Galatians Series #6

March 18, 1989
Fred R. Coulter

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Let's begin in Galatians 3:6, and because this is so difficult, we need to review so that we can really grasp and understand the concept. The reason we need to do that is because there are false conclusions drawn by the Protestants, the Catholics and the Jews.

  • 1. The Protestants believe that they can have Christ and not keep any commandments at all. Based upon some of the Scriptures we are going to cover that's the conclusion they come to.
  • 2. The Catholics say that you can only receive grace through works that the Catholic Church has put down through canon law, which in effect then becomes a work of a law.
  • 3. The Jews do not recognize Christ at all and everything is through Moses, through the Law and through their traditions.
    • How do you receive salvation?
    • How did salvation come?
    • Why do we need Jesus Christ?
    • Are the Protestants correct over here in saying that we can have Christ and not obligated to keep any of the commandments of God, except those we may choose to do?
    • Are the Catholics right in saying that we can add all of these other laws on and you must do these works in order to have the grace of God?
    • Are the Jews right by saying that we don't recognize Jesus at all and it's through Moses and through the Law?

That's really the heart and core of the problem that we have in understanding Galatians. There are several cross-currents that take place as we get into it. To compound it even further and make it more difficult.

Unfortunately, at this point the King James Version of the Bible does not do the translation properly, because they add definite articles which make it appear that you are doing works of law related to the commandments of God.

Let's understand what it's teaching us here, and let's keep those concepts in mind so we can understand where the error comes from. When error and Truth are mixed so closely together, it's very difficult to pull the Truth out unless you understand the Truth and the error.

Here is the heart and core of the whole reason of why we have salvation through Jesus Christ. I think when we get done with it you're going to understand why salvation and justification must only be through Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:6: "It is exactly as it is written: 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned [given] to him for righteousness.'" It was calculated or imputed, or given to him for righteousness. We're going to see that the Bible talks about two kinds of righteousness:

  • righteousness that comes from law-keeping, which puts you in right standing with the temple
  • righteousness through Jesus Christ—reckoned to Abraham—puts you in right standing with God the Father in heaven above

All of us would agree that is the greater righteousness!

  • How does that greater righteousness come?
  • Does it come by works of law of any law?
  • How is accomplished?

Verse 7: "Because of this, you should understand that those who are of faith are the true sons of Abraham. Now, in the Scriptures, God, seeing in advance that He would justify the Gentiles [nations] by faith… ['Gentile' is a Jewish racist term] …preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.' It is for this reason that those who are of faith are being blessed with the believing Abraham" (vs 7-9).

Verse 10 is the real critical verse, which people say tells us that we should not keep the commandments of God. That is not true! The commandments of God, as we have learned, are to be kept, but there is a limit to the effectiveness of commandment-keeping. The Law tells us what sin is. The Law tells us what we should do. The Law actually is for all people to keep. It's a requirement of human existence.

Justification with God the Father in heaven above is a different process. You can't take the process of works of law and substitute that for the sacrifice and life of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul says:

Verse 10: "For as many as are relying on works of law are under a curse…" This is where the Protestants say if you try and keep the commandments of God you're under a curse. That's not true! Because it says, 'Blessed are those who do His commandments, and a good understand have they.'

  • Why is there a conflict?
  • The Law was never designed to give eternal life!
  • What is the result of the Law?
  • Death!
  • Why is the result of the Law death?
  • Because the wages of sin—which is the transgression of the Law—is death!
  • Has anyone ever been perfect?
  • No! No one has ever been perfect!

So, everyone is under the curse of the Law, because they couldn't continue in everything that was written in the book of the Law to do them.

  • What is the curse?
  • Is the Law a curse? No!
  • What is the curse? Sin is the curse!

Please keep that in mind when we read this.

Verse 10: "For as many as are relying on works of law… [rejecting Christ for salvation] …are under a curse, because it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that have been written in the book of the Law to do them.'" The curse is sin!

Verse 11: "Therefore, it is evident that no one is being justified before God by means of law… [God never designed the Law to justify what the sacrifice of Christ justifies] …because it is written, 'The just… [the one who has been justified] …shall live by faith.'" (vs 10-11). There's a difference in faith in relationship to law. Faith is that:

  • you believe what God has said!
  • you believe God!
  • you believe in Jesus Christ!
  • you believe what He has said!
  • you live and follow His way!

