Faith or Obeying the Law
1You foolish people of Galatia! Who has put you under an evil spell? When I preached, I clearly showed you that Jesus Christ had been nailed to the cross. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? You began by the Holy Spirit. Are you now trying to finish God’s work in you by your own strength? 4Have you experienced so much for nothing? And was it really for nothing? 5So I ask you again, how does God give you his Spirit? How does he work miracles among you? Is it by doing what the law says? Or is it by believing what you have heard? 6In the same way, Abraham “believed God. God was pleased with Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6)
7So you see, those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8Long ago, Scripture knew that God would make the Gentiles right with himself. He would do this by their faith in him. He announced the good news ahead of time to Abraham. God said, “All nations will be blessed because of you.” (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18) 9So those who depend on faith are blessed along with Abraham. He was the man of faith.
10All who depend on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, “May everyone who doesn’t continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law be under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 27:26) 11We know that no one who depends on the law is made right with God. This is because “the one who is right with God will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 12The law is not based on faith. In fact, it is just the opposite. It teaches that “the person who does these things will live by them.” (Leviticus 18:5) 13Christ set us free from the curse of the law. He did it by becoming a curse for us. It is written, “Everyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) 14Christ Jesus set us free so that the blessing given to Abraham would come to the Gentiles through Christ. He did it so that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. The promised Spirit comes by believing in Christ.
The Law and the Promise
15Brothers and sisters, let me give you an example from everyday life. No one can get rid of an official agreement between people. No one can add to it. It can’t be changed after it has been made. It is the same with God’s covenant agreement. 16The promises were given to Abraham. They were also given to his seed. Scripture does not say, “and to seeds.” That means many people. It says, “and to your seed.” (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7) That means one person. And that one person is Christ. 17Here is what I mean. The law came 430 years after the promise. But the law does not get rid of God’s covenant and promise. The covenant had already been made by God. So the law does not do away with the promise. 18The great gift that God has for us does not depend on the law. If it did, it would no longer depend on the promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a free gift through a promise.
19Then why was the law given at all? It was added because of human sin. And it was supposed to control us until the promised Seed had come. The law was given through angels, and a go-between was put in charge of it. 20A go-between means that there is more than one side to an agreement. But God didn’t use a go-between when he made his promise to Abraham.
21So is the law opposed to God’s promises? Certainly not! What if a law had been given that could give life? Then people could become right with God by obeying the law. 22But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin. It does so in order that what was promised might be given to those who believe. The promise comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Children of God
23Before faith in Christ came, we were guarded by the law. We were locked up until this faith was made known. 24So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ. 25But now faith in Christ has come. So the law is no longer in charge of us.
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God by believing in Christ. 27This is because all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. You have put him on as if he were your clothes. 28There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29You who belong to Christ are Abraham’s seed. So you will receive what God has promised.