righteousness through works, but that didn’t mean you didn’t keep what the Lord commanded). (12) However, the law is not of faith (or separate from it. Faith existed before the Torah. “Pistis” (faith in Greek) and “nomos” (law in Greek) are not rival jurisdictional concepts. James said “faith without works is dead-James 2.26- and he said “if a man says that he has faith, but has no works, can that faith save him”-James 2.14- He says “I will show you my faith by my works”-James 2.18. So, even though you don’t earn salvation and righteousness by works, they go together with people who have true faith. Paul is not saying you don’t follow the Torah here, because he observed it-Acts 21.24); on the contrary, “he who practices them shall live by them.” (13) Christ redeemed (paid the price) us from the curse of the law (death and hell) having become a curse for us-for it is written “Cursed is every one who hangs on a tree” (14)  in order that in Christ Jesus (Yeshua ha Mashiach) the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit (the Shekinah) through faith (of Yeshua, not by a single act or a series of faithful acts by us). (15) Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. (16) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and his seed (our destiny depends on who we are related to, the seed of the serpent or the seed of the woman- Gen 3.15, John 8.44. Messiah is our “federal head” and the promise is unconditional- a done deal, finished). He does not say, “and to seeds,” as to many but to one “And to your seed,” that is Christ (Messiah). (17) What I am saying is this, the Law which came four hundred and thirty years later (after Abraham), does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise (so the teaching that the “new” covenant nullifies the Torah is untrue). (18) For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. (19) Why the law then? It was added because of transgression having been ordained by angels (Deut 33.2) by the agency of a mediator (Moses-Deut 5.5) until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made (Yeshua-Gen 3.15; Gen 15). (20) Now, a mediator is not for one, whereas God is one (Deut 6.4). (21) Is the law then contrary to the promises of God (No, as long as one does not look to it as a source of life)? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law (and that includes ritual circumcision that believers from the School of Shammai were trying to impose on the Galatians to be saved). (22) But the Scripture has shut up men under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach) might be given to those who believe. (23) But before the (“the” present in Greek) faith came we were kept in custody under the law (because we broke it) being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. (24) Therefore, the law (means teaching) has become our tutor to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (Paul uses “paidagogos” for tutor here. This was a guardian over children in the Greek and Roman world. A paidagogos was usually a slave who served as disciplinarian and guardian of the master’s children until they reached maturity. Now, there is a “dual nature” to the Torah. At first, the Torah served a judicial role (under the law) in that it was our custodian (tutor) until we became believers. By calling us sinners and demanding our death, the law had us “under arrest” and the knowledge of it’s high standards increases our moral awareness and responsibility for our sins. No one has an excuse. But, when we become believers (mature), this role as custodian (tutor/paidagogos) is abolished and the Torah takes on an educational role, revealing what God’s way of life for us is to be. It not only plainly tells us through his commandments, judgments, statutes and laws, but it implies other instruction through the historical accounts as well. The Torah no longer demands our death because we are “not guilty” before the Lord. The record of our sins has been blotted out and removed. Paul is not saying we are no longer to follow the Torah here, as some teach. He is saying that we have passed from a “paidagogos” (tutor) and the judicial aspect of the Torah that demanded our death to the second aspect of Torah, educational, in that it teaches us how to live before God and how to walk before him in our every day lives, with no fear of death because our sins have been blotted out forever). (26) For you are all sons of God through Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach-so why do you need to be ritually circumcised. You have already passed from the judicial aspect of the Torah to the educational aspect and have been  declared “not guilty’). (27) For all of you who were baptized into Christ (Messiah) have clothed yourselves with Christ (he is our covering, which is righteousness). (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you all one in Christ (no partiality in salvation and justification and the same Torah applies to all but there are different roles). (29) And if you belong to Christ (Messiah, the seed) then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs (to obtain the allotted portion) according to the promise (the Galatians had no direct relation to Abraham, but this comes only through Yeshua).

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Questions, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*