Galatians 3:1-14

Jerry A Collins




·        Is it possible to be sanctified by keeping rules?

·        What role does the HS play in my sanctification?

·        Am I saved and sanctified by the same means?


I am always working for order. I may exercise to take care of my body. I keep the oil changed in my car. I trim the yard and repair the house. But God messes it all up. My body falls apart. My car wears out. The yard overgrows and the house gets old. God is causing chaos. Everything is designed to not work—curse. I suggest that the chaos God put in everything is to force dependence upon Him. Order always tends to make me independent of God and unteachable. Chaos does the opposite. My sanctification cannot be accomplished by human means. I am dependent upon God to do it. He promises you that He resides in you ‘both to will and to work for His good pleasure’ Phil 2:12-13. Paul asked ‘having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?’ Gal 3:3. Regeneration from start to finish is the work of God. He begins it in salvation and completes it in sanctification. Our part is obedience in our walk with God. Self-control and discipline on our part is essential. There will be some who will always want to supplement the work of Christ and the HS with something we must add to our salvation and sanctification. In Galatians there were some who argued that a more complete salvation and a greater sanctification is received by obeying the OT Mosaic Law. So is our salvation and sanctification the result of works of law-keeping or faith in Christ’s provision for us?


The first argument  validating faith as the means of a rela with God is based on the faith experienced by the Galatians when they believed.

Not underhanded but publicly 1 The Galatians were embracing error making them foolish. Foolishness is always associated with error. Here was a bewitching. OT Judaizing law-keeping hypocites were using an underhanded method—secretive and subtle. While Paul’s ministry was direct, open and public. Like a billboard or a public notice his method contrasted with these false teachers. What he had placed on the billboard was the message that Jesus Christ was crucified. Many will talk of Jesus as an example to follow, inspiring teacher to learn from but you will not find Christ apart from His cross in Paul’s gospel. This same cross makes Jesus a stumbling black to Jews and to Gentiles an offense 1 Cor 1:23.

Did you receive the HS by faith? 2 The Galatians had received the HS by faith in the gospel not by any works of the Law. So believing the gospel is superior to the law.

How is God sanctifying you? 3 Justification is a work of the HS. Sanctification is also a work of the HS. “Flesh’ here stands for our sinful nature. That nature cannot sanctify us at all. The spiritual life is a walk in the Spirit not a controlling of my flesh. So the Law is unable to help me in my walk with God since it only appeals to my fleshly side.

Why did you suffer? 4 They had suffered persecution as they were warned about by Paul and Barnabas when they retraced their steps throughout that region Acts 14:21-22. So all of this pain was meaningless since they suffered on account of grace if law necessary too. Paul unwilling to believe this.

What accounts for the miracles? 5 Miracles accompanied Paul’s preaching to the Galatians (Acts 14:3, 8-10) but apparently did not the Judaizers. This argument meant to remind them of the HS miraculous confirmation of the gospel message. So all of the evidence pointed to fact that they had begun their new spiritual journey by faith!

(1) The method of justification determines the method of sanctification. (2) False teachers attempt to bring people under their spell to gain a following for themselves 4:17. (3) God is generous in his supply of spiritual blessings 3:5. (4) When experience is attested by God’s Word it is a legitimate proof and confirmation of God’s will 3:1-5.


This argument reveals that faith and not works has always been the basis of a relationship with God and Abraham and not Moses is proof of that. Since Abs is father of Jews this argument would carry special weight with these OT rule-keepers.

Reckoned as righteousness 6 So how was the father of the Jewish people justified before God? Gen 15:6 declares that Abe believed God that’s how! It was not because he kept the Law. There was no law when Abe believed. It would be 500 more years before Moses received the Law. It was ‘by hearing of faith’. It was his faith in God’s ability to perform what He promised that was the basis of acceptance before God. So insisting on things like circumcision to supplement faith was ridiculous and seductive.

7-9 Sons of Abe To be ‘sons’ of Abe vs 7 means to be like the moral qualities of someone else. So the spiritual sons of Abe not the physical descendents but those who believed whether Jew of Gentile. This is in harmony with scripture vs 8  which states that all nations will be blessed thru Abe Gen 12:3. So this faith rela of uncircumcised gentiles was anticipated in Abe covt when this good news was announced to Abe. Note syllogism:

Abe justified by faith 3:6 plus Gentiles to be blessed in Abe 3:8 equals gentiles who believe receive the blessing not by circumcision but by faith just as Abe did. False teachers argued circumcision would seal justification as it did for Abe making these true sons of Abe. But rite of circumcision was part of law nullifying it’s supposed effect to complete one’s salvation.


There are two main points argued here; (1) Law puts man under a curse. (2) Freedom from the curse is by faith.

Law not OT method of justification 10-11 The law could not justify it could only condemn vs 10. Deut 27:26 quoted only the curse because he is assuming failure. Justification by faith, then, has always been God’s method. Seeking justification by law-keeping will only suffer God’s curse. Faith and not obedience justified one before God in the OT during the Law.

Law & faith mutually exclusive 12 Lev 18:5 says that only perfect performance could win divine approval under the Law. These are 2 entirely different approaches to God. Since cannot do this then you are only under God’s curse.

Christ redeemed us 13 Only way to escape this curse and God’s wrath is if someone neutralizes it. Proof that Jesus became that curse for us was fact His executioners hung him on a tree because God had cursed Him Deut 21:23.

Gentiles are spiritually blessed 14 So two purposes for Jesus death on cross: (10 We mite receive blessing given to Abe—that is,the promised blessing of justification apart from works of law available to all who believe. (2) All who believe mite receive promise of the Spirit.

(1) Faith brings blessing into our lives. Faith is commitment before knowledge. (2) Ultimately law can only bring as curse (Mal 4:5-6) it cannot deliver. (3) Law and grace cannot be mixed. Law for chaos to order and grace order to maturity. (4) Our salvation cost God an awesome price—a curse. (5) The message is worldwide for all nations.