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Galatians 3:15-4:7 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Law and the Promise

15 My friends, I am going to use an everyday example: when two people agree on a matter and sign an agreement, no one can break it or add anything to it. 16 Now, God made his promises to Abraham and to his descendant. The scripture does not use the plural “descendants,” meaning many people, but the singular “descendant,” meaning one person only, namely, Christ. 17 What I mean is that God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it. The Law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, cannot break that covenant and cancel God's promise. 18 For if God's gift depends on the Law, then it no longer depends on his promise. However, it was because of his promise that God gave that gift to Abraham.

19 What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added in order to show what wrongdoing is, and it was meant to last until the coming of Abraham's descendant, to whom the promise was made. The Law was handed down by angels, with a man acting as a go-between. 20 But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.[a]

The Purpose of the Law

21 Does this mean that the Law is against God's promises? No, not at all! For if human beings had received a law that could bring life, then everyone could be put right with God by obeying it. 22 But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.

23 But before the time for faith came, the Law kept us all locked up as prisoners until this coming faith should be revealed. 24 And so the Law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might then be put right with God through faith. 25 Now that the time for faith is here, the Law is no longer in charge of us.

26 It is through faith that all of you are God's children in union with Christ Jesus. 27 You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. 28 So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.

But now to continue—the son who will receive his father's property is treated just like a slave while he is young, even though he really owns everything. While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father. In the same way, we too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity. But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God's children.

To show that you are[b] his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, “Father, my Father.” So then, you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children.

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:20 and God is one; or and God acts alone.
  2. Galatians 4:6 To show that you are; or Because you are.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Galatians 3:15-4:7 New International Version (NIV)

The Law and the Promise

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[a] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23 Before the coming of this faith,[b] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[c] of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[d] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[e] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  2. Galatians 3:23 Or through the faithfulness of Jesus … 23 Before faith came
  3. Galatians 4:3 Or under the basic principles
  4. Galatians 4:5 The Greek word for adoption to sonship is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture.
  5. Galatians 4:6 Aramaic for Father
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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