In the next entry in this series, we will examine Galatians and check if it proves the Law was a curse annulled through Christ.

As we have seen, context is everything. So let's first establish:

1) Who were the Galatians?

2) Why is Paul writing this letter?

Who were the Galatians?

Galatia was located in Turkey and primarily consisted of Celtic tribes. These tribes worshipped nature and turned to seers and druids to help them worship the Earth. As such, they held many pagan practices, which they mixed into their Christian practices. Many of these practices are still seen today in Christian holidays such as Christmas.

Upon hearing the gospel from the disciples, they began to embrace their newfound faith. They believed in Yeshua and their salvation, but were confused due to the teaching of Yeshua and the teaching of the Pharisees. Let's see how this all unfolds:

The Initial Premise

If we read the first few chapters, the premise becomes clear. There is a dispute among the Galatians over their doctrine. Did they need to be circumcised to secure salvation? This was the question causing problems, and Paul is writing his letter to address these concerns.

These concerns seemed to have arisen due to the Jewish leaders (i.e. Pharisees) adding their laws onto God's Law. This is commonly known as the Oral Law or Talmud, and as per the Lord Himself:

 Deu 12:32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

The practice of adding human traditions onto the Law is strictly forbidden.

Chapter 1: The Letter

Starting from Chapter 1, Paul writes his greetings and when we hit verse 6 he expresses his concern that the believers were so easily swayed into false doctrine:

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

 Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul then highlights the importance of not promoting a gospel other than the one given to us and that anyone who does teach a different gospel is under a curse:

Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Paul continues to write about his testimony (i.e. Damascus awakening) and begins to point out how, before his conversion, he too was a Pharisee, who followed the Oral Law / Talmud (The FAKE Law with human traditions):

Gal 1:14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

The Oral Law / Talmud is still widely followed by today's Jews. It is important to note, that here Christians do not practice these Jewish traditions as they are false teachings made by men. God's Law does not equal modern-day Jewish traditions!

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Chapter 2: Paul starts addressing the issue of circumcision

This is the main question the people of Galatia had - Do we need to be circumcised to be saved? According to the Talmud, this is mandatory to be saved. All of the Jewish people were circumcised (As this is a commandment given by God that on the 8th day, you should be circumcised), however, the Gentiles (I.e. the people of Galatia, who were new to the faith), were not circumcised.

Gal 2:1 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.

Gal 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

Here Paul gives some context, stating he shared everything according to what was done in Jerusalem. He then brings the focus on circumcision with the next verse:

Gal 2:3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

Gal 2:4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

Gal 2:4 is a common verse used by modern Christians to argue that God's Law is done away with. But ask yourself - so far, what have we read? We know that the Galatia people have fallen away from the doctrine of God. The specific point they are not sure about is if circumcision is a pre-requisite to be saved. This idea is being pushed by the Pharisees, who follow their own traditions alongside God's Law. Paul then rebukes them, saying that the Talmud is mere human teachings.

Is Paul saying that these "false brothers" (Pharisees) are trying to take them back to God's Law or take you back to the Talmud? What makes sense in this context? Of course the Talmud!

So here, Paul calls out false brothers who tried to bring the followers of Yeshua back into the Talmud / Traditions of men.

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The leaders of Galatia and the Pharisees had failed to understand the scriptures properly. While circumcision was prominent throughout the ages for God's people, it has never been a prerequisite for salvation.

Paul then continues to write about the different people in the ministry - Himself for the Gentiles, Peter for the Jews, etc...

The topic of circumcision comes up again when we get to verse 11. Here Paul mentions how he corrected Peter in his handling of a situation involving Jews and Gentiles. This is an eye-opening story about the culture of the time. Jews were forbidden to be near Gentiles. This has nothing to do with scripture, but more because of the social climate of the time.

This was so bad, that God even sent a vision of Peter to stop him from continuing to treat Gentiles differently. We dive deep into his vision in our Forbidden Food Series Part II.

Gal 2:11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

 Gal 2:12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

Gal 2:13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

Gal 2:14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Gal 2:15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles

The circumcision group here refers to the people who held to the view that Gentiles could not be saved unless they were circumcised. They are also referred to as the "Circumcision Party". This was a big sect within the Pharisees and did not represent ALL Pharisees.

Peter was "promoting" or siding with the circumcision group because he withdrew himself from being with the Gentiles. This needed correction. Paul points out these hypocritical actions to Peter - By not associating himself with Gentiles, his actions are implying that without circumcision, Gentiles are not saved.

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This brings us to a commonly used verses to dispute following God's Law:

 Gal 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Paul now focuses on the Galatians, explaining to them that salvation is NOT attained through obedience to God's Word. Salvation has always been a free gift through faith to all who believe in Yeshua and his death and resurrection.

If it was possible to work or obey your way to salvation through the Law, