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Galatians  ◦   Chapter 3

1 You foolish Galatians! Who has clouded your minds and confused your thinking such that you would prefer lies to the truth? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified, and as the only Remedy for our sin-infected minds!2 I would like to know just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit of love and truth, and experience his healing power, by practicing rituals and observing rules, or was it by understanding and believing the truth that you heard?3 Are you really so foolish that you think that after experiencing the healing power of the Spirit, which came by trust alone, you can now complete the healing process by your own effort–without the Spirit?4 Have you really gone so far in the treatment course for nothing? And it will be for nothing if you persist in trying to heal yourselves!5 Is it because you observe a set of rules that God enlightens your minds with his Spirit and miraculously transforms your characters, or is it because you have been won to trust by the evidence Jesus revealed?

6 Consider Abraham: "He trusted God, and his trust was recognized as righteousness: The distrust caused through Satan's lies had been removed, and through trust he was endowed with a new heart, right motives, and Christlike principles."7 Be clear on this: All those who trust God as he did, experience the same transformation of character and are considered children of Abraham.8 The Scriptures foretold that God would set the Gentiles right with himself by trust–just like Abraham–and announced this incredible good news to Abraham: "All nations, peoples and ethnic groups will be blessed through you."9 So those who trust God experience healing of heart and mind — just like Abraham, who trusted God.

10 All who try to get well and experience unity with God by observing certain rituals, or following a written script, or obeying a set of rules are abandoned to their own fate, for it is written: "Abandoned to their own choice is everyone who fails in the slightest to do everything written in the Book of the Law."11 Clearly, no one is healed and set right with God by working to follow a set of rules, because "Those set right with God live by trust."12 The written law, as applied by the Jews, is not based on trust; on the contrary, it is based on individual performance–on attempts to heal oneself–as it is written: "The one who works to save self will live in fear and only get worse."13 Christ saved us from where the law leaves us–diagnosed as terminal and abandoned to die–by being himself abandoned on the cross in order to restore us to trust and to purge humanity from the infection of selfishness and death; for it is written: "Abandoned to die is everyone who is hung on a tree."14He saved us from a futile, self-focused works system in order that the blessings of love, life, and freedom–given to Abraham–might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that by trust we might receive the full enlightenment, renewal, and regeneration of heart and mind that comes by the Spirit.

15 Brothers and sisters, consider the example of a legal contract: Just as no one can simply make void or change a legal contract that has been properly established, so it is in this case.16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his seed. The Scripture does not say "seeds," meaning many people or all his descendants, but "your seed," meaning one single person, who is Jesus Christ.17 What I am trying to make clear is this: The law–the diagnostic instrument designed to reveal our illness, and the symbolic script designed to teach God's true Remedy–introduced four hundred and thirty years later, does not make void the agreement previously established by God and thus does not replace the promise, but it was designed to help us see and appreciate the promise.18 For if our healing and restoration could be accomplished by keeping the law or performing rituals, then God did not need to promise to heal us, because we could have healed ourselves; but God did graciously promise Abraham to provide the only Remedy to cure our sin-sick hearts and minds.

19 If God promised to heal us, then what was the purpose of the law? It was added because of our sin-sick state–our darkened minds and the rapid rate at which we were destroying ourselves–in order to diagnose our condition and teach us a healthier way to live until the only true cure, Jesus (the promised One) had come. God communicated this law through angels, and then through Moses as an intermediary to the people.20 But when there is only one party involved–and God and his Son Jesus are One–an intermediary is not needed.

21 Is the written law, then, somehow in opposition to the promises of God? Of course not! The written law was simply a tool to diagnose our sickness and lead us to God for healing. If the written law could somehow cure the infection of selfishness and promote life, then healing would certainly have followed the giving of the law.22 But Scripture is clear: All humanity is infected with selfishness and is imprisoned by this terminal condition. It is by trust that we experience the only cure, the One promised–Jesus Christ–who was given to humankind as the Remedy to this terminal condition.

23 Before Christ came, we were quarantined by the written law–restrained from continual self-destruction–until Christ procured the only true cure.24 The written law was provided as a safeguard to protect us and lead us to Christ–the Great Physician–so that we might be restored to unity with God by trust in, and partaking of, Christ.25 Now that trust in God has been restored–and we are set right in heart, mind, and character, and again practice God's methods–we no longer need the law to diagnose our condition or lead us back to God.

26 Through the Remedy established by Jesus Christ you are all loyal children of God,27 for all of you who have immersed your minds and hearts into the truth of God as revealed by Christ have had your characters changed, and–like a new set of clothing–replaced with the character of Christ.28 Your station on earth is irrelevant: it doesn't matter whether you are Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female–for you are all one in character, method, principle and motive through all that Christ has done.29 If you are Christlike in heart and mind, then you are one of Abraham's descendants and an heir to all the promises of God.