You foolish people of Galatia! Who has put you under an evil spell? When I preached, I clearly showed you that Jesus Christ had been nailed to the cross.
I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard?
Are you so foolish? You began with the Holy Spirit. Are you now trying to complete God's work in you by your own strength?
Have you suffered so much for nothing? And was it really for nothing?
Why does God give you his Spirit? Why does he work miracles among you? Is it because you do what the law says? Or is it because you believe what you have heard?
Think about Abraham. Scripture says, "Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God."(Genesis 15:6)
So you see, those who have faith are children of Abraham.
Long ago, Scripture knew that God would make non-Jews right with himself by believing in him. He announced the good news ahead of time to Abraham. He said, "All nations will be blessed because of you."(Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18)
So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham. He was the man of faith.
All who depend on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, "May everyone who doesn't continue to do everything that is written in the Book of the Law be under God's curse."(Deuteronomy 27:26)
We know that no one is made right with God by keeping the law. Scripture says, "Those who are right with God will live by faith."(Habakkuk 2:4)
The law is not based on faith. In fact, it is just the opposite. It teaches that "the one who does those things will live by them."(Leviticus 18:5)
Christ set us free from the curse of the law. He did it by becoming a curse for us. It is written, "Everyone who is hung on a pole is under God's curse."(Deuteronomy 21:23)
Christ Jesus set us free so that the blessing given to Abraham would come to non-Jews through Christ. He did it so that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit by believing in Christ.
Brothers and sisters, let me give you an example from everyday life. No one can get rid of an official agreement between people. No one can add to it. It can't be changed after it has been made. It is the same with God's covenant.
The promises were given to Abraham. They were also given to his seed. Scripture does not say, "and to seeds." That means many people. It says, "and to your seed."(Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7) That means one person. And that one person is Christ.
Here is what I mean. The law came 430 years after the promise. But the law does not get rid of God's covenant and promise. The covenant had already been made by God. So the law does not do away with the promise.
The great gift that God has for us does not depend on the law. If it did, it would no longer depend on a promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a free gift through a promise.
Then what was the purpose of the law? It was added because of human sin. And it was supposed to control us until the promised Seed had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a go-between.
A go-between does not take sides. God didn't use a go-between when he made his promise to Abraham. But the same God was at work in both the law and the promise.
So is the law opposed to God's promises? Certainly not! What if a law had been given that could give life? Then people could become right with God by obeying the law.
But Scripture announces that the whole world is a prisoner because of sin. It does so in order that what was promised might be given to those who believe. The promise comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Before faith in Christ came, we were held prisoners by the law. We were locked up until faith was made known.
So the law was put in charge until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ.
But now faith in Christ has come. So we are no longer under the control of the law.
You are all children of God by believing in Christ Jesus.
All of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ as if he were your clothes.
There is no Jew or Greek. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are all one.
You who belong to Christ are Abraham's seed. You will receive what God has promised.