You foolish Galatians! Whose sophistry has bewitched you--you to whom Jesus Christ has been vividly portrayed as on the Cross?
Answer me this one question, 'Is it on the ground of your obedience to the Law that you received the Spirit, or is it because, when you heard, you believed?'
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now going to reach perfection through what is external?
Have you endured such sufferings to no purpose--if indeed it has been to no purpose?
He who gives you His Spirit and works miracles among you--does He do so on the ground of your obedience to the Law, or is it the result of your having heard and believed:
even as Abraham believed God, and his faith was placed to his account as righteousness?
Notice therefore that those who possess faith are true sons of Abraham.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that in consequence of faith God would declare the nations to be free from guilt, sent beforehand the Good News to Abraham, saying, 'In you all the nations shall be blessed.'
So we see that it is those who possess faith that are blessed with believing Abraham.
All who are depending upon their own obedience to the Law are under a curse, for it is written, 'Cursed is every one who does not remain faithful to all the precepts of the Law, and practise them.'
It is evident, too, that no one can find acceptance with God simply by obeying the Law, because 'the righteous shall live by faith,'
and the Law has nothing to do with faith. It teaches that 'he who does these things shall live by doing them.'
Christ has purchased our freedom from the curse of the Law by becoming accursed for us--because 'Cursed is every one who is hanged upon a tree.'
Our freedom has been thus purchased in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing belonging to Abraham may come upon the nations, so that through faith we may receive the promised Spirit.
Brethren, even a covenant made by a man--to borrow an illustration from daily life--when once formally sanctioned is not liable to be set aside or added to.
(Now the promises were given to Abraham and to his seed. God did not say 'and to seeds,' as if speaking of many, but 'and to your seed,' since He spoke of only one--and this is Christ.)
I mean that the Covenant which God had already formally made is not abrogated by the Law which was given four hundred and thirty years later--so as to annul the promise.
For if the inheritance comes through obedience to Law, it no longer comes because of a promise. But, as a matter of fact, God has granted it to Abraham in fulfilment of a promise.
Why then was the Law given? It was imposed later on for the sake of defining sin, until the seed should come to whom God had made the promise; and its details were laid down by a mediator with the help of angels.
But there cannot be a mediator where only one individual is concerned.
God, however, is only one. Is the Law then opposed to the promises of God? No, indeed; for if a Law had been given which could have conferred Life, righteousness would certainly have come by the Law.
But Scripture has shown that all mankind are the prisoners of sin, in order that the promised blessing, which depends on faith in Jesus Christ, may be given to those who believe.
Before this faith came, we Jews were perpetual prisoners under the Law, living under restraints and limitations in preparation for the faith which was soon to be revealed.
So that the Law has acted the part of a tutor-slave to lead us to Christ, in order that through faith we may be declared to be free from guilt.
But now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor-slave.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus;
for all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ.
In Him the distinctions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free man, male and female, disappear; you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are indeed true descendants of Abraham, and are heirs in fulfilment of the promise.