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Galatians 3 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

God’s Blessing Comes Through Faith

You people in Galatia are so foolish! Why do I say this? Because I told you very clearly about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But now it seems as though you have let someone use their magical powers to make you forget. Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it. You began your life in Christ with the Spirit. Now do you try to complete it by your own power? That is foolish. You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope they were not wasted! Does God give you the Spirit because you follow the law? Does God work miracles among you because you follow the law? No, God gives you his Spirit and works miracles among you because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it.

The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham. “Abraham believed God, and because of this faith he was accepted as one who is right with God.”[a] So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith. The Scriptures told what would happen in the future. These writings said that God would make the non-Jewish people right through their faith. God told this Good News to Abraham before it happened. God said to Abraham, “I will use you to bless all the people on earth.”[b] Abraham believed this, and because he believed, he was blessed. All people who believe are blessed the same as Abraham was.

10 But people who depend on following the law to make them right are under a curse. As the Scriptures say, “They must do everything that is written in the law. If they do not always obey, they are under a curse.”[c] 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by the law. The Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live forever.”[d]

12 The law does not depend on faith. No, it says that the only way a person will find life by the law is to obey its commands.[e] 13 The law says we are under a curse for not always obeying it. But Christ took away that curse. He changed places with us and put himself under that curse. The Scriptures say, “Anyone who is hung on a tree[f] is under a curse.”[g] 14 Because of what Jesus Christ did, the blessing God promised to Abraham was given to all people. Christ died so that by believing in him we could have the Spirit that God promised.

The Law and the Promise

15 Brothers and sisters, let me give you an example from everyday life: Think about an agreement that one person makes with another. After that agreement is made official, no one can stop it or add anything to it, and no one can ignore it. 16 God made promises to Abraham and his Descendant.[h] The Scripture does not say, “and to your descendants.” That would mean many people. But it says, “and to your Descendant.” That means only one, and that one is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: The agreement that God gave to Abraham was made official long before the law came. The law came 430 years later. So the law could not take away the agreement and change God’s promise.

18 Can following the law give us the blessing God promised? If we could receive it by following the law, then it would not be God’s promise that brings it to us. But God freely gave his blessings to Abraham through the promise God made.

19 So what was the law for? The law was given to show the wrong things people do. The law would continue until the special Descendant of Abraham came. This is the Descendant mentioned in the promise, which came directly from God. But the law was given through angels, and the angels used Moses as a mediator to give the law to the people. 20 But when God gave the promise, there was no mediator, because a mediator is not needed when there is only one side, and God is one.[i]

The Purpose of the Law of Moses

21 Does this mean that the law works against God’s promises? Of course not. The law was never God’s way of giving new life to people. If it were, then we could be made right with God by following the law. 22 But this is not possible. The Scriptures put the whole world in prison under the control of sin, so that the only way for people to get what God promised would be through faith in[j] Jesus Christ. It is given to those who believe in him.

23 Before this faith came, the law held us as prisoners. We had no freedom until God showed us the way of faith that was coming. 24 I mean the law was the guardian in charge of us until Christ came. After he came, we could be made right with God through faith. 25 Now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law to be our guardian.

26-27 You were all baptized into Christ, and so you were all clothed with Christ. This shows that you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 28 Now, in Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or free, male or female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. 29 You belong to Christ, so you are Abraham’s descendants. You get all of God’s blessings because of the promise that God made to Abraham.

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:6 Quote from Gen. 15:6.
  2. Galatians 3:8 Quote from Gen. 12:3.
  3. Galatians 3:10 Quote from Deut. 27:26.
  4. Galatians 3:11 Quote from Hab. 2:4.
  5. Galatians 3:12 the only way … commands See Lev. 18:5.
  6. Galatians 3:13 hung on a tree Deut. 21:22-23 says that when a person was killed for doing wrong, his body was hung on a tree to show shame. Paul means the cross of Jesus was like that.
  7. Galatians 3:13 Quote from Deut. 21:23.
  8. Galatians 3:16 Descendant Literally, “seed,” which could also mean “family.” In that case, it would refer to the one family of God in Christ.
  9. Galatians 3:20 Literally, “But the mediator is not of one, but God is one.”
  10. Galatians 3:22 faith in Or “the faithfulness of.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Galatians 3 New International Version (NIV)

Faith or Works of the Law

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:3 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
  2. Galatians 3:4 Or suffered
  3. Galatians 3:6 Gen. 15:6
  4. Galatians 3:8 Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18
  5. Galatians 3:10 Deut. 27:26
  6. Galatians 3:11 Hab. 2:4
  7. Galatians 3:12 Lev. 18:5
  8. Galatians 3:13 Deut. 21:23
  9. Galatians 3:16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  10. Galatians 3:23 Or through the faithfulness of Jesus … 23 Before faith came
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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