Is that any different from God's way? That is literally, actually, completely God's way!

Verse 12: "Now then, the Law is not based on faith…" You can read it, look it up, there's no faith involved in the Law. The Law says, the Law doesn't say. Christ says believe Me and follow Me! Does He tell you what you're going to have to go through in that faith and that belief? No, He doesn't! Faith is different that law.

"…but, 'The man who practices these things shall live in them.'" (v 12). Even though a human being is not perfect, there's still a virtue in keeping the Law. But that doesn't take the place of Christ. That does not remove sin. That does not give you the Holy Spirit. That is a different and separate function that has to come in a different and a separate way. So that we clearly understand this we'll review just little bit more here:

Verse 13: "Christ has redeemed [ransomed] us from the curse of the Law…" Bought back from the curse of the Law, not that the Law is a curse. The curse of the Law is sin! He has ransomed us from sin. 'You are bought with a price' (1-Cor. 6). You are not your own, and you ransom back the one who pays the ransom then tells you what to do—isn't that correct? Yes! Christ has ransomed us from the curse of the Law.

"…having become a curse for us…" (v 13). We know that it says, 'Christ became sin for us, Who knew no sin' (2-Cor. 5:21). He took upon Himself our sins. What law can you substitute for that? You can't substitute any law for that!

"…(for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree')… [He was crucified] …in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (vs 13-14).

Let's look at a couple of examples of what faith requires vs law vs doing something. Let's see what kind of thing we must do.

After Jesus fed the 5,000; people really got excited about that, because they saw the disciples going along and breaking off the bread and fish and it just kept replenishing itself. They fed the 5,000 out of a few loaves and a few fish. And certainly they wanted this to continue as a continuous supply of food, so they came and found Jesus and they said, 'Rabbi, we've been looking for you.'

John 6:26: "Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly I say to you, you do not seek Me because you saw the miracles… [which was a powerful miracle by the Spirit of God] …but because you ate the bread and were satisfied.'" They were carnal-minded. They only wanted the fleshly things. They didn't care about the miracle that was performed to do it, that that may have been done by the power of God. They were concerned that they ate the food.

Verse 27: "'Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give to you; for Him has God the Father sealed.'…. [this is what people always do]: …Therefore, they said to Him, 'What shall we do, in order that we ourselves may do the works of God?'" (vs 27-28).

Everyone wants some sort of work. Everyone wants some sort of direction of what to do, so that they can do it externally. They don't want to get involved internally in it where it requires something of them. That's why they asked: "…'What shall we do, in order that we ourselves may do the works of God?'"

Verse 29: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God: that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.'" It's saying that you believe on Jesus Christ, and belief takes far more of your being, far more of your ability, far more of your involvement than to just do a law.

For example: If there's something that you can do; what if the only thing you had to do was go to a vending machine and put in four quarters and draw out of there whatever you wanted? That is a work! You don't have to believe in the vending machine. You don't have to understand how it goes. You have no part with it. You do it sort of mechanically, automatically. There's nothing involved in it.

  • Does God want that kind of behavior?
  • Does God want that kind of rote follow the law kind of thing?

No! God wants more than that! He wants you to believe! It takes belief in what Jesus Christ said and it requires far more than just keeping the commandments.

Matthew 19:16: "Now at that time, one came to Him and said, 'Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?'" Again, the same question: What is the work that we may work to do the works of God? Jesus didn't say at that point keep the commandments—did He? No! He said to believe on the One Who has been sent—which was Himself. I've even heard that applied to a minister, that you're to believe the minister. Well, the minister does not substitute for Christ! Here he wanted to do some good thing that he may have eternal life.

Verse 17: "And He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one—God. But if you desire to enter into life, keep the commandments.'"

Is there some contradiction here? No! There's no contradiction because commandment-keeping is part of what is required. But commandment-keeping is NOT Christ! Keep that in mind.

Verse 18: "Then he said to Him, 'Which?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not commit murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The young man said to Him, 'I have kept all these things from my youth. What do I yet lack?'" (vs 18-20).

