1-5: Paul is using rhetorical questions to show the Galatians how foolish it is to think that their works and following the law is what saved them. After all, it was through faith that they received the Holy Spirit, not by attempting to follow the law.
6-9: Those of faith are sons of Abraham. Not those who follow the law for salvation. Paul points out that it wasn’t obeying God that made Abraham righteous, but believing in God. And that God was going to bless all nations through Abraham, including the Gentiles.
Question: The Galatians received the Holy Spirit and were saved by faith, yet they are trying to go back to following something (the law) that didn’t save them. What are things that you struggle with thinking you must do (or avoid) in order for God to love and be pleased with you?
10-11 Paul is pointing out that those that rely on the works of the law are under a curse because no one can perfectly live up to them. Which means no one can be justified by the law.
12-14: Jesus took the curse we deserved by dying on the cross, so that through faith in him and what he has done, we can be justified.
Question: The idea of grace, that God forgives us and loves us even though we didn’t do anything to deserve it, is hard to believe sometimes. What is it that makes it so hard for us to accepts gifts from other people? How do you think this feeling applies to God’s grace?
Question: While the Galatians initially accepted God’s grace as a free gift, they were now trying to earn God’s favor through their actions. When you look at your experience with Christianity, did you initially think it was something based on faith or rules? How has your perspective changed over the years?
Once a covenant is made, you cannot change it. God promised Abraham that it would be through him that the nations would be blessed. Meaning the law (which came about 430 years after Abraham) isn’t what saves people, as that didn’t come through Abraham, but from God, and thus would have altered the covenant God made with Abraham.
Instead, Jesus, who came from Abraham’s lineage, is the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham. Since the law cannot save anyone (since no one is perfect) our inheritance doesn’t come from the law, but from Jesus.
Question: All their lives, these Jews had been taught to observe the law. Now they are being told that the salvation and relationship with God they had been working to achieve was now being offered as a free gift. How would it make you feel to know everything you were working for was now available for free?
The law did a couple of things. One, it pointed to our need of a savior. Two, it was a guardian, showing people what was wrong and helping restrain people (to a degree) from doing those things.
So the law wasn’t bad, but instead pointed to something greater. Because of Jesus, anyone regardless of ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, etc., is accepted before God through faith.
Question: Paul is putting so much emphasis on being justified by faith. Why then should we do “good” things and follow the commands of Jesus? Other than “Jesus said it so it is the right thing to do,” why do it?