Galatians 3

We become right with God when we trust Jesus

1 You Christians in Galatia are like fools! Someone has taught you to believe crazy ideas! I taught you clearly that Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice on our behalf. You understood that. 2 So think about this: When you received God's Spirit, was it because you had obeyed the rules of God's Law? No! You received God's Spirit because you heard the message about Christ and you believed it. 3 Do not think like fools! You first became believers by the help of God's Spirit. So do not try now to continue by your own human power. That will never get you to the end! 4 You have had many troubles as believers. I want those troubles to help you. Surely they could not be without any good purpose. 5 God gives to you the gift of his Spirit. He also does powerful miracles among you. But he does not do these things because you obey the rules of his Law. No, he does them because you believed the message about Christ which you heard.

6 Think about our Jewish ancestor Abraham. We know this: ‘Abraham believed God. As a result, God accepted Abraham as right with him’. 7 So you should understand who Abraham's children really are. It is those people who trust God. 8 The Bible already said what would happen at a future time. It said that God would make the Gentiles right with himself, if they believed in him. God showed this good news to Abraham a long time before it happened. He said to Abraham, ‘I will bless people from all countries because of you.’ 9 So then, God did not bless only Abraham when he trusted God. God also blesses all people who trust him like Abraham did.

10 But some people try to obey all the rules of God's Law. They think that they will become right with God if they do this very well. But God will speak against people like that and he will punish them. It is written in the Bible: ‘God will punish everyone who does not always obey all the rules in his Law completely.’ 11 We know that the Law can not cause anyone to become right with God. That is clear because the Bible says, ‘The person that God has accepted as right will live because they trust him.’

3:11These words from Habakkuk 2:4 are also in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38. It is very important to trust God. See also Hebrews 11:6.

12 But the Law does not tell people to trust God. It tells people about all the things that they must do. The Bible says, ‘The person who obeys all the rules in God's Law completely will live’. 13 So God's Law shows that it is right for God to punish us. But Christ took that punishment away from us, because God punished him instead of us. It says in the Bible: ‘When people hang someone on a tree to kill him, it shows that God has cursed that person.’ 14 Christ died in that way so that God would bless the Gentiles in the way that he blessed Abraham. Also, if we believe in Christ, we can then receive God's Spirit that he promised.

God's promise to Abraham still has authority

15 My Christian friends, I will use an example from our lives. Two people may make an agreement together and they both agree to it properly. If they do that, nobody else can change that agreement. They cannot take away its authority. 16 In the same way, God promised to bless Abraham and Abraham's descendant. The Bible does not say ‘descendants’. It does not speak about ‘many people’. No, God promised to bless Abraham's descendant. He speaks about one person, and that person is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: God made an agreement with Abraham. He promised to bless him. Then, 430 years later, God gave his Law to Moses for the Jewish people. But that Law could not take away the authority of God's agreement with Abraham. It could not stop what God had already promised. 18 God has promised to give good things to his children. But that does not happen as a result of God's Law. If that were true, then we would not receive God's good things as a result of his promise. But God gave those good things to Abraham as a gift, because he had promised to bless Abraham.

The purpose of God's Law

19 So we could ask: Why did God give his Law to his people after his promise to Abraham? He gave his Law to show them which things are wrong. It would have authority until Abraham's special descendant would come. That was the descendant that God had promised to bless. God used angels to give his Law to his people. It was Moses who received the Law from God, and Moses then took it to God's people. 20 But God himself gave his promise to Abraham. It was not necessary to have somebody in between, like Moses.

3:19The Jews believed that God sent angels to Moses on Sinai mountain. See Exodus 19-20, and Acts 7:38, 53.

21 So should we say that God's Law works against God's promises? No, certainly that is not true! It is not possible for the rules of any law to give us life with God. If that could happen, then God would have accepted us as right if we obeyed those rules. 22 But the Bible says that sin has power over everyone. People can not get free. This means that we can only receive what God has promised when we trust Jesus Christ. God gives his promise to those who believe.

23 But before God showed us the way of faith, the Law had authority over us. God's Law kept us safe, until God showed us that we must believe in Christ. 24 In that way, God's Law was like our guide. It kept us safe until Christ came. Then God could accept us as right because we trusted Christ. 25 But now that the way of faith in Christ has come, we do not need God's Law to keep us safe any longer.

26 All of you are God's children because you believe in Christ Jesus. 27 They baptized you as believers in Christ. That means that you have put on Christ, like someone who puts on new clothes. 28 It does not matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. It does not matter whether you are a slave or a free person. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman. You all belong together because you all belong to Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are descendants of Abraham. Because of that, you will receive all the good things that God promised to Abraham.