Paul taught we can’t earn our salvation but by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9), while Jesus taught we must be worthy to receive salvation (Luke 20:35-36) which is by keeping God’s commandments (Matt 19:16-19; Rev 22:14). Jesus never taught salvation by grace anywhere. The grace Jesus taught is conditional (Matt 22:1-14), reversible (Matt 18:21-35) and expiring (Luke 13:6-9) – given only to become righteous and holy before being cut off.
In this third chapter of Galatians, we will look into how Paul is lying.
Faith without Obedience is Obeying the Truth
Gal 3:1-6 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? – just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
As we saw in the earlier chapter, the gentiles were never given the law, nor they were under in anytime. Paul is writing to Galatians who seems to have been following the law. What is Paul referring to ‘obeying the truth’ and faith?
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Jas 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
The faith Paul refers to does not include any works or anything we can do. It is a faith without obedience. To have such a faith is what Paul refers to ‘obeying the truth’. Paul is laying the foundation for this lie so that he can later deceive that this faith being imputed for righteousness which does not require any obedience.
Gal 6:11-13 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
Paul repeatedly refers to works of the law in this letter. So, what is he referring to? Is he referring to God’s commandments?
Rom 7:9-11 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Rejecting God’s commandments is not new for Paul. However, in this letter, he seems to refer circumcision as the works of the law in most instances.
Foundation of Paul’s lies
Gal 3:7-9 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Let’s see what the God actually said:
Gen 17:7-11,14 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. … “And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
The covenant God made with Abraham was that He will give all the land of Canaan to his descendants, not gentiles. The sign of that covenant is circumcision. Circumcision is so important that any uncircumcised male will be cut off and had broken the covenant. Hence, according to Paul, an uncircumcised gentile can become part of God’s covenant with Abraham without actually obeying the rules of the covenant, thus nullifying what God spoke.
Gal 3:10-11 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”
Let us see what Jesus said about justification by the law.
Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
How was the tax-collector justified in the Temple?
Lev 26:41b-42 if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt– then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.
The tax-collector was justified by the law as taught by Jesus Christ himself, yet Paul lied that no one is justified by the law.
Gal 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Is the law not of faith? Let’s validate the Pharisee’s statement with what Jesus Christ taught.
Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Faith is one of the weightier matters of the law. Yet, Paul again lied that law is not of faith.
Abraham’s blessing and his seed
Gal 3:13-14 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.
How can Christ redeem gentiles from the curse of the law, when gentiles were never under the law anytime? What exactly is the blessing of Abraham?
Gen 28:4 And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham.”
The blessing of Abraham was all about inheriting the land of Canaan as promised to his descendants. It is not about receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 3:15-18 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Is Paul even correct in comparing Seed to Christ? The ‘seed’ was actually used in Septuagint (LXX).
Gen 13:15-16 for all the land which thou seest, I will give it to thee and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed like the dust of the earth; if any one is able to number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed be numbered. (LXX)
As we see in the above verse, the usage of seed simply means descendants. Hence, it is wrong for Paul to compare the seed to only Christ.
Gal 3:19-22 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
As we already saw earlier, the ‘seed’ is not Christ but rather the descendants of Abraham to whom the land of Canaan was promised.
Does the law say that it would give life and righteousness by the law? Yes, indeed.
Deut 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’
As we see above, law say that it would preserve them alive as they lived on that day and righteousness by the law, declaring Paul a liar.
Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
As we saw earlier, the law is of faith. Paul being a Pharisee totally ignored faith in the law (Matt 23:23).
Sons of God?
Gal 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
When did Christ say that the worthy will become sons of God?
Luke 20:35-36 “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Those who are worthy to attain the next age are called sons of God in the resurrection, not now.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Being children of God is not yet revealed and it is our hope. However, contrary to Paul, John teaches to purify ourselves instead of just faith in Christ.
Gal 3:27-28 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
What does Paul mean by put on Christ?
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
According to Paul’s doctrine, a person is saved by faith and become a child of God. Having become a child of God, we need to be like Christ (put on Christ), and this obedience is not going to save us but we do it because we love God. This is in total contradiction of what Jesus taught.
Matt 5:28-29 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Paul is teaching that you can still have lust but not to fulfill it in the flesh but Jesus taught not even to lust and even cut off the flesh to be sinless.
John 8:34-35 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
Jesus does not even call a sinner as His son, but a slave who will not abide in His house forever.
Gal 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Finally, Paul concludes that Abraham’s seed are the gentiles and they become Abraham’s heirs. Relating Abraham’s seed to Christ was the first mistake. He went to great lengths to explain that it is not ‘Seeds’ but ‘Seed’. Then, calling all gentiles as Abraham’s Seed. Further, gentiles become Abraham’s heirs without the need to obey the rules of the covenant which God gave to Abraham, thus rejecting what God the Father spoke regarding the covenant.