Galatians

by Khan Hui Neon

Day 12

Read Galatians 3:10-14

God has seen to everything that is necessary for our salvation. In today's passage, we will discover how He has given us the perfect salvation.

Faith is based on trust and confidence in God, while the law looks to human performance

Having shown why faith alone is enough for salvation, Paul now explains why the law cannot save us. To do this, he delves directly into the heart of Jewish legalism, which is the belief that by observing the Mosaic law, you will be justified before God.

Firstly, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26 (Galatians 3:10), showing the strict demand of the law: it has to be obeyed perfectly and in its entirety. Since no man (especially the Gentiles) can observe the law perfectly, the outcome is always condemnation (curse), not justification (God's blessing).

Secondly, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 (Galatians 3:11): ″The righteous will live by faith.″ Apparently, justification by faith has always been God's way. Hence, in light of what Scripture has clearly said (from both the Law and the Prophets), to depend on the law for justification is impossible.

Next, quoting Leviticus 18:5 (Galatians 3:12), Paul points out that the law does not depend on faith but on one's ability to carry out its requirements. This approach to justification runs counter to Habakkuk 2:4. Clearly, these two approaches-faith and law-are incompatible. Faith is based on trust and confidence in God, while the law looks to human performance (″live by them″ in Leviticus 18:5). Therefore, the Judaizers' insistence that one must have both (faith in Christ and receiving circumcision) for God to justify us makes no sense.

But does the faith approach mean God turns a blind eye to sin? How does He justify us? He dealt with our sin through Christ. Quoting from Deuteronomy 21:23 (Galatians 3:13), Paul shows that when Christ died on our behalf, His death on the cross satisfied the punishment as specified by the law: one who is cursed by God will hang on a tree.

By quoting first Deuteronomy 27:26 and then 21:23, Paul is saying everyone deserves to be cursed because no one can keep the law perfectly. However, Christ rescued us from the curse of the law by taking it on himself. As a result, He came under God's condemnation and became a curse for us when He was hung on a tree (cross) by Roman soldiers. So, far from being overlooked, our sins are fully paid for by Christ. He is indeed our Redeemer and that's why faith in Him alone brings about God's justification. God's way is perfect!

All who come to God through faith in Christ (including Gentiles) will receive the same blessing of justification given to Abraham (Galatians 3:14) and by the same token, they will also receive God's Spirit, the ultimate and undeniable proof of salvation. Praise be to the Lord! He provides for us what we cannot do for ourselves-justification before a holy and righteous God.


Think through:

As far as salvation is concerned, since faith and law are incompatible, why would some people still try to hold on to both?

How can you live differently knowing that your salvation depends solely on Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and not on anything you do?

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About Author

Khan Hui Neon is the former Director of English Content Development in Our Daily Bread Ministries, Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining Our Daily Bread Ministries, Reverend Khan served as a pastor in Singapore as well as the Chairman of the Singapore Baptist Convention for several years. His passion is to build up the body of Christ through the ministry of God’s Word.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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