The Galatian Question: Law or Faith?

Paul seems irritated with the Galatians as he begins the third chapter of his Letter: “O stupid Galatians!” He was not accusing them of being senseless, he was warning them of the danger in deserting their salvation. Faith in Christ is all that is required to be righteous in God's eyes.

Believing in Jesus

The Christians in Galatia believed in Jesus and lived in freedom through him. In Paul’s teaching, they “saw” Christ as crucified and experienced the Holy Spirit. Perhaps they spoke in tongues and saw miracles happen through the work of God's Spirit. Then a group of false teachers known as the Judaizers showed up. They said it was necessary to believe in Jesus, but they also claimed that for non-Jewish people to be included in the family of God, men must be circumcised and everyone must follow the law of Moses.

Blessing or Curse?

Paul asks them if the Spirit comes from God as a result of hearing the truth by faith or by doing works of the law (3:5). He begins to show that the Scriptures have always pointed to God's blessing coming by faith and a curse from God coming through the law (3:10-11). For centuries, visible expressions of Jewish life like circumcision, food restrictions and observance of the Sabbath were badges that separated them from Gentiles.


Jesus came to gather together all nations and the laws which divided Israel from the world were considered outdated and expired. Faith in Jesus is all including and does not exclude anyone. The invisible that works in us, the spirit, is visible to the outside through the works of the same spirit. Let us pray that these works will open us up to include the excluded.