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Gal. 3:10-18

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1. Condemnation—v. 10. No one could keep the law!
!
4. Curse—v. 13. Christ took the curse on the cross.
5. Conversion—v. 14. Through Christ, all may be saved.
3:1–14 Faith or Works of the Law. Paul proves that faith is the God-ordained path to righteousness and life by appealing to (1) the Galatians’ own experience (vv. 1–5), (2) the example of Abraham (vv. 6–9), and (3) what Scripture says about the different natures and effects of the law and faith (vv. 10–14).

1. Covenant—v. 15. God will always keep His Word.
3. Confirmation—v. 17. This promise would come true.
4. Conversion—v. 18. Salvation not gained by works.
3:1–14 Faith or Works of the Law. Paul proves that faith is the God-ordained path to righteousness and life by appealing to (1) the Galatians’ own experience (vv. 1–5), (2) the example of Abraham (vv. 6–9), and (3) what Scripture says about the different natures and effects of the law and faith (vv. 10–14).

A. THE PLAN—vv. 10–14

A. THE PLAN—vv. 10–14

1. Condemnation—v. 10. No one could keep the law! 3:10 under a curse. The law promised a blessing and life to those who obeyed its commandments, a curse and death to those who disobeyed (; ). But sinners (all human beings!) do not—and cannot—obey the law (), so only the law’s curse came into effect (cf. , ). Some interpreters think that Paul refers specifically to those who believe they can be righteous through their own works.
3:10 under a curse. The law promised a blessing and life to those who obeyed its commandments, a curse and death to those who disobeyed (; ). But sinners (all human beings!) do not—and cannot—obey the law (), so only the law’s curse came into effect (cf. , ). Some interpreters think that Paul refers specifically to those who believe they can be righteous through their own works.
2. Christians—v. 11. The just shall live by faith! 3:11 the righteous will live by faith. By an alternative rendering, “The one who is righteous through faith shall live.” Paul’s quotation comes from . If (as indicates) righteousness comes from faith (see NIV text note on ), then it cannot come from the law, which operates on a different principle (see ).
3:11 the righteous will live by faith. By an alternative rendering, “The one who is righteous through faith shall live.” Paul’s quotation comes from . If (as indicates) righteousness comes from faith (see NIV text note on ), then it cannot come from the law, which operates on a different principle (see ).
3. Confusion—v. 12. Living under the law is not God’s plan or desire. 3:12 The law is not based on faith. The same contrast between the righteousness of faith and the righteousness based on law is found in ; . The righteousness based on law requires observance of its commands—a requirement that sinners cannot meet. It is very different from the principle that righteousness is credited to those whose deeds are not righteous but who respond to the gospel with faith (; ).
3:12 The law is not based on faith. The same contrast between the righteousness of faith and the righteousness based on law is found in ; . The righteousness based on law requires observance of its commands—a requirement that sinners cannot meet. It is very different from the principle that righteousness is credited to those whose deeds are not righteous but who respond to the gospel with faith (; ).
4. Curse—v. 13. Christ took the curse on the cross. 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. Since God has placed in the hearts of Gentiles an awareness of the moral requirements of the Mosaic law (), and neither Gentiles nor Jews have fulfilled them, the curse may be said to rest on Jewish and Gentile sinners alike. The crucified Christ bore the curse pronounced on all transgressors.
3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. Since God has placed in the hearts of Gentiles an awareness of the moral requirements of the Mosaic law (), and neither Gentiles nor Jews have fulfilled them, the curse may be said to rest on Jewish and Gentile sinners alike. The crucified Christ bore the curse pronounced on all transgressors.
5. Conversion—v. 14. Through Christ, all may be saved. 3:14 redeemed us … by faith. Redemption from the law’s curse and justification by faith are preconditions for receiving God’s blessing. promise. For the promised blessing of the Spirit, see note on 3:2.
3:14 redeemed us … by faith. Redemption from the law’s curse and justification by faith are preconditions for receiving God’s blessing. promise. For the promised blessing of the Spirit, see note on 3:2.

B. THE PERSON—vv. 15–18

3:15–22 The Law and the Promise. The law given to Moses could not alter the promise God had already given to Abraham. It served a different purpose.
1. Covenant—v. 15. God will always keep His Word. 3:15 human covenant. The Greek word Paul uses can refer to a last will or testament, but in Scripture it is commonly used of the covenants God made with his people. Paul regards God’s promise to Abraham as such a covenant and insists that it cannot be set aside by the (later) law of Moses.
3:15 human covenant. The Greek word Paul uses can refer to a last will or testament, but in Scripture it is commonly used of the covenants God made with his people. Paul regards God’s promise to Abraham as such a covenant and insists that it cannot be set aside by the (later) law of Moses.
2. Christ—v. 16. Promise to Abraham and Christ. 3:16 seeds … seed. Scripture uses the singular “seed” where a plural (e.g., “children”) would have been possible. God’s promise to Abraham (; ; ) finds its unique fulfillment in Christ—though (as adds) it includes those who belong to Christ.
3:16 seeds … seed. Scripture uses the singular “seed” where a plural (e.g., “children”) would have been possible. God’s promise to Abraham (; ; ) finds its unique fulfillment in Christ—though (as adds) it includes those who belong to Christ.
3. Confirmation—v. 17. This promise would come true. 3:17 430 years. See . Paul’s point is that the law came much later than God’s promise to Abraham and cannot set his promise aside.
3:17 430 years. See . Paul’s point is that the law came much later than God’s promise to Abraham and cannot set his promise aside.
4. Conversion—v. 18. Salvation not gained by works. 3:18 if the inheritance depends on the law. That is, on human observance of the law. The inheritance would thus no longer depend solely on God’s promise and grace. In that sense, law and promise (or grace) are exclusive alternatives.
3:18 if the inheritance depends on the law. That is, on human observance of the law. The inheritance would thus no longer depend solely on God’s promise and grace. In that sense, law and promise (or grace) are exclusive alternatives.

Understanding the Text...

1) How does Paul contrast the law and faith? What does Paul say is the destiny of the one who fails to keep 100 percent of the law?
2) What does it mean that Christ “redeemed us”?
(verses to consider: ; ; ; )
3) How did Christ become “a curse for us”?
(verses to consider: ; )
Moo, D. J. (2015). The Letters and Revelation. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (pp. 2388–2389). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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