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IV. Faith and Liberty

Chapter 3

Justification by Faith.[a] O stupid[b] Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?(A) I want to learn only this from you:(B) did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?[c] Are you so stupid?(C) After beginning with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?[d] Did you experience so many things[e] in vain?—if indeed it was in vain.

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  1. 3:1–14 Paul’s contention that justification comes not through the law or the works of the law but by faith in Christ and in his death (Gal 2:16, 21) is supported by appeals to Christian experience (Gal 3:1–5) and to scripture (Gal 3:6–14). The gift of God’s Spirit to the Galatians came from the gospel received in faith, not from doing what the law enjoins. The story of Abraham shows that faith in God brings righteousness (Gal 3:6; Gn 15:6). The promise to Abraham (Gal 3:8; Gn 12:3) extends to the Gentiles (Gal 3:14).
  2. 3:1 Stupid: not just senseless, for they were in danger of deserting their salvation.
  3. 3:2 Faith in what you heard: Paul’s message received with faith. The Greek can also mean “the proclamation of the faith” or “a hearing that comes from faith.”
  4. 3:3 On the contrast of Spirit and flesh, cf. Rom 8:1–11. Having received the Spirit, they need not be circumcised now.
  5. 3:4 Experience so many things: probably the mighty deeds of Gal 1:5 but possibly the experience of sufferings.

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