New Living Translation
The Law and Faith in Christ
3 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced[a] so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[b] 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”[c] 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”[d] 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”[e] 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”[f]
13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[g] 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[h] Holy Spirit through faith.
The Law and God’s Promise
15 Dear brothers and sisters,[i] here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his child.[j] And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,[k]” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. 17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.
21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?[l] Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
God’s Children through Faith
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
26 For you are all children[m] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.[n] 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[o] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children[p] of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
- 3:4 Or Have you suffered.
- 3:6 Gen 15:6.
- 3:8 Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18.
- 3:10 Deut 27:26.
- 3:11 Hab 2:4.
- 3:12 Lev 18:5.
- 3:13 Deut 21:23 (Greek version).
- 3:14 Some manuscripts read the blessing of the.
- 3:15 Greek Brothers.
- 3:16a Greek seed; also in 3:16c, 19. See notes on Gen 12:7 and 13:15.
- 3:16b Greek seeds.
- 3:21 Some manuscripts read and the promises?
- 3:26 Greek sons.
- 3:27 Greek have put on Christ.
- 3:28 Greek Jew or Greek.
- 3:29 Greek seed.
New International Reader's Version
Faith or Obeying the Law
3 You foolish people of Galatia! Who has put you under an evil spell? When I preached, I clearly showed you that Jesus Christ had been nailed to the cross. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? You began by the Holy Spirit. Are you now trying to finish God’s work in you by your own strength? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? And was it really for nothing? 5 So I ask you again, how does God give you his Spirit? How does he work miracles among you? Is it by doing what the law says? Or is it by believing what you have heard? 6 In the same way, Abraham “believed God. God was pleased with Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6)
7 So you see, those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Long ago, Scripture knew that God would make the Gentiles right with himself. He would do this by their faith in him. He announced the good news ahead of time to Abraham. God said, “All nations will be blessed because of you.” (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18) 9 So those who depend on faith are blessed along with Abraham. He was the man of faith.
10 All who depend on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, “May everyone who doesn’t continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law be under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 27:26) 11 We know that no one who depends on the law is made right with God. This is because “the one who is right with God will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 12 The law is not based on faith. In fact, it is just the opposite. It teaches that “the person who does these things will live by them.” (Leviticus 18:5) 13 Christ set us free from the curse of the law. He did it by becoming a curse for us. It is written, “Everyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) 14 Christ Jesus set us free so that the blessing given to Abraham would come to the Gentiles through Christ. He did it so that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. The promised Spirit comes by believing in Christ.
The Law and the Promise
15 Brothers and sisters, let me give you an example from everyday life. No one can get rid of an official agreement between people. No one can add to it. It can’t be changed after it has been made. It is the same with God’s covenant agreement. 16 The promises were given to Abraham. They were also given to his seed. Scripture does not say, “and to seeds.” That means many people. It says, “and to your seed.” (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7) That means one person. And that one person is Christ. 17 Here is what I mean. The law came 430 years after the promise. But the law does not get rid of God’s covenant and promise. The covenant had already been made by God. So the law does not do away with the promise. 18 The great gift that God has for us does not depend on the law. If it did, it would no longer depend on the promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a free gift through a promise.
19 Then why was the law given at all? It was added because of human sin. And it was supposed to control us until the promised Seed had come. The law was given through angels, and a go-between was put in charge of it. 20 A go-between means that there is more than one side to an agreement. But God didn’t use a go-between when he made his promise to Abraham.
21 So is the law opposed to God’s promises? Certainly not! What if a law had been given that could give life? Then people could become right with God by obeying the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin. It does so in order that what was promised might be given to those who believe. The promise comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Children of God
23 Before faith in Christ came, we were guarded by the law. We were locked up until this faith was made known. 24 So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ. 25 But now faith in Christ has come. So the law is no longer in charge of us.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God by believing in Christ. 27 This is because all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. You have put him on as if he were your clothes. 28 There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 You who belong to Christ are Abraham’s seed. So you will receive what God has promised.