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Thursday, 27 February 2020

Galatians 3 : 1-14

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us … that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” -Galatians 3:13-14

The Epistle to the Galatians offers deep insight into the liberty we have received from slavery to the law and the dominion of sin and the freedom we have in Christ. During Paul’s time, the churches in Galatia were infiltrated by false teachers who said that faith in Christ alone was insufficient and insisted on the Gentiles following the Mosaic Law and the traditions of the Jews.

Do we have this inner struggle, ‘bewitched’ like the Galatians, trying hard to please God through mundane rituals and forgetting that God has already accepted us fully in Christ Jesus? By no means should we have this attitude! It does not mean that we are not to obey God’s commandments out of love and reverential fear. What Paul expresses is that the traditional practices of observing days and ceremonies was a bondage from which we have been freed and we should not go back to.

The law does not make us right with God (Gal 3:11) and it is not based on faith (Gal 3:12). Why then was the law given? The law was given because of transgression (Gal 3:19)“… but where there is no law, there also is no violation” (Rom. 4:15). The Law was (and still is) the standard by which a violation or sin was measured. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. By our own effort or by following the law, we cannot be made right with God. What then is the way out?

The law was temporary till the Seed should come to whom the promise was given’(Gal 3:19). The law was a guardian and teacher leading us until Christ came, in whom through faith we are made right with God (Gal. 3:24). Christ has canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14). If we believe in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ, we are no longer slaves to ritual practices and sinful lusts, because our Saviour sets us free from all bondage and curse. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live daily in the liberty we have in Christ. This requires faith!

The example of faith set before us is the Patriarch Abraham. What was extraordinary about Abraham’s faith? Abraham contrary to hope, in hope believed’ (Rom.4:18) and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’ (Gal. 3:6). Paul emphasizes that the real children of Abraham are those who put their faith in God (Galatians 3:7). Do we have the same ardent faith in God, whereby we are not seeking to earn His acceptance with our futile works, but rather following Him in love, believing that Christ’s finished work on the cross has redeemed us from bondage? Such faith comes with a reward: we share in the blessing of Abraham. We are redeemed by faith – a wild olive shoot grafted into the olive tree, as adopted sons partaking in the freedom in Christ and looking forward to the glorious hope of uniting with Christ at His second coming.


Quote for the Day:

By faith we are taken into Christ, made at once safe from holy wrath against sin, and kept safe from all perils and penalties. He, our divine Redeemer, becomes to us the new sphere of harmony and unity with God and His law, with His life and His holiness.

A. T. Pierson

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