Do you see what it is? When someone says there is a law: What do I lack, yet? Read the book of Job. What lesson did Job lack? Repentance! What he had was works of law! It got so that he was so involved with it and thought that he was doing so good that God owed him something. He even said at one point, 'Oh, I wish there were an umpire between me and God to referee this dispute, because it's unfair that I've been treated this way. After all I've been so good.'

We find almost the same attitude here with the young man, v 21: "Jesus said to him, 'If you desire to be perfect, go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow Me.' But after hearing this word, the young man went away grieving, because he had many possessions" (vs 21-22).

There is no law that says to sell all that you have. Christ can tell us and we have to believe and we have to follow. Let's see how these things work, so that we can understand what the law-keeping cannot do, and what is required.

Luke 18:10: "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself… [not to God but with himself] …in this manner: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain.'" (vs 10-12).

Let's stop and look at this again. Is there anything wrong with not being an extortioner? No! God doesn't want you to be an extortioner! You should not be one. God does not want you to commit adultery, or be unjust, or to be a person that you might consider a derelict.

But then on the other hand, look what he was relying on; v 12: "I fast twice in the week…" Nothing wrong with fasting, but does that obligate God to you? No!

"…and I give a tithe of everything that I gain." Is there anything wrong with tithing? Nothing wrong with tithing; God requires it! But here's a perfect example of someone who is relying upon law and the righteousness of law to make himself acceptable before God. It takes something else!

Verse 13: "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat himself on the chest, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'" What is the key difference here?

  • law-keeping without repentance
  • repentance so that they can be put in right standing with God

What did Jesus say? Verse 14: "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified…" That's what we are talking about: justification because of repentance and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ!

Acts 2:36—this is Peter preaching the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost: "'Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.' Now after hearing this, they were cut to the heart…" (vs 36-37).

They were repenting; they saw something that was greater; now we are looking at the sacrifice of Christ; now we are looking at the life of Christ and justification comes in three steps:

  • we are justified by His blood
  • He was raised for our justification
  • He went to God the Father to get that justification for us

There had to be the death, the shedding of the blood, the resurrection and the acceptance of Christ as that sacrifice.

  • What law can replace that? No law!
  • What can you do? You must believe in that sacrifice of Christ and you must repent!

They were pricked in their heart! You must have a conversion inwardly spiritually, done by faith and belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

"…and they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (vs 37-38).

With that in mind let's look at a couple of other Scriptures that are profoundly important, so that we understand what we are talking about when we go back to Gal. 3.

Here is a verse I am sure that has been very difficult for you to understand in the past, Matthew 11:12: "For from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven is taken with a great struggle, and the zealous ones lay hold on it…. [It was difficult getting into the Kingdom of God.] …For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John" (vs 12-13).

  • Does that mean that the Law was done away? No!
  • What happened with John?
  • What did John do?

Luke 16:16: "The Law and the Prophets were until John; from that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone zealously strives to enter it…. [What is the difference? Notice the clarifier]: …But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Law to fail" (vs 16-17). Jesus clarified it to make sure that they understood the laws were still binding and in effect.

What does it mean, "The Law and the Prophets were until John…"? What happened from that point on? That's the key thing we need to understand. Let's see what happened with John. Instead of just looking to the Law; instead of just looking to the Torah; instead of just looking to the temple—now what was going to happen? Something greater was going to happen! That's why Jesus told the woman at the well, 'Woman, believe Me the hour now is, and is coming, when you shall neither worship in Samaria nor in Jerusalem for the Father seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.'

What happened? Let's see what happened beginning with John the Baptist, Matthew 3:1: "Now, in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent…'" (vs 1-2). There is the key! The Kingdom of God is heralded by repentance! It's a vast and completely different thing. You repent from your sins, and sins are 'the transgression of the Law' that is a curse. Who redeemed us from the curse of the Law? Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law!

"…John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (vs 1-2). Repentance was preached from that time forward. Repentance was the main and the important thing that took place.

Let's see what Jesus preached. Let's see what He said. Now we are going a step beyond just the Laws of God.

  • They are good!
  • They are righteous!
  • They are perfect!
  • They are Holy!

But it doesn't accomplish what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ accomplishes.

