You stupid people of Galatia! Who put you under an evil spell? Wasn't Christ Jesus' crucifixion clearly described to you?
I want to learn only one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by your own efforts to live according to a set of standards or by believing what you heard?
Are you that stupid? Did you begin in a spiritual way only to end up doing things in a human way?
Did you suffer so much for nothing? [I doubt] that it was for nothing!
Does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you through your own efforts or through believing what you heard?
Abraham serves as an example. He believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.
You must understand that people who have faith are Abraham's descendants.
Scripture saw ahead of time that God would give his approval to non-Jewish people who have faith. So Scripture announced the Good News to Abraham ahead of time when it said, "Through you all the people of the world will be blessed."
So people who believe are blessed together with Abraham, the man of faith.
Certainly, there is a curse on all who rely on their own efforts to live according to a set of standards because Scripture says, "Whoever doesn't obey everything that is written in Moses' Teachings is cursed."
No one receives God's approval by obeying the law's standards since, "The person who has God's approval will live by faith."
Laws have nothing to do with faith, but, "Whoever obeys laws will live because of the laws he obeys."
Christ paid the price to free us from the curse that God's laws bring by becoming cursed instead of us. Scripture says, "Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed."
[Christ paid the price] so that the blessing promised to Abraham would come to all the people of the world through Jesus Christ and we would receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Brothers and sisters, let me use an example from everyday life. No one can cancel a person's will or add conditions to it once that will is put into effect.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. Scripture doesn't say, "descendants," referring to many, but "your descendant," referring to one. That descendant is Christ.
This is what I mean: The laws [given to Moses] 430 years after God had already put his promise [to Abraham] into effect didn't cancel the promise [to Abraham].
If we have to gain the inheritance by following those laws, then it no longer comes to us because of the promise. However, God freely gave the inheritance to Abraham through a promise.
What, then, is the purpose of the laws given to Moses? They were added to identify what wrongdoing is. Moses' laws did this until the descendant to whom the promise was given came. It was put into effect through angels, using a mediator.
A mediator is not used when there is only one person involved, and God has acted on his own.
Does this mean, then, that the laws given to Moses contradict God's promises? That's unthinkable! If those laws could give us life, then certainly we would receive God's approval because we obeyed them.
But Scripture states that the whole world is controlled by the power of sin. Therefore, a promise based on faith in Jesus Christ could be given to those who believe.
We were kept under control by Moses' laws until this faith came. We were under their control until this faith which was about to come would be revealed.
Before Christ came, Moses' laws served as our guardian. Christ came so that we could receive God's approval by faith.
But now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the control of a guardian.
You are all God's children by believing in Christ Jesus.
Clearly, all of you who were baptized in Christ's name have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants and heirs, as God promised.