Galatians 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Ὦ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται! τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανεν, οἷς κατ’ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς προεγράφη ἐσταυρωμένος;
τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφ’ ὑμῶν, ἐξ ἔργων νόμου τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε, ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως;
Οὕτως ἀνόητοί ἐστε; ἐναρξάμενοι Πνεύματι, νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε;
τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῇ, εἴ γε καὶ εἰκῇ;
ὁ οὖν ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ Πνεῦμα καὶ ἐνεργῶν δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν, ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως;
Καθὼς, Ἀβραὰμ ἐπίστευσεν τῷ Θεῷ, καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for a righteousness.
Paraphrase: Now consider Abraham since he is the normative pattern for how people are justified. What does the Bible say about his justification? In Genesis 15, we read that he believed in God and that at the moment when he exercised this faith, he was given a perfect righteousness (Genesis 15:6) which immediately brought him out of a state of guilt and into a state of being right with God.
Γινώσκετε ἄρα ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Ἀβραάμ.
Know therefore that the ones by faith, these are the sons of Abraham.
Paraphrase: Now we learn two lessons from this. First, there is a law-way of getting right with God and a faith-way, or we could say there is justification by way of a covenant of works or by way of a covenant of grace. Now, Abraham represents for us this covenant of grace. This is clear because Scripture says that he believed God; and as a result, God credited to him a righteousness. Now all those, who get right with God by faith in Jesus, are the real children of Abraham. I know that ethnic Jews pride themselves on being children of Abraham (Matthew 3:9), but being a descendent of Abraham in this way is useless. The real children of Abraham are those who do as he did, not those who can claim ethnic descent from him.
οἱ is an orphan article.
προϊδοῦσα δὲ ἡ γραφὴ ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη ὁ Θεὸς, προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ὅτι· Ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη.
but the Scripture, seeing before that by faith God would justify the Gentiles, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham before, “All nations will be blessed in you.”
Paraphrase: The second lesson is this. This faith-way of being justified is not something that I invented. On the contrary, God Himself taught us this when He gave Abraham the promise that all nations would be blessed in him. (Genesis 12:3) What was this blessing which God would bring through Abraham to all the nations, Jew and Gentile alike? It was the blessing of a covenant of grace; i.e. a way of getting right with God that did not involve law keeping. This is the gospel which we preached to you and it’s the same gospel that was first preached to Abraham and his family so many years ago.
ὥστε, οἱ ἐκ πίστεως εὐλογοῦνται σὺν τῷ πιστῷ Ἀβραάμ.
so that the by faith ones are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Paraphrase: The glorious result is that you Gentiles, no matter what sins you may have committed in the past, can now stand before God on the same ground as father Abraham. How? By the faith-way of justification or by God’s covenant of grace. Some of you are trying so hard to conform to all the laws and rituals of the Jewish religion; why? To what purpose is all this? What’s the point of circumcision? It does nothing for you. When you put your trust in Jesus (these are the terms of the covenant of grace), you stand on the same ground as the very father of the Jews. You can’t get any more “Jewish” than that.
Ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσὶν, ὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι· Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσιν τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου, τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά.
For as many as are of the works of the law, they are under a curse. For it is written: “A curse on all who are not true to all what is written in the book of the law to do them.
Paraphrase: But some of you have sold out the gospel and insist on coming under the terms of the covenant of works. You persist in thinking that you can get right with God by your own actions and on your own merits. Now be sure of this; all those who think they can get right with God via the covenant of works are under a curse. Scripture teaches this in Deuteronomy: “A curse rests on all those who do not render to God perfect, personal, and perpetual obedience to His law. (Deuteronomy 27:26) You see, the terms of the covenant of works are so severe. Even the least transgression means you fail and come under God’s curse. Do any of you really think that your obedience to God’s laws is this perfect? Will your righteousness really pass muster with God whose all seeing eye can see into the deepest corners of your heart?
The language of “personal, perpetual, and perfect” comes from the Westminster Larger catechism
Q20. What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created? Answer: The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.
Owen: “The law is a beam of the holiness of God Himself.”
ὅτι δὲ ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ δῆλον, ὅτι Ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται.
now that by the law no one is justified before God is clear because, “The just by faith will live.”
Paraphrase: But it’s not just Abraham who teaches us this. Consider what Habakkuk has to say about getting right with God. He wrote: וְצַדִּיק בֶּאֱמוּנָתוֹ יִחְיֶה or “Those who are right with God got that way by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως· ἀλλ’, Ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς.
but the law is not of faith, but the one who is doing them will live by them.
Paraphrase: Now if we get right with God by faith as Habakkuk teaches, then it cannot be by the covenant of works. The reason is is because the covenant of works is the polar opposite of the covenant of grace. In fact, these two ways of justification are mutually exclusive. Anyone who has submitted to the terms of the covenant of works has nothing whatever to do with the covenant of grace and vice versa. Those who choose to live and die under the covenant of works will stand before God’s judgment seat on those terms. If you are going to rely on law keeping to get right with God, then you must live with that decision and its consequences.
Is this really a quotation of Leviticus 18:5? Or is it possible that Paul, who thought in Scripture language and Scripture terminology, articulates a truth using the words of this text but not intending to exposit that text as it was originally intended? Others would say that Paul did quote this text in its originally intended meaning, but the life promised was not spiritual life but a temporal life of flourishing in the land of Canaan; see here.
Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου, γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, ὅτι γέγραπται· Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law becoming on behalf of us a curse, because it is written, “Curse are all those who have been suspended on a tree.”
Paraphrase: You all know, brothers and sisters, that we as the people of God were living under the terms of the Sinai covenant which resulted in us all coming under the awful curse of God. This curse meant that the terrible wrath would fall on us at any time. We were deserving of being cast from God’s presence eternally, but then Christ came. He took that curse upon Himself. This is the gospel which God first revealed to Abraham and now has made clear to us all. Christ takes our place and the wrath of God which should have fallen on us and crushed us, now falls on Him. This is clear even in how Jesus died. You will know that He was nailed to a cross which Scripture clearly says is a method of execution which is especially cursed by God. Consider what Moses taught us in Deuteronomy, “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ γένηται, ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ Πνεύματος λάβωμεν, διὰ τῆς πίστεως.
Ἀδελφοί, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω. ὅμως ἀνθρώπου κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην, οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται.
Brothers, I speak as a man. Even though, of a man a covenant being ratified, no one voids or adds.
Paraphrase: Brothers, we see this kind of thing even in the covenants we make with each other in the business of our daily lives. When a contract is duly ratified to the satisfaction of both parties, neither party can come, afterwards, and cancel it or add new conditions to what was previously agreed on.
τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ ἐρρέθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ. οὐ λέγει, Καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν, ὡς ἐπὶ πολλῶν· ἀλλ’ ὡς ἐφ’ ἑνός, Καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου, ὅς ἐστιν Χριστός.
Now to Abram the promises were spoken and to his seed. It does not say, “and to seeds” as to many but as to one “and to your seed” who is Christ.
Paraphrase: Now the promises which God made to Abram were addressed to Him and to all his descendants. (Genesis 12:7) Do note, however, the use of the singular in this text. It doesn’t say that God made the promises to Abram and to his “seeds” which would be the plural. On the contrary, the text says that God made these promises to Abram and his “seed” which is clearly singular. Now why is this point of grammar significant? Isn’t it clear that God made promises to all the children of Abram and that this singular is actually a collective noun? Yes, for sure; but still, there is an important truth taught us here. This singular “seed” leads us to look back of Abraham and all his children to the real seed who is Christ Himself. Ultimately, the promises were made to this “seed” that is to the Son of God. (Psalm 2:8; Luke 22:29; Titus 1:2) If we are going to receive the blessings which God promised Abram, then we must be in Christ. To simply be in Moses or in Israel will not profit us anything. All of God’s blessings come only to those who are joined to Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
Seed is collective in Genesis.
