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What It Means To Be "In Christ" (Galatians 3,4)

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Galatians 3

The error of the Galatians
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your own eyes that Jesus Christ was openly displayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing works of the law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now perfected in the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain? If it be indeed in vain. 5 Does he that supplies to you the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and that faith was counted to him for righteousness.
   7 Know that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would make the Gentiles righteous by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, when it says: In you shall all the nations be blessed. 9 So then, they that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
   10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do all things that are written in the book of the law. 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified by the law before God! For, The righteous shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith, but: He that does the commandments shall live in them.
   13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written: Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree. 14 This was so that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The promises to Abraham were the Christian gospel
   15 Brothers, I speak in human terms. Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds thereto. 16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He did not say: And to seeds, in the plural, but in the singular: And to your seed, who is Christ! 17 This is what I mean; the law which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise! But God has granted it to Abraham by promise.
   19 For what, then, was the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made. The law was given through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one party, 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 give life, truly righteousness would have been of the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
   23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So that the law became our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
   26 For you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There can be neither Jew nor Gentile, there can be neither slave nor free, there can be no male and female- for you all are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and the heirs according to the promise.


3:1 When Paul had preached the Gospel to the Galatians, he had been an incarnation of Christ crucified. People should see in us, in our sufferings and 'weakness', something of the crucified Christ in His time of dying.

3:6 Imputed- God counted Abraham as totally righteous because Abraham believed in God and in his promised future descendant, Jesus. Abraham lived before the Law of Moses, and so he wasn't counted as righteous because of his obedience to Law but by faith in the [future] Christ who was to come.

3:8 In the promises to Abraham, we see the basic elements of the Gospel. Abraham was promised that he would inherit the land for ever; God would be his personal God; that he would have one special descendant who would bring blessing [forgiveness- Acts 3:27,28] upon people from all nations; and that this one special son [Jesus- v. 16] would become many people who would also eternally inherit the land. This is fulfilled by people being baptized into Christ and being counted as "in" Him (vv. 27-29).

3:24 The purpose of the Law of Moses was to convict God’s people of sin, and to understand their salvation in terms of the great future offering of God’s own Son, which it pointed forward to. Once Christ came, there was no need to keep the Law of Moses.

3:27 As many of you – Implying only as many as have been baptized into Christ are “in Christ” and heirs of the things promised to Abraham. These included eternal possession of the earth and the blessing of forgiveness from sin through Christ, Abraham’s great descendant. Thus through baptism we become the spiritual children of Abraham, “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), members of the new ‘community of Israel’ (Eph. 2:12).