Galatians 3 – The Law And Faith

Galatians 3 – The Law And Faith April 19, 2019

The Apostle Paul explains the reason for God’s laws, which makes God’s grace even more amazing.

By Faith or by Works

The Apostle Paul addressed a very big problem for the Galatians, but also for a lot of believers, and that was legalism. Just after they were introduced to the gospel of salvation by grace and not by works, some cunning Jews came in to subvert the gospel by adding works to it. Even though many of them had been eye witnesses of Jesus’ crucifixion, they were “bewitched” (Gal 3:1), and told that they needed to completed their salvation by keeping the law, however, trying to keep the law as part one’s salvation, makes it an altogether different gospel, and one that can’t save! He reminded them that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Gal 3:6). When Abraham believed God, God accounted that to Him as righteousness. Today, if we believe in Christ, we receive the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). Paul’s point is, “it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:7). This same faith was opened to Gentiles who trusted in Christ, and thus “all the nations [were] blessed” (Gal 3:8c). Regardless of who you are or how many works of the law you do, “those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal 3:9), but they’re not blessed by their works…but by their faith in Christ.

Law Keeping

Since it is in our nature to try and justify ourselves before God, we tend to think that our works will help us on the Day of Judgment. It’s almost subconscious in a way, but it is who we are by nature, however, Paul has a serious warning for those who try to justify themselves before God by keeping the law. He says that “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10). That’s bad news for us since none of us can keep the law perfectly. James adds it’s not worth trying, since “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). This doesn’t mean we head to the other ditch and think we can break God’s laws. We ought to strive to live by them, but still recognize we are not saved by obedience to the law. Paul says “it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11). Only Jesus Christ kept the law with perfection, but He is God, and we are not. Our nature is to sin, but thankfully we’re forgiven and justified by Christ, standing in His righteousness before God (2 Cor 5:21), so “the law is not of faith” (Gal 3:12).

Imprisoned by Sin

We ought to give thanks to God that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13a). To try and keep the law is to put that curse back on us. Jesus has already redeemed us from the curse of the law, so there’s no reason to try and keep ourselves saved by keeping the law (Rom 7:19-20). It just can’t be done. I wouldn’t trust the best 10 minutes of my life to buy me a split-second in heaven! The law is good…it actually shows us what sin is (Rom 7:7), but the law cannot save. The law makes us all stand guilty before God and flee to the cross and our Savior. Paul wrote that “the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal 3:22). The law shows us our only hope is the grace of God found only in Christ, so “before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed” (Gal 3:23), and that faith was revealed in Jesus Christ. Paul states that law takes away our excuses or disables our argument that we’ve done enough good things that we ought to go to heaven. He says, “we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3:19). The law condemned us all (Rom 3:23, 6:23), “so that every mouth may be stopped.”

Faith Alone

Since we know we can’t be saved by works, we must not go to the other extreme and think there won’t be any works. James wrote that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). God has prepared opportunities for good works in our lives (Eph 2:10), but we recognize those works don’t save us. We are not saved by works, but the saved will do works; but not to justify themselves. They are doing it as unto Christ (Matt 25:40). We are not saved by works but by grace (Eph 2:8-9), since “now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Gal 3:25) of the law (Gal 2:23-24). We are set free from the curse of the law, and we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, so “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).


The Apostle Paul was not the only one who battled legalism. We can battle it too, but it’s almost a silent invasion. It’s our nature to be seen by others and to do good works in front of people so we can get recognition, but there’s a hidden danger with doing good works. Many who have stated they believe in Jesus will be turned away on Judgment Day because they never had a saving relationship with Him, therefore He doesn’t even know them. They boast of their many works for the Lord, but those same “many” will be turned away forever (Matt 7:21-23). I love what Voddie Baucham said: “It amazes me that we believe this: that God would crush and kill His own Son, but let you slide.” In fact, He won’t. Without Jesus’ own righteousness accredited to you (2 Cor 5:21), you will stand before God and be judged according to your works. Scripture tells us that it will not turn out well (Rev 20:12-15). Repent and believe today and be redeemed from the curse of the law.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is a Pastor and Prison Minister in the State of Kansas. Jack is also a writer at Christian Quotes and Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    Paul was not an apostle…he was a delusional psychotic religious lunatic who wrote 7 letters and had delusional vision who only the most gullible stupid and deranged follow. Only a similarly crazy person would cite this madman as reason to “believe” abject nonsense.

    ““It amazes me that we believe this: that God would crush and kill His own Son, but let you slide.”

    You should have stopped right there and examined the incredible stupidity of the ridiculous claim that an invisible undetectable “god” would orchestrate a universe like this let alone fabricate a story whereby “he” needs to send himself as a human blood sacrifice to himself as a loop hole for a system he himself created.