Mark 1:14: "Now, after the imprisonment of John, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God." Remember, Jesus said the Law and the Prophets prophesied until John, and from that time the Kingdom of God is preached. What is the preaching of the Kingdom of God?

Verse 15: "And saying, 'The time has been fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is near at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel'"—which we have seen as the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel of Grace. What does that involve?

We are going to see the magnitude of justification by faith. We are going to see what that requires. It required greater than law-keeping by human beings. It required the life and the death of God! Is that not greater than law-keeping? Is not the death of Christ greater than your death? Absolutely!
John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." That's why the Gospel is of a greater magnitude than the Law.

That's why a Jew over here cannot reject Jesus and say, 'I'm going to keep the Law and God is obligated to do something for me.' NO! Since Christ, God is not obligated to do anything for the Jew. Therefore, if he keeps the Sabbath without Christ, his Sabbath-keeping does him no good. It's better than Sabbath-breaking, but it doesn't require God to do anything for him. If you reject Christ, if you don't believe in Christ, if you hate Christ, what good does your law-keeping do over here?

Now let's look at the Protestants on the other hand. They say, 'Okay, we believe Christ, we accept Christ, but we don't have to keep any commandments.' They, in effect, make Christ the minister of sin.

What you really need is to understand that there is grace of God, there's repentance and then commandment-keeping falls into a subordinate position. It is required! It is not paramount over here as in the case of the Jews. It is not abrogated over here in the case of the Protestants. What Christ did was greater than any law-keeping. You cannot take law-keeping and affect the same thing as Christ.

On the other hand, you cannot go ahead and say, I claim Christ and do away with commandment-keeping, because Jesus said, 'If you love Me, keep My commandments. I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life.' We're talking about a very profound thing here:

Verse 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him" (vs 1-3).

Tell me something: Is it greater to have God come down on Mt. Sinai and speak the Law? or Is it greater that God came as Jesus Christ—in the flesh—and lived a perfect life and gave Himself for us? Gave us a way to eternal life? Which is greater? Christ is greater! Now maybe you understand it says 'the Law and the Prophets were until John and from that time it's preached the Kingdom of God. That's far more important.

Verse 4: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not comprehend it" (vs 4-5). Sometimes people stumble over the Truth.

It's kind of like Churchill said one time, 'People go along and stumble over the truth, they pick themselves up and dust themselves off and go on their merry way and forgot what they've come across.' It's the same way here, when the true Light shines, the very life of Christ. Can you imagine what it was with Christ coming to His own, doing all of those miracles, going through everything that was done at that time, and people vehemently blasphemously rejecting Jesus Christ and all that He did. They just didn't comprehend it.

Notice how it starts out with God and then it always comes back to John, because John is the focal point where the promises given to Abraham, that Christ would come, were fulfilled.

Verse 6: "There was a man sent by God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, that he might testify concerning the light, so that through him all might believe" (vs 6-7). We're talking about belief! We're talking about the power of belief, which is greater than any force of law.

Verse 8: "He [John] was not the light, but came that he might testify concerning the light. The true light was that which enlightens everyone who comes into the world" (vs 8-9). That's a profound statement in itself. He's saying that that light of life, which every human being has—by creation—came from God! Every human being then has an obligation back to God.

Verse 10: "He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, but the world did not know Him." That's incredible—isn't it? That is an incredible statement when you really understand it. The world new him not, the world accepted him not. How many in the world really understand Christ the way that He really is, the way that He was and what He requires for us today? Not very many people, because:

Verse 11: "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him; but as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name; who were not begotten by bloodlines, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by the will of God" (vs 11-13).

What does it mean to receive Christ? This is a key Scripture that Protestants use. How do you receive Christ? The Protestants say that you open up your heart and you let Him in.

  • Is that receiving Christ?
  • Under what terms to do you receive Christ?
  • What did Jesus say? Repent and believe the Gospel!
  • What did John say? Repent and be baptized!
  • What did Peter say? Repent and be baptized!

That's how you receive it! You receive Jesus on His terms! Not on your terms. You receive Jesus Christ the way that He has said, the way that God the Father has said. Not that you are good enough to receive Jesus in your heart, because you're a good person. No! That's not true! That makes you the same as the Pharisee who says, 'Thank You, God, I'm not as other people. I'm good enough to open my heart to You.' No way! You receive Christ the way that God says to receive Him.

