Lesson 5
Galatians 3:1-12

E-Mail - Henry Mahan

v. 1. 'Foolish Galatians.' Any man is foolish who leaves Christ to go to Moses, who leaves the gospel of grace to go to the working of the law, who leaves the doctrine of free justification (which gives peace and comfort) to go to the law (which can only condemn and bring bondage).

'Who hath deceived you? The truth of Christ crucified has been set forth in your hearing. Who Christ is, what Christ has done, why Christ suffered and where Christ is now was faithfully preached to you.' It wasn't as if they had not heard the gospel. They had heard, claimed to believe and now were going back to the works of the law (2 Cor. 11: 3).

v. 2. He could ask them many things, but he asked this one question only, which, if rightly attended to and honestly answered, must expose their foolishness and put an end to the controversy: 'Did you receive the Spirit of God by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Did the Spirit of God (as the Spirit of regeneration, of wisdom, of understanding, of adoption and the earnest of future glory) come to you through your obedience to the law, or did he come to you when you heard the good news of Christ in the gospel and received that gospel by faith?' There is only one answer (Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 10:17).

v.3. 'Is it possible that you can be so foolish as to think:

v.4. These Galatians had suffered great reproach for the gospel of grace (persecutions and afflictions), as all who embrace it expect to do! Now if this gospel of pure grace in Christ is not true, then you have suffered all these afflictions needlessly. He adds, 'I hope that you will correct your mistake and abide by the gospel, that your suffering be not in vain.'

v.5. These Galatians had not only received the Spirit of God through hearing and believing the gospel, but they had seen the gospel confirmed by extraordinary gifts, signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit, who was also still among them (Heb. 2:3,4). Now the apostle asks, 'Did he who gave you the Spirit and he who worked these miracles do so attending the preaching of the law or the preaching of the gospel?' (Mark 16:15-18.)

v. 6. Abraham was a righteous man, head of the Jewish nation, the first of the circumcision and one in whom the false Jewish teachers gloried (and would persuade the Gentiles to the practice of circumcision in imitation of Abraham); but the apostle shows that Abraham was justified before God by faith, not by circumcision (Rom. 4:9-11, 21-23).

v. 7. Those who are of the same faith as Abraham (not of the same degree, but exercised on the same object - Jehovah the Word, the Lord our Righteousness, and wrought by the same Spirit), they are the true children of Abraham, for he is the father of all that believe, whether Jew or Gentile.

v.8,9. The Word of God is represented as declaring the purpose of God before it comes to pass, and the Word of God declared to Abraham that in his seed should all nations be blessed. This seed is Christ! (Gal. 3:16; Rom. 4:13,16.) The gospel of righteousness in and through Christ was preached to Abraham that the Messiah would spring through him, and in the Messiah all nations would be blessed (Gen. 12:3).

v.10. As many as seek for justification by the works and deeds of the law and trust their own works and righteousness for acceptance with God are under the curse of the law; for the law requires doing - not knowing, or hearing, or approving, but perfectly doing all that the law requires in word, thought and deed (Gal. 4:2 1; Rom. 10: 1-4).

v.11. There were many justified before the law was given, such as Abel, Noah, Enoch, Job, Abraham and all other believers; and there were many justified during the legal dispensation; but none was justified by his obedience to the law. The law was not given to save, but to reveal sin, to lead us to Christ (the types were given to reveal Christ). Furthermore, no man ever perfectly kept the law. The Scriptures declare, 'The just shall live by faith' (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:38).

v.12. The law is not of faith, nor does it require faith, but it requires perfect obedience by the man. The law reaches not only to the outward man but to the inward parts, requiring not only external obedience but perfect thought, motive and attitude!

Henry Mahan, Pastor
Thirteenth Sreeet Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.