The Galatians struggled with the idea of how they could be righteous before God.
Was their faith in Jesus’ work on the cross enough? Was the death of Jesus enough?
Or did they need to add works to their faith in order to be saved?

Paul had first answered these questions by talking about his own salvation experience.
Then he corrected Peter’s wrong thinking and talked about their common salvation experience.
Now he asks the Galatians to review their own salvation experience, and then look at Scripture.

Remembering Your Salvation Vs. 1-5

A. Who Bewitched You? V. 1

1. “Who changed your mind so that you are not obeying the truth”? People had done this.
2. Foolish- anoetos- someone that has the ability to think clearly but isn’t doing it.

a. The Galatians knew the truth about the Gospel, but they weren’t thinking clearly.
b. Paul seeks to bring them back to clear thinking.

3. Bewitched- as if someone had cast a spell over them. They were leaving the truth.

a. Luther- “Although I am a doctor of divinity, and have preached Christ and fought His battles for a long time, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to hold fast to the truth. I cannot always shake off Satan. I cannot always apprehend Christ as the Scriptures portray Him. Sometimes the devil distorts Christ to my vision. But thanks be to God, who keeps us in His Word, in faith, and in prayer.”

4. None of them would have denied that Jesus had been crucified.

a. But the reason and result of Jesus being crucified was diminishing in their minds.
b. They were starting to focus less on Jesus, and more on their works and themselves.

B. Was Their Salvation Experience Invalid? Vs. 2-5

1. V. 2– The receiving of the Spirit indicates regeneration (being born again)

a. If you asked them if they had received the Spirit, they would have said “yes”.
b. Paul’s point is not to ask if they were saved, but what had been that process/experience
c. Had they received the Holy Spirit by obeying the laws of God, or by believing the Gospel when it was preached?
d. Remember that the issue here was male circumcision, a sign for the Jewish male.
As silly as it might sound, imagine asking, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when the incision was made”? The honest answer would be no, but “by the hearing of faith”.

2. V. 3- The questions were rhetorical in nature; everyone knew what the answers were.

a. Perfect- to bring something to the place where it is complete.
b. Paul now includes the idea of legalism bringing one into spiritual maturity
c. The works of the flesh can never bring spiritual maturity; only the Spirit can.

3. Paul is correcting them, but doing so by asking them to come to reasonable conclusions.

a. He is not telling them to believe something simply because he said to.
b. He is bringing them back to the truth. He is reasoning them back to truth.

4. V. 4- In Acts 14, in the city of Lystra in the region of Galatia, the Jewish legalists had opposed Paul, and stoned him and left him for dead.

a. It is not unlikely that the anti-grace persecution happened to the churches as well.
b. They had suffered for following Jesus, but it had been worth it to them.
c. But if the Gospel needed works, then their suffering had been in vain.

5. V. 5- They had received the Holy Spirit and seen miracles among them through their faith.

a. Their real Christian experience had been a result of their faith, not their works.

II. Faith Versus Works: Mutually Exclusive Vs. 6-12

A. Abraham Saved Through Faith, Not Works Vs. 6-9

1. V.6- The legalists were of Jewish background; saw Abraham as their spiritual forefather.

a. Paul quotes from Genesis 15:6. Abraham was righteous before God through faith.
b. The covenant of circumcision had not yet been given, nor was Abraham circumcised.
c. Abraham was righteous before God apart from works.
d. Abraham didn’t just believe in God, but he believed the promise of God.

2. V.7- Therefore know- more than a statement. This is a command to the Galatians.

a. The legalists also believed they were saved because they were descendants of Abraham.
b. What really mattered was to be related to him by faith, not by blood or by works.

3. V.8- The principle of righteousness by faith was announced to Abraham.

a. The principle was that faith would be the justifying aspect for all nations.
b. A person doesn’t have to become something to be saved; they need only believe the Gospel. They don’t need to become a Jew, a conservative, a church member, etc.

3. V.9- Not those who are of works, of Israel, of a good family line, of no criminal record, etc.

a. We become blessed like believing Abraham by believing the Gospel.

B. Summary Of The Law: Cursed Vs. 10-12

1. V.10 – If the Judaizers, the legalists, wanted to insist that law keeping was necessary for salvation, then they also needed to recognize that law breaking left them cursed.

a. If one chooses to live by the standard of the law, then they must follow the entire law, with all its blessings and cursings.

2. V.11– Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4, and say the message is evident.

a. No one can be justified by their works.
b. The just, by faith, shall live….not by works.

3. Guzik- Some might come back to Paul and say, “Look, I’ll do the best I can under the law and let faith cover the rest. God will look at my performance, my effort, and my good intentions and credit to me as righteousness. The important thing is that I am really trying.” Paul proves from the Old Testament itself that this simply isn’t good enough. No; the paths of approval by the law and faith don’t run together, because the law is not of faith.

a. A person is not seen as righteous before God by intending to obey the law, trying to obey the law, or agreeing that people ought to obey the law.
b. The only way to be righteous before God is to obey 100% of the law 100% of the time.

Jesus Offers Rescue From The Curse Of The Law Vs. 13, 14

1. V.13- Redeemed- exagorazo To buy out of the slave market, never to be sold again.

a. Jesus didn’t just rescue the Christian; he paid a price to rescue the Christian.
b. The law leaves a man only guilty, unable to rescue himself from the judgment of God.
c. Jesus made a legitimate way for man to be rescued from the deserved judgment of God.
d. Notice v. 10, we were under the curse. It was hanging over us, we were subject to it.
e. Jesus stepped between that curse and us. His actions offer a shield from the curse.
f. Having become a curse for us- Jesus took your place; he made Himself a substitute
g. If you are in Christ, you are not cursed any more.
h. Jesus stood in your place and took the curse that you deserved.

2. V. 14- There are two parts that result from what Jesus did for us.

a. The blessing of Abraham- justification, righteous with God by faith.
b. The promise of the Holy Spirit by faith.
c. Jesus received a curse He didn’t deserve, so that we can receive the righteousness of God we could never deserve.