Verse 14: "And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we ourselves beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full of grace and Truth." That's the only way to salvation. "…full of grace and Truth" through Jesus Christ.

Verse 15: John testified concerning Him, and proclaimed, saying, 'This was He of Whom I said, "He Who comes after me has precedence over me because He was before me."' And of His fullness we have all received… [What do you receive? You receive from God! You don't accept Jesus and receive Him on your terms; you accept the terms of God!] …and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses, but the grace and the Truth came through Jesus Christ" (vs 15-17). Now what are we doing? We are worshipping and adoring God! Christ! Not law!

I'm sure that this will become very clear to you. For those who do not fully understand about Jesus Christ, but who are fixated and focusing in on law, this may seem a little contradictory and a little difficult for you to understand.

But let's realize that even Jesus said, 'In vain do they worship me, teaching for commandments, the doctrines of men.' And they reject the commandment of God. Jesus also said, 'Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who is doing and practicing the will of My Father.'

With that in mind let's go back to Gal. 3 so that we can understand exactly what we're talking about here. Galatians 3:15: "Brethren, (I am speaking from a human perspective) even when a man's covenant has been ratified, no one nullifies it, or adds a codicil to it…. [Paul establishing a principle that is true] …Now, to Abraham and to his Seed were the promises spoken. He does not say, 'and to your seeds,' as of many; but as of one, 'and to your Seed,' which is Christ. Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand by God to Christ…" (vs 15-17).

In other words, confirmed by God to Abraham that it was going to go to Christ—the promise from which eternal life would come—Paul says: "…cannot be annulled by the law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect." (v 17).

You have the promise given to Abraham at one point; 430 years later the Law was given to the children of Israel. Does this law change the promise given to Abraham? No! It does not change the promise given to Abraham! What are the two things that we are talking about:

  • the Law
  • the promises

Verse 17: "Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand by God to Christ cannot be annulled by the law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect."

You cannot say, 'We have the Law, You must give us eternal life.' Eternal life does not come through law. The promise of eternal life did not come through the covenant given to Israel, called the Law.

Verse 18. "For if the inheritance [of eternal life] is by law, it is no longer by promise…. [God promised it to us. We must believe that He's going to give it.] …But God granted it to Abraham by promise."

  • Why the Law?
  • What is the purpose of the Law?
  • What is the means of the Law?
  • What is that in relationship to the promise given to Abraham?

Verse 19: Why then the law? It was placed alongside the promises…"

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Did the addition do away with the promise? No! The promise stands superior because it was given first.

The apparent full meaning of Galatians 3:19:

Why then the Law? That is the purpose of the Law, which is the Old Covenant in relationship to the original covenant and promise given to Abraham. It was appointed.

The Old Covenant given to Israel was ordained in addition to and placed alongside of the promise given to Abraham for the sake of transgressions, that is to point out clearly what sin is until the Seed should come to Whom the promise was made.

In this translation, I brought to bear all the focus of the other Scriptures into this verse, because that's what it's talking about. We're not going to have isolated out here and say that we're going to do away with the Laws of God.

The Protestants believe that because the Law was added to the promise of Abraham that now we don't have to keep any commandments. That is not true! What did Paul say? 'What? Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid!'

"…for the purpose of defining transgressions, until the Seed should come to Whom the promise was made, having been ordained through angels in the hand of a mediator" (v 19). Christ's covenant with us was not ordained through angels; it was ordained by God the Father and Jesus Christ Himself! With the Old Covenant there was the layer of the angels between God and the individual. With the Old Covenant you had:

  • the laws
  • the sacrifices
  • the washings
  • the oblations

—everything that was done to justify them in the flesh to the temple. That's all the Law was designed to do. Once a year, the mediator—the high priest—went into the Holy of Holies and, through the hands of an angel, the ceremony was carried out so that God could deal with Israel through the angels.

Now we don't have the intermediator at all. We go directly to God. That's why we cry out in our heart, 'Abba, Father.' We have something greater than coming to a temple. We have going into the very presence of God the Father in heaven above.

