Having concluded his personal testimony that salvation is only by faith alone, Paul then launched into a direct attack on the false teaching the Galatians bought into. He reminded the Galatians that they were saved and sanctified by only by faith in Christ apart from any works (vv. 1-14). Paul pointed to Abraham who was not saved by the Law but by faith (6-9), for the Law had not yet come (vv. 15-18). “Gospel” (v. 8a) means “good news;” the good news Abraham believed was the Lord’s promise (v. 8b), which he believed and consequently was justified (v. 9).
Those who put themselves under the jurisdiction of the Law are cursed, for no one can obey all the Law (10-12). Jesus, however, saves sinners from the Law’s condemnation (“curse”) because he suffered in their place, taking their guilt and condemnation on himself and paying the price (vv. 13-14).
The Law’s purpose was never to save souls—that was impossible (vv. 19-21). Rather, God gave Israel the Law to as a supervisor (“tutor”) until Christ came (v. 19) and they “grew up” to become full adults (vv. 23-29; “to bring us to” in v. 24 is better translated “until”). The “tutor” (v. 24) served a supervisory role; Paul’s point isn’t about the supervisor but that when one reached adulthood the supervisor was no longer needed. The Galatians believed in Jesus and therefore were full-fledged sons (vv. 26-29), so they were not under the supervision of the Law and should not put themselves back under it.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- A false gospel cannot produce true salvation (vv. 1-5). The true gospel gives the Spirit (vv. 2, 5), sanctifies the believer (v. 3), and results in persecution (v. 4). False gospels direct attention away from God’s truth (v. 1), leave one under the power of sin rather than sanctifies (v. 3), and is loved by the lost, thus avoiding persecution (v. 4).
- When it comes to false gospels and those who promote them, one cannot be true to Jesus Christ and tender with his enemies. God’s truth is turned into a lie. Lost souls are further blinded to the truth. Christians are bewitched—hoodwinked, tricked, seduced—by satanic lies. Earnestly contend for the faith!
- The Law is holy and good (Romans 7:12). Don’t conclude from all this that the Law is evil and bad. God gave the Law for definite purposes. Galatians deals with evil men who perverted God’s Law by saying it could do something it was never “designed” to do—save souls!