Notes on Galatians Ch. 3 & 4
I'm really enjoying studying through Galatians with you all and can't wait for Sunday! Galatians 3 and 4 are powerful chapters in a powerful book, so here are my preliminary notes so far. I will usually type up notes early in the week then add to them and spend more time on Saturday to prepare for Bible study the next day.
Galatians 3 & 4
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
See previous verse. Anger! Why are you so foolish to go from Life in the gospel to turn from that? What a huge price they would pay for not receiving the free gift of God’s grace because of Christ’s death!
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Answer me this. Did the Holy Spirit come upon you, was your life changed, because you did stuff or because you received the gospel message and believed??
So there is a sharp distinction here and I think this is well illustrated in Luke 10:38-42. We want to put the cart before the horse; we want to work our way into God’s favor. We simply need to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to work through us. Receive salvation freely offered and then serve Christ.
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
So in the first two chapters Paul makes it clear that we are saved by grace through faith and that nobody is saved by the law. Like James 2:10 says if you break the law in one point you are guilty of all of it! If you don’t work to be saved, you don’t work to stay saved. HOWEVER, if your salvation is genuine the Holy Spirit will work in you and your life will reflect that. You will draw near to God and learn to rely on Him and trust Him.
Thief on the cross: Luke 23 (wasn’t baptized; didn’t do a single good deed)
Forgiven woman: Luke 7:36-50
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Was a single miracle done by anyone in the Bible by their ability to keep the law? Wasn’t it always trust in God?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6. Paul makes the same argument in Romans chapter 4.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
And doesn’t this make sense? If you are trusting in obeying the law or in doing good deeds, you’re cursed because that won’t save you! If you’ve ever broken one part of the law you’ve broken them all.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Habakkuk 2:4. What does it mean to live by faith?
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
That tree is the cross He hung on. He saved us from the law, and redeemed us from that curse and burden.
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Now Paul is giving a practical example to further prove his point.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 22:17-18.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
The Law was given about 430 years after God made His promise to Abraham, and the Law didn’t overrule God’s promise.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
So then why was the Law given at all? To reveal sin. Romans 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
It was given until the seed should come.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Does the promise to Abraham of blessing the whole world through his seed conflict with the Law given to Moses? Absolutely not! If a Law could have produced righteousness then that’s what would have happened.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All are sinners and you can’t work hard enough to erase that sin, that debt. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. The penalty for sin had to be paid.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
We were under the law until Jesus came.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” We are now under Christ. We follow Him, not the law.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
“All at the foot of the cross are sinners; all at the communion table are saved by the same grace; all who enter into heaven, will enter clothed in the same robes of salvation, and arranged, not as princes and nobles, and rich men and poor men, in separate orders and ranks, but mingling together as redeemed by the same blood, and arranged in ranks according to their eminence in holiness.” – Albert Barnes
This is why I hate all the racial pandering and caving to BLM Marxism from these fake churches that push race-baiting media propaganda. In the church, come as you are. Let the world have their conflicts; let’s preach the gospel.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So we are heirs! And what to heirs do? They inherit things! What will we inherit? All the blessings of God in Christ Jesus.
So we, believers, are the spiritual children of Abraham. Remember in John 8 when the Pharisees said they were the children of Abraham and Jesus rebuked them saying they were of their father the devil.
Revelation 21:1-7. What does it mean to overcome? 1 John 5:4-5
1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
So this goes along with the previous chapter and Galatians is a great book in the bible to read without chapters and verses. Just forget about them and read this straight through. It flows really well and it very readable.
So even though a rich kid with a big inheritance coming is basically still a servant when he is young. He doesn’t have full use of that inheritance yet.
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Do we see where this is going? The kid in this example Paul is giving is under managers until the time his dad has decided.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Elements of the world refers to rudiments or lessons. So while we (he’s speaking of jews here) were children we were under similar guidelines that a dad would have over his child heir.
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
In God’s perfect timing He sent His Son. Why not sooner? Beats me. Probably one of the most common questions that people ask God is “why?” Sometimes we never get the answer, but sometimes we can look back and see that something made perfect sense.
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
One of Christ’s purposes in coming to us in the flesh was to redeem us from the law. This fits with the whole purpose of this book is to say how foolish it is to go back to something that Christ redeemed us from!!
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Probably the most accurate definition I’ve heard for Abba, an Aramaic word, is “an intimate expression for father."
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
So the Galatians were pagans before and were slaves to idols.
9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
So why would pagans, ruled by make-believe idols turn to another form of bondage and servitude which was the Old Testament Law? Weak because the Law had no power to save souls, and beggarly because they kept people in the state of being a child or servant rather than a full heir with inheritance.
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Now this verse describes briefly a few things to which the Galatians were giving themselves over to be in servitude. And these refer to Jewish festivals, looking for the new moon and festivals related to that, and feasts like Passover and Feast of Tabernacles, and years like the Year of Jubilee.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Paul is afraid that they have turned away from the gospel of grace into bondage of the law and put themselves under the curse that Christ redeemed us from. This is how serious it is to try and “earn” salvation. Did Paul bring them the gospel just to have them turn away from the truth after he left?
12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
Paul probably means that even though he’s a Jew and doesn’t follow the Jewish rituals, it should be the same for them because we are one in Christ Jesus.
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
He had something wrong with him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Vision?
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
In spite of his weakness they welcomed him with the highest respect.
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
The meaning is, “What a blessed time that was! Where did that go?”
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
People are always more offended at hard truth rather than kind lies. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The truth is always most important, but that’s why it doesn’t always get preached, it bothers people.
17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
These judaizers were excited, passionate, and acted like they cared about you but their intents were bad.
18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Being excited and passionate isn’t a bad thing but do it for the right reasons.
I think a lot of the big worship concerts are fun but it seems like the fun is the focus rather than on our Savior.
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
He cares deeply about them and wants them to seek the truth until Christ reigns wholly in their hearts.
20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
He doubts their salvation and wants to be with them in order to praise them rather than rebuke them.
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Now he’ll spend the rest of this chapter using an example from Genesis to further explain his point that in Jesus Christ we are free and under the Law we are servants.
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Ishmael the son of Hagar and Isaac the son of Sarah.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Remember this? God promised a son and many descendants to Abraham but Sarah laughed (Genesis 18) because she was old and gave her Egyptian maid-slave Hagar to Abraham to “force” God’s promise to come true. So that was after the flesh. Isaac was born when Sarah was 90 I think because of a miracle by God.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
These two births may be regarded as an allegory because the one from the flesh produces bondage & servitude.
25 For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Where was the Law given? Mount Sinai which corresponds to Jerusalem which is subject to the Laws and all that because the Pharisees were still in charge enforcing their traditions.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
In Revelation 21 we see a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. This is the church and the gospel and our freedom in Christ.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Quoted from Isaiah 54:1. “The application being to Sarah and Hagar, as follows: Sarah at first had no child, but when the promise of Isaac was fulfilled, her posterity exceeded that of Hagar; but in the instance of the spiritual fulfillment of this, the numberless "Sons of Sarah" in the church of the living God even more overwhelmingly outnumber those of Hagar.” - Coffman
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Basically same thing as in verse 16. We Christians are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Jews are currently persecuting Christians just as Paul did before his conversion.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
What does this mean? Just like Genesis 21:10 the two cannot coexist. Only the children of promise, believers through faith, are heirs of the Kingdom.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
In conclusion, we are not under the burden of the law, we are free in Jesus Christ.