5: Faith Versus the
Works of the Law (3:1-25)
Having set forth
the doctrine that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ rather than by the
works of the Law, Paul draws from the personal experience of the Galatians as
well as the Old Testament Scripture to support his argument. In comparing the
law and faith, he explains the condemnatory and temporary nature of the law and
the surpassing and enduring nature of God’s promise.
“Christ has redeemed us from
the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed
is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon
the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit
through faith” (3:13-14).
Did You Know…?
The promise of the Spirit
(3:14): This is the promised Holy Spirit foretold by the prophets (Eze 36:27; Joel 2:28) and the Lord Jesus (Jn 14:16-17; Acts 1:5). This promise came true when the
disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Tutor (3:24): “The term is paidago-gos, which means ‘a child-custodian’ or
‘child-attendant.’ The pedagogue was a slave employed by wealthy Greeks or
Romans to have responsibility for one of the children of the family. He had
charge of the child from about the years six to sixteen and was responsible for
watching over his behavior wherever he went and for conducting him to and from
What Old Testament figure does
Paul repeatedly refer to? Why?
What contrasts does Paul make
in this paragraph?
What point is Paul making by
his series of questions? What was the basis of his argument?
How was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
clearly portrayed among the Galatians?
Why does Paul mention the
portrayal of Christ’s crucifixion?
How have the Galatians begun in
What does it mean that they are
now trying to be made perfect by the flesh?
Can we infer from this
paragraph that receiving the Holy Spirit is an obvious experience that is
accompanied by a clear external sign? Explain your answer.
On what basis was Abraham
7. According to Paul, how has God’s promise to Abraham, as quoted
in verse 8, come true?
What contrast is made in verses
12 and 13?
How did Christ “become a curse
10. What does it mean that we have been redeemed from the curse of
According to verse 15, what
characterizes a covenant?
What point is Paul making
concerning the law and the promise?
Read Genesis 22:18 on God’s
promise to Abraham and his seed. What is Paul’s interpretation of this promise?
What does this interpretation have to do with the argument that we are
justified by faith?
What does verse 18 say about
the nature of a promise? What is Paul’s point?
Record what the following
verses say about the law
In sum, what purpose does the
law serve in relation to faith in Christ?