Verse 20: "Now then, a mediator does not act on behalf of one, but God is one." There were many mediators, many priests. There were all the people out here on the one hand and then there was the high priest, the mediator, on the other, and then the angel carried out that mediation between Israel and God. It was a very hands-off, removed process. That's why there was no eternal life through the Old Covenant, though they had the Laws of God.

Verse 21: "Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? MAY IT NEVER BE!…. [May this thought never come into existence, which is far more powerful—isn't it?] …For if a law had been given that had the power to give life, then righteousness would indeed have been by law." This is a difficult Scripture to understand, so we'll take this apart step-by-step.

"…For if a law had been given that had the power to give life…" The Greek comes from 'dunamis'—had the power to quicken, give life. Does any law give life? What does law do? Law defines conduct! The transgression of the Law is not eternal life; the transgression of the Law is eternal death.

1-Corinthians 15:50: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God…" Very clear!

  • What was preached from the time of Jesus Christ? The Kingdom of God!
  • What are we to inherit? The Kingdom of God!
  • How must we inherit it? We must inherit it with eternal life!

That's why I put in Galatians that if the inheritance be by law—that is of eternal life in the Kingdom of God—flesh and blood cannot do it.

"…nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (vs 50-52).

Notice that the focus is entirely different. The focus of this is eternal life, to live forever in the Kingdom of God. The focus of law is to live in a community of flesh and blood human beings so that you have a means of having a societal structure whereby you can get along and love your neighbor as yourself. Quite a vast difference—isn't it?

Verse 53: "For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. Now when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'" (vs 53-54).

What is the whole purpose of Christ coming? The sacrifice of Christ? The life, death and resurrection of Christ is to receive eternal life! That our dying—as in Adam we all die—is going to be overcome through the victory of the resurrection.

Verse 55: "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Now, the sting of death is sin…" (vs 55-56). As in Adam we all die—why? Because we all have the law of sin and death in us, and we're going to die in Adam! Is death still the result of sin? Yes! Can we also die the second death for our own sins if we don't repent? Yes! (Rev. 20-21). Yes, there is the second death!

But for those who have salvation, "…the sting of death is sin… [the law of sin and death in us; our own transgressions that we repent of] …and the power of sin is the law" (v 56).

Understand clearly: That is why the Law cannot give life. There is no life flowing from the Law. Life flows from God Who is Life. The strength of sin is the Law. When the Law is broken it demands death. Death is the curse of the Law. What did Christ redeem us from? He redeemed us from the 'curse of the Law' so that we can have eternal life!

I hope this will help us understand why the Law is not able to give life. The Law's proclamation is that if you break the Law you die! That's why! There is no promise of life in law.

Galatians 3:21: "…For if a law had been given that had the power to give life, then righteousness would indeed have been by law." What kind of righteousness? The righteousness that puts us in right standing with God the Father in heaven above, which is through Christ! This righteousness means that you have been justified and put in right standing with God the Father through the blood of Christ, through His resurrection and through His appearance and acceptance to God the Father where He has remained and is perpetually there to service us with the power of God's Holy Spirit and to lead us by His Holy Spirit. No law can do that!

Does that release us from any obligation to keep the Laws of God? May it not be! No! We are to serve in 'newness of spirit' with love, with belief.

Verse 22: "But the Scriptures have shut up all things under sin, so that by the faith of Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe." You have to believe that God has done such a fantastic and wonderful and marvelous thing, that He would send His Son, that the One Who is the Creator of everything that there is, came and lived and died and was resurrected. You have to believe that!

That excludes an awful lot of people. We can say, because the Protestants say they believe that, they are closer to the Truth than the Jews, than the Catholics, than the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or any of the other 'religions' that all have different works of law that they do.

Verse 23: "Now before faith came…" Where does faith come from? Whose faith are we talking about? What did we learn in Gal. 2? We are justified by Christ's very own faith!That faith could not be imparted to us until Christ died and was resurrected and He sent the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a gift from God! Before faith came—even though there were certain ones under the Old Covenant that had faith in God—they didn't have the very faith of Christ as we can have it today.

"…we were guarded under law…" The KJV says that we were under a 'schoolmaster'; that sounds kind of like a taskmaster. Is there anything wrong with being guarded? There's nothing wrong with being guarded, protected by the Law! If you lived in the virtue of the Law and did those things, fine. That gave you a better life than living in total sin—correct? Look at law-abiding citizens in the community, don't they have a better life than those who are drug addicts, those who are drug dealers, those who are murderers and rapists and so forth? Yes!

So, being guarded by or protected by the Law, when you live within it, there's nothing wrong with that. But there has to be more to life than that. That's why even law-abiding citizens say, 'What is there in life? 'I've been good!' But what is there in life?'

I'm dealing with a man who is strictly against religion. I can understand why. I had to do quite a bit of business with him. I think he knows I'm a minister, but I think he's very dumbfounded that I have not tried to convert him. I know that only God the Father can call him and convert him. I also know that he can't stand 'religious' people who try and palm off their 'religion' on him. He fed up with Catholics, Protestants and they have so turned him off—which happens to a lot of people—that he's just going to try and muddle his way through life.

Well, if God is going to call him, and if our relationship builds on a business basis, maybe one day he'll ask me. Then I'll be in a position to tell him, when he asks, and he will be willing to listen.

He's a reasonable decent guy. He's honest, forthright, but he doesn't have Christ. He's going to live his life, and he's got quite a bit of money, and he's beginning to ask—I can hear it when he's talking, because his brother just had a sudden bleeding ulcer and was sick with the flu and taking ten aspirin twice a day. You know how he got his ulcer. The aspirin created the ulcer, he vomited up blood and fell out of the shower and his wife thought he was nearly dead. His heart stopped; they took him to the hospital; it took him time to get him blood. So he has a little stroke effect on his left side.

He's just going to himself, why? My brother is good man. He's doing good things. In the back of his mind he's saying, 'He's worked so hard for all that he has and now that he has it, what happens. Then he had another brother die of a stroke, and I think he's about 55. So, this is going through the back of his mind.

  • That is the futility of the Law!
  • That is the futility of life without Christ!

Before faith came!

Do you understand that even in your own life? That's hard for us to understand. Why? Because we know Christ! We have been given that opportunity through Christ, so maybe you'll understand a little more now.

"…having been shut up unto the faith that was yet to be revealed…. [The faith that is now currently being revealed. That's what it's talking about.] … In this way, the law was our tutor to lead us to Christ…" (vs 23-24). The Law is to teach us:

  • we shouldn't sin
  • law is not the ultimate that there is

There's got to be something greater and beyond, and it is to lead us to Christ' "…that we might be justified by faith" (v 24). That's what it's all about.

Verse 25: "But since faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, because you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (vs 25-26). What does that mean? That means, put very simply, have graduated from the sandbox!

How would like to live life perpetually in the fifth grade. About age 40 you would know that there was something greater in life than the fifth grade! So, when Christ has come, something greater than the Law has come—right? Yes! The Son of God! The Law taught us what was right and wrong, but it didn't take care of what was right and wrong; only God can take care of that! That's what it's talking about here.

Verse 25: "But since faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." That doesn't mean that we don't keep the Laws of God. It means that we do them now through love, automatically. Why? Because the Laws of God are in our heart and mind because we love God!

When you first learned to drive, and if you had a stick-shift, you had to be very careful. You'd get it in gear and the instructor would say to ease down on the throttle and ease up on the clutch and let it go real easy. The first time you did it BAM! you killed it; stopped and he says you didn't do that right, you let the clutch out too fast and you didn't give it enough gas. So, you do it again, and you'd drop the clutch and the thing takes off!

What was happening? You were being tutored by the teacher—correct? He was telling you what was right, what was wrong—he was the law in that sense; a law figure telling you what to do.

Now that you've learned how to drive it, when you get in to start the car, do you say, 'open the door, sit in the car, put in the key, turn on the ignition, push in the clutch, turn the starter, put it into first gear, let off the break, put down your foot gently on the throttle, let your foot up on the clutch gently and go. Now shift into second gear because it is time. Now shift into third gear because it is time. Now we're going down the street 30 mph, now shift into fourth gear.

That's an overextended exaggeration of what it would be like to constantly live under a tutor—correct? You don't go around and say everyday 'I shall not steal; I shall not commit adultery; I shall not lie; I shall honor my father and mother; I shall have no other gods before me.' NO! It's all automatic! You recognize when there's another god before you. You look for ways to keep the commandments of God. You don't look for ways to break the commandments of God.

