Galatians 3:1-3:9

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Text: Galatians 3:1-9

Aim: To show that salvation was by faith in Christ alone



There was confusion among the Galatians regarding the means of salvation. The Scriptures consistently teach that a man is saved by believing the gospel.

John 1:11-12 - (11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 3:14-16 - (14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 - (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 - (36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:24 - (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 20:30-31 - (30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: (31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 16:31 - (31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Romans 1:16-17 - (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Ephesians 2:8-10 - (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.



It may be difficult for us to imagine, but there was confusion among the Galatian believers regarding how they were saved.

Galatians 3:1 - (1) O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Who hath bewitched you? suggests, Who has put a hex on you? or, Who has put a spell on you?

That ye should not obey suggests the result of their having been bewitched by someone and suggests, So that you should not obey or with the result that you not obey.

In order to demonstrate that faith alone is God's method of saving people, Paul asks four questions.

1. How did you receive the Holy Spirit? - 3:2

Galatians 3:2 - (2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

2. How will you be sanctified? - 3:3

Galatians 3:3 - (3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

3. Did you suffer in vain? - 3:4

Galatians 3:4 - (4) Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

4. On what basis did God perform miracles? - 3:5

Galatians 3:5 - (5) He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?


1. Abraham was justified by believing God - 3:6

A parallel situation is introduced in verse 6 for purposes of comparison.

Even as means that Abraham was justified in the same way - by the hearing of faith. Justification has nothing to do with law keeping. It is entirely on the principle of faith.

Galatians 3:6 - (6) Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

2. Just as Abraham was saved by faith, so his children will be saved by faith - 3:7-8

Apparently the Jewish teachers were teaching that, in order to be real sons of Abraham, the Galatians had to be circumcised.

Paul refutes this. The real sons of Abraham are saved by faith. Abraham was reckoned righteous before he was circumcised.

Galatians 3:7-8 - (7) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (8) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Compare Romans 4:10-11 ,

Romans 4:10-11 - (10) How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircum-cision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircum-cision. (11) And he received the sign of circum-cision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteous-ness might be imputed unto them also.

In the same way, the nations, i.e. the Gentiles who believe, will be saved by faith as Gentiles. They will not be saved by becoming Jews.

3. Although provision was made for all nations, only those who have faith will be justified - 3:9

Galatians 3:9 - (9) So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

All those who exercise faith in God will be declared righteous with believing Abraham according to the testimony of the Jewish Scriptures.


Thus, we see that we are not only justified by faith but that we are sanctified by faith as well. As a consequence of our justification by faith, we become spiritual descendants of Abraham and are blessed with Abraham as his spiritual descendants.