    Only the insane could babble as you do janitor jack…only the insane

    “It amazes me that we believe this”……yep.

    • Laurel Linc Dunstan

      What amazes me even more, is that an intelligent, articulate person like yourself would waste your time reading the piffle in this article…but there again, trolls are everywhere!!

      What actually amazes me even more is that this same “idiotic God” loves me,a professing Christian, just as much as he loves you. Reflect on it!!

      • pud

        What amazes me is that you and those like you “reflect on it” and you can’t even demonstrate that a single one of your ancient book inspired claims is actually true. You can’t demonstrate the existence of any god, any jesus, any demon angel sin heaven hell or one lick of the other ridiculous make believe things you “believe” only via blind faith and pure gullibility. I’m not a “troll” I seek out stupid wherever it hides and expose it for exactly what it is.

        • Randy Thompson

          Attempts to “demonstrate the existence of any god” have existed for millenia. Intellectually, you pay your money and take your chances. However, “demonstrating” the existence of Jesus is a bit easier. Without appeals to the New Testament, take a look at references to Christ in the Jewish historian Josephus (first century), the Roman historian Suetonius (1st century), and Pliny the Younger (2nd century). Within the New Testament, take a look at the earliest detailed reference to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 (the whole chapter). What Paul tells the Corinthians could easily have been verified at the time. Most of the “500” he refers to were still alive at his writing. Further, he knew full well that if he was wrong and there was no resurrection, he (and the others) were to be pitied. That may or may not be helpful to you; I hope it is. Best wishes to you, Pud.

          • pud

            I would think that you people would have learned your lessons by now….There are NO contemporary accounts of any jesus whatsoever…NONE. The Josephus quote is an agreed upon forgery by later christian lunatics and all historical references are ONLY to the early christian CULT not any eye witness account of any jesus at all. You should know better.

            And paul was a lunatic psychotic who had visions and was clearly a religious zealot who never met him either. Hearsay is not evidence. 7 letters from a lunatic don’t qualify as evidence either except to the most gullible and credulous who only want to believe what they want to believe.

            You really should do better than this

            Bonus points if you can name ONE Of the “500”

            THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR ANY “jesus” WHATSOEVER….it is entirely a story made up by no name authors.

            Pretty stupid of your “god” to not even leave a bread crumb trail for “the” most important figure carrying “the’ most important message of all time don’t you think?

          • Brien
          • Brien
        • Laurel Linc Dunstan

          Exactly what a Troll is, oddly enough!!

  • Theodore A. Jones

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

  • Susan Jane Elohim

    Psalm 91, Esther Mui

    My God In Him I Will Trust

  • Brien
  • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

    The LAW is about BEHAVIOR. It ought have nothing to do with thoughts, beliefs, dogmas, doctrines NOR OPINIONS. Lawful behavior has been given to us by God in the Pentateuch, . Gaming with words is not part of serving our Sovereign Creator.

    • Ulf Turkewitsch

      Actually the ceremonial laws in the pentateuch are now set aside, with the coming of Christ.
      Also I percieve that people often think that behaviour has nothing to do with doctrine, but without proper doctrine our behaviour is rootless, groundless and prone to much error. So doctrine is of utmost importance. Doctrine comes before behaviour.

  • Wow! Some of the comments ought to be deleted since they seem to have nothing to do with the article. I thought it was right on, but like the “foolish Galatians” there are many legalists who have no real grasp of God’s grace!

  • Christiane Smith

    even the devils believe and tremble . . . . so what kind of ‘faith’ is it that saves us?

    perhaps it is faith that is associated with the Royal Law of Christ? to love and help bear one another’s burdens?

    is ‘faith alone’ then something to accept?

    or does ‘faith’ include much more than ‘what the devils believe’? I think our Christian faith ought to be as over-flowing with loving-kindness as is possible when we open our selves to grace.

    Our Lord’s sacrificial love was a part of His mission. And He has sent the Church out into the world with ‘as the Father has sent Me, I also send you’. I suggest to you that ‘love’ is very much at the center of our faith, and ‘sacrificial’ love at that, being unselfish and not needing ‘credit’, but intending good for the other, simply for the sake of the ‘other’. The Royal Law seems connected in some way to ‘faith in Christ’, and most certainly, it is a ‘faith’ that does not exclude love as Our Lord taught us to love by His Own example. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Those who love know God and He knows them. It is a powerful ‘love’ that overflows from the Source of all being: the Holy Trinity, God, Who is ‘being itself’.

    some thoughts from another branch of the family 🙂