SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In this chapter Paul talks about how, throughout history, God has wanted people to put their trust in him. Paul uses Abraham (see Genesis 11:26 - 25:18) as an example of someone who put his trust in God.
- He warns the Galatians that they are going from basing their relationship on a trust in God and what Jesus had done for them, to basing it on doing good works and following the law. He tells them that if they insist on approaching God that way, they won't be able to have a relationship with God because they can not keep the law perfectly. So they will remain "under a curse."
- The middle section (the "Law and the Promise") is confusing, but Paul is basically explaining that Jesus fulfilled the promise God gave to Abraham so many years earlier. The law (of the Old Testament) did not take the place of the promise. The purpose of the law was never to make people good enough for God. Instead, it was meant to reveal our sinfulness and our need for a Savior.
- In the last section we learn that we have the opportunity to become children of God. When we put our faith in Jesus (verse 26) and are baptized (verse 27) we are clothed with Christ and adopted as God's child. When we become children of Got it knocks down the walls that divide us and we become one in Christ (verse 28).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- It's impossible to gain acceptance with God by human effort. Our good works and even right motivations are not what make us acceptable to God... and they never will. Not that good works and proper motivation are a bad thing; God wants us to do and have them. But what makes us acceptable to God is our faith that Jesus’ sacrifice pays our ransom and frees us from the slavery of sin.
- As a child of God, all other believers are your brothers and sisters. There's no place for pride or comparison or discrimination in God's Kingdom.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you ever wonder whether you're acceptable in God’s eyes? We will never be able to earn God’s love. But the good news is that despite what we’ve done or where we’ve been, God has always loved us and he always will. This is one of those truths that’s easy to say but difficult to believe. Spend some time in the following days ruminating on God’s love, what it means for you personally, and who you are in his eyes.
- Is there a person, or a type of people, you tend to look down on? Ask God to change your heart and give you His love for that person, or type of person. Look for ways you can love and serve them instead of judging them.