Study Guide

Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon Galatians: Chapter 3

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Galatians: Chapter 3

Paul Fought the Law

  • Paul is getting madder by the minute. He calls the Galatians "foolish" and starts in on a rhetorical tantrum.
  • Haven't these guys seen that Jesus has been crucified ("seen" in the form of Paul's preaching, that is)?
  • How do they think they got the Holy Spirit? Did they painstakingly read and follow the Torah or did they accept the truth of the gospel that Paul told them about? (Hint: it's the gospel.)
  • The Galatians started out as people in the Spirit, but now they're worried about their physical bodies. Mainly their penises.
  • This makes no sense. Why would God pour his Spirit on them in the first place just to have them go back and start following the law?
  • Look, way back in Genesis, Abraham simply put his faith in God. God was cool with that and promised that everyone who believed in him would be blessed. This was way before the law, so obviously this proves that people don't need the law to get on God's good side.
  • Basically, Paul is saying that the law is like a curse hanging over our heads. When Jesus died, he took that curse away. Now, we can just live for God and not worry about what we eat or if we're sacrificing a lamb the right way.
  • It's kind of like when someone finalizes their will. That means it's set in stone and can't be changed. Same thing goes for God.
  • God promised that Abraham's offspring would be cool with him if they had faith. The law came way after this: 430 years later to be exact. And the law can't change God's initial promise.

And the Law Lost

  • Okay, so then what is the point of the law? Seriously, those Torah books are thick. Was God just wasting our time with all those laws about sacrificing goats and stuff?
  • Here's Paul's answer:
  • No, the law was kind of a placeholder until Jesus could come. And now he's here, so bacon bars for everyone!
  • The law isn't in conflict with God's promises either. It was basically just a way of keeping us in check until Jesus could come.
  • You know how crazy we humans like to get sometimes.
  • Before Jesus, the law was like a police officer, monitoring our bad behavior and punishing us for it. Except the jail cells looked a lot more like angry mobs holding stones.
  • But now, Jesus is here and everyone who has faith has him in his or her heart. So what use is the law if God is part of every single believer?
  • In Jesus, there are no more labels and categories. No Jews and Gentiles, no slaves or free people, no men or women—just believers. And all believers are one through the power of Jesus.
  • And anyone who believes gets a share of that promise God made to Abraham. No obeying the law required. It's as simple as that.

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