Faith Brings Righteousness

Faith Brings Righteousness

Gal. 3:10-14




1.  I have been asked to do one lesson on the Book of Galatians.   To give an overview or summary of the book focusing attention on the theme “Faith Brings Righteousness.”

2.  My graduate school professor, Jack Cottrell said, after reading some of my papers, “You try to accomplish too much.  You need to narrow your study down to fit the allotted restrictions.”  

3.  I confess.  I am probably trying to accomplish too much in the 40-45 minutes time limitation that we have.  It is hard for me to decide what to leave out of a presentation like this. Additionally, I want give time for your questions and observations.

4.  But here is what we are going to do.

     a.  First, we will consider the background to the book as reflected in chapters 1-2.

     b.  Second, we will focus most of our time on chapters 3-4 where Paul develops his 

           teaching that faith brings righteousness.

     c.  Third, we will briefly note the implications of righteousness by faith in chapters 5-6.

           It is here that Paul says, “This is how you are to live as a result of your faith.”




I.  Paul’s personal experience, especially the one on the Damascus Road, is part of the background to Galatians (1:13-17).


    A.  Paul was one who could put confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3ff).

          1.  I would venture to say he probably was doing this before he was confronted by the 


          2.  But that confrontation produced a radical change of heart.

    B.  The accounts of what happened are recorded in Acts 9:1-30; 22:3-21; 26:4-23.

          1.  The radical nature of the change is evident in Paul’s own words (Acts 22:3-10; 26:9-


          2.  It is evident again in his words in 1 Tim. 1:13-16.

    C.  There is a similarity between what Paul experienced in his commission and what 

           Isaiah experienced in his (cf. Isa. 6:1-8).

           1.  Both are made aware of the glory of the Lord.

           2.  Both are crushed by their sin.

           3.  Both experience the graciousness of the Lord’s forgiveness.

          4.  Both then are commissioned to take the message of God graciousness to the 


     D.  Part of the background of Galatians relates to Paul’s experience preaching to 

           Gentiles (Acts 13:44ff; 15:12).

           1.  There is a question among the scholars about the time of the writing of Galatians.

           2.  Was it written before or after the Jerusalem meeting of Acts 15?  If it was written 

                 after, why did Paul not make the results of that meeting a point in Galatians.

           3.  But I might reason that Gal. 2:1ff does just that.

           4.  Whether it was written before or after, the results of that meeting are certainly 

                 relevant to the churches of Galatia (cf. 1 Cor. 16:1).

                 a.  There were congregations established at Lystra, Iconium, Derbe, Perga and 

                       Pisidian Antioch on the first preaching tour in southern Galatia.

                 b.  While there may have been congregations in northern Galatia they are not 

                        specifically mentioned in Acts.

                 c.   Evidence later reveals congregations at Laodicea, Philadelphia, Ephesus, 

                       Smyrna, Sardis, Pergamum, Troas in what we know as Asia Minor.

      E.  Paul’s personal experiences are part of the background to his understanding of faith 

            bringing righteousness.


II.  The biblical theme of righteousness being received by faith permeates Scripture.


     A.  Hab. 2:4 said, “The righteous will live by his faith.”  Or translated differently, “By faith 

           the righteous will live.”  This is a passage quoted in Rom. 1:17, here in Gal. 3:11, and 

           again in Heb. 10:38.

    B.  The righteousness referred to is NOT a reference to one who is righteous by means of 

          having kept the commandments.  Instead, it is a righteousness granted by God to all 

          those who believe, that is, those who place their trust in God and particularly in what 

          He has done in Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins.  See Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-

          25; 5:6-10; Eph. 2:4-19; Phil. 3:7-9; Col. 2:13-14.

  C.  “As many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse” (Gal. 3:10).

         1.  This principal traces back to Deut. 27:26 quoted in v. 10.

         2.  There were curses spoken from Mount Ebal and blessings from Mount Gerizim.

         3.  Paul quotes Lev. 18:5 in v. 12:  “He who practices them shall/may live by them.”

         4.  But the curse of the law is that though you could live by them you have violated 

               them and so have brought yourself under the curse of death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23a).

   D.  BUT Christ has redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us.

         1.  “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Deut. 21:23).

         2.  Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6).

    E.  The purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:19ff).

          1.  How did it do this?  By condemning us of sin (Rom. 3:19-20).

          2.  It revealed sin and produced death (Rom. 7:7-12).

          3.  There was nothing wrong with the law, but there is something wrong with me.  I am 

                 a violator.  The law reveals that and condemns me to death.

          4.  BUT Christ died for me.  He paid the penalty.  

          5.  Thus, I receive the gift of God’s payment and His forgiveness by trusting NOT in my

                performance of the law, but in His power in paying the penalty for my sin.

    F.  This is the realization that hit Paul between the eyes on the Damascus Road and then 

          prompted his taking this message to Jews and Gentiles.

          1.  Any confidence in circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses had been crushed.

          2.  But, the perception of the so-called Judaizing teachers, who called for 

                circumcision and observance of the law of Moses violated the whole idea of “faith 

                bringing salvation.”

     G.  Paul even connects salvation by faith back to the promise made to Abraham (Gal. 


           1.  He does use the concept of law in different senses.

           2.  He uses it regarding “law keeping” as a method of achieving righteousness.

           3.  The Judaizers approach to the law of Moses was a method of “law keeping.”

           4.  Paul’s point “righteousness comes by faith, NOT by law keeping” (i.e., by keeping 

                 the law of Moses or the law written on the Gentile’s hearts, see Rom. 1:15).  Cf. 

                Gal. 5:2-6.


III.  If we are saved by faith does that mean we are free to disobey the law?  Absolutely not!


      A.  “Faith works through love” (5:6).

      B.  “Do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve 

             one another” (5:13-15).

      C.  “Walk by the Spirit! And do not carry out the desire of the flesh” (5:16ff).

             1.  The deeds of the flesh (19-21).

             2.  The fruit of the Spirit (22-26).

      D.  It is not about circumcision, but about a new creation (15).




1.  Faith does bring righteousness.

2.  Law keeping does not because we are already violators of the law.

3.  God has paid the penalty of the death that we deserve.

4.  By trusting in what He has done for us in Jesus Christ we can receive the gift of righteousness.



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