Τοῦτο δὲ λέγω· διαθήκην, προκεκυρωμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ μετὰ τετρακόσια καὶ τριάκοντα ἔτη γεγονὼς, νόμος οὐκ ἀκυροῖ, εἰς τὸ καταργῆσαι τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν.
Now this I say, a covenant having been previously ratified by God, the law coming after four hundred and thirty year, does not cancel to cancel the promise.
Paraphrase: But I digress. I was saying previously that once a contract has been duly ratified, no one can cancel it or change the conditions afterwards. Now God does the same thing with his covenants. The Mosaic covenant, which established all the rites and ceremonies of our religion, was duly established by God at Mount Sinai. There was, however, a covenant equally ratified by God, which was made 430 years before God made the covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. This is the covenant which God made with Abram, and no subsequent covenant can cancel or modify it.
εἰ γὰρ ἐκ νόμου ἡ κληρονομία, οὐκέτι ἐξ ἐπαγγελίας· τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ δι’ ἐπαγγελίας κεχάρισται ὁ Θεός.
For if the inheritance were by the law, no longer by promise, but God gave to Abram through promise.
Paraphrase: Now if all the blessings God promised to Abram come to us only in so far as we keep the laws of Moses, then the covenant God made with Abram was changed after it had been duly ratified. This cannot be, however. God never gave Abram the laws of Moses; they were not a part of the covenant God made with him. As we said previously, God does not change the terms of a covenant after it has been duly ratified. Covenants, just like human contracts, cannot be cancelled or modified after they are made. The blessings of the covenant God made with Abram were not conditioned on obedience to the law of Moses, and no one has the right to make that a condition now. The blessings of God’s covenant with Abram were received only by faith in the Promiser. (Genesis 15:1)
Τί οὖν ὁ νόμος; τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν, προσετέθη, ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα ᾧ ἐπήγγελται, διαταγεὶς δι’ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου.
Why, then, the law? It was added because of violations until when the Seed might come to whom it was promised being arranged through angels by the hand of a Mediator.
Paraphrase: You might wonder why the covenant at Mount Sinai was even necessary then. Why did God see a need for this additional covenant beyond the one which He had already made with Abraham? The answer to this question is this. God added the Sinai covenant to show His people just how incapable they were of keeping His commands. God did this by giving them many laws and regulations which had the result of bringing His people to that place where they acknowledged that, apart from God’s grace, they had no possibility of measuring up to God’s standard. Try as they might, they just couldn’t keep the laws which God had given them. Again and again, they fell back into sinful patterns. Their inner depravity was just too strong for them to overcome on their own.
Now once Israel had reached this point in their life, they were in a place to see clearly their need for a Mediator. Now they saw that they needed Someone to stand in their place just as Israel had begged Moses to stand on Mt Sinai in their place. (Deuteronomy 5:23-27) Israel needed Someone who was willing to assume their obligations and to satisfy God’s justice on their behalf. This was the purpose of the Sinai covenant which surely was in itself a glorious covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:7) It came with great majesty and in the presence of many angels. Nevertheless, when God’s purpose for it was realized, He had no more use for it. As a result, He dismissed this covenant by sending His Son to earth in human flesh. His Son was the Seed to whom God had made all the promises. It was to Him that God had promised the nations as His inheritance and the ends of the earth as His possession. (Psalm 2:8)
Note: the law here is added προστίθημι, not ratified κυρόω as was said about Abram’s covenant.
For ἄχρις οὗ, see the middle of the right column on p91.
διαταγεὶς modifies νόμος; cf principle 7.
ὁ δὲ, μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν· ὁ δὲ Θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν.
Ὁ οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ; μὴ γένοιτο! εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζωοποιῆσαι, ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη·
ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν, ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία, ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν.
Πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν, ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα, συνκλειόμενοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι,
ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν, εἰς Χριστόν, ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθῶμεν.
Galatians 3:25 ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως, οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν.
Galatians 3:26 Πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ ἐστε διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Galatians 3:27 ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε.
Galatians 3:28 οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην· οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος· οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Galatians 3:29 εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ, ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ, κατ’ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι.