Galatians 3 and 4 advances Paul’s case. Beginning in chapter 3, we repeatedly see the twin elements of #8, the New Birth of God’s salvation, and the necessity of our #7, faith in Christ alone in order to become a true beneficiary of it… 11 times!!! It is precisely what Paul is saying in verses 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 22, 24 and 26. It is all based upon #4, the Savior having been #5, crucified, v.1, and redeeming us, v.13+14. The alternative is the curse of #3, severe judgment told in verse 10, but that Christ, as our #4, Savior, bore our #3, judgment for us in verse 13. This is all to result in our being declared #1, righteous by God, like Abraham was says verse 6, and again in verses 11 and 21. The necessary righteousness for salvation comes thru faith in Jesus Christ, and not by attempting to keep any law! The Law came later to show that we were all sinners and to condemn us, so we might see our need of the Savior, says verses 19-25!!!
From chapter 4, Paul explains the difference between the two, righteousness by faith or by law-works; and that the difference was the coming of the Savior, verses 1 thru 4. The #4, Savior came to redeem us, verses 4+5, that we might receive the Spirit in a #8 New Birth of true salvation, verses 5 thru 7. Then, for all the rest of the chapter, verses 8 thru 31, Paul is contrasting all those engaged in religion, and how that does not save, with the #8, New Birth that comes with #7, believing the #5, Gospel mentioned in verse 13. The result of the New Birth is seen in expressions of the #9, New Life in Christ with joy in verse 15 and becoming more and more Christ-like in verse 19. Those trying to be good enough by engaging in religion are enslaved. But, those who have been Born Again thru faith in Christ have been set free! Have you been Born Again? Are you saved? Have you been set free from religion?
We see 4 new things in Galatians. First, that Christ in you is your necessary righteousness, 1:16. Second, that the Law’s death penalty was carried out in every one of us, as we were crucified with Christ, 2:20. Third, that when we believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we were baptized into Christ, 3:27. And, fourth, our New Life after conversion has to do with a being clothed with Christ, so that we are as Christ in this world, also in 3:27. Now, in keeping with Paul’s writing practice, chapters 5 and 6 will be all about how believers are to really live in Christ, in the light of ‘the truth of the Gospel’ that we are saved when we believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Born Again by the Holy Spirit. It has nothing to do with the old slavery of ‘religion.’ This is what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell