Galatians 3 is a bit weird and confusing at times, but also quite interesting. In it, Paul seems to explain that the law was for a time between Abraham and his descendent that would fulfil the law. Those who did not fulfil the law were under a curse, but Jesus became that curse for us. Therefore, all who are justified in Christ are heirs to the promise.
It’s interesting as throughout this chapter, Paul reiterated that the gospel is for all people. All are able to become descendants of Abraham through faith. In verse 8, it reminds us of the promise made to Abraham in Genesis that “All nations will be blessed through you.” It’s reassuring to read this as a missionary, that the gospel for the nations was the plan all along.
I also like what Paul does with the idea of the law. He remarks that following the law is not an act of faith. That’s a really interesting idea that has been mentioned to me in a few contexts before. It might be because I have a slight Pharisaical bent. If I do what I should, I will get what I want. That isn’t faith. That is me being in control of my destiny and the outcome of the situation. Faith is that Jesus’ grace is available to me, no matter what I do or my attempts to control it. It’s not that I shouldn’t be obedient. But I should be obedient out of love, not out of a manipulative desire to have control. It’s like a toddler saying please just because they want to get the thing they’re asking for, not because they are showing respect and care.
Paul also refers to the law as a guardian. This is quite a nice way of looking at it. I often look at the law as something negative, but it wasn’t. It was a loving covenant between God and his people. So this is a positive spin on it.
The chapter ends with these famous verses, which say it much better than I ever would.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:27-29