That's what it means, v 25: "But since faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, because you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into… [the Greek is 'eis'] …Christ did put on Christ" (vs 25-27). How are you put in this faith position with God? Through law-keeping? NO! Through faith in Christ and baptism!

When you have that, how is it that some people say that you don't have to baptized, all you have to do is accept Christ, receive Him? NO! You don't receive Him according to your terms. You receive Him according to His terms, and you must be baptized!

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ" (v 27). Is it greater to have Christ in you, or to have a lapel pin that has the commandments written on it? It is greater to have Christ in you! If you take the commandments of God and say, 'that's fine, that came through Moses, but I don't believe in Christ. I'm going to work out my own salvation my way. Can you save yourself even with the Laws of God? NO! Even with the Laws of God you have no forgiveness of sin, because forgiveness of sin and justification does not come with law-keeping. It comes through Jesus Christ, repentance and baptism.

  • Can you have salvation through the laws and rituals of Hinduism? No!
  • Through Buddhism? No!
  • Through Mohammedism? No!
  • Through Catholicism? No!
  • Through Protestantism? There may be a question mark, according to how they keep the commandments of God!
  • How can you have it? Through Jesus Christ alone! No other way!

Can you have salvation by attending a church, because a church says if you walk out that door you are no longer Christ's? NO! Can you have salvation because the Church says, if you walk in this door, if you're a woman you must be dressed in a certain way; if you're a man you must be dressed in a certain way? NO!

Salvation comes directly from God the Father to each one of you individually, therefore, when you really fully understand about grace and Christ and the Holy Spirit, you do not need a hierarchy over you telling you how you can have access with God. You have it directly. It's not through an apostle, through the evangelist down through the pastors, elders and finally to little ole you sitting here in the church. Through them do you receive God? No way! That is a work of a law stated by a man! It's between you and Christ! Therefore, no one can take your salvation from you. It is through Christ. You must believe in Christ Jesus.

Verse 27: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ." When you have that]: …There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female…" (vs 27-28)—before God. In this physical life we're still male and female, and there are certain things that God requires. But it's saying here there is no respecter of persons with God. If you are Christ's it doesn't matter

  • where you were born
  • what your linage is
  • who you are
  • who your father was
  • who your mother was
  • who your sister was.

It doesn't matter if you are male or female, God is dealing in your life on an equal and individual and separate basis for salvation. That's why law cannot substitute for Christ!That is something—isn't it? Absolutely something!

"…are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (vs 28-29).

I know that it's been a little tough and difficult. These are pretty weighty Scriptures. Like Peter said, 'Paul wrote some things hard to be understood' because we are dealing with eternal life and we're dealing with all the mixture of these terrible little heresies that came along and tore the Church apart.

  • Once we have gotten through all of this complication, can you understand the simplicity in Christ? Yes!
  • Do you understand the proper perspective of commandment-keeping? Yes!

God is greater!

This helps you have more love and respect for God, more love and respect for each other, and it relieves a great burden from everyone. You don't have to live the other person's life to make sure that they are good. You can help them! You can love them! Let God deal with them! Let God make sure that they are good! You take care of your life and make sure that you have that faithful right contact with God the Father, through Christ, and God will also take care of you.

That makes it very simple, very good. Just think how if this were preached, this would stop the gossip chain that has ruined people's lives. Just think how if this were preached, this would stop the ministerial gestapoism that has been executed upon so many people. Not only those that we know of, but also in denominations like the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Catholics, different things like this, where they have had ministerial and priestly gestapoism exercised in their lives.

That's why we all need to point to Christ and all need to love Him in faith. Now we have the complete structure on the foundation so we'll know what Paul is talking about.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter (except where noted)

Scriptural Referenced:

  • Galatians 3:6-14
  • John 6:26-29
  • Matthew 19:16-22
  • Luke 18:10-14
  • Acts 2:36-38
  • Matthew 11:12-13
  • Luke 16:16-17
  • Matthew 3:1-2
  • Mark 1:14-15
  • John 1:1-17
  • Galatians 3:15-27
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-56
  • Galatians 3:21-26, 25-29

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1 Corinthians 6
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Revelation 21; 22
  • Galatians 2

Transcribed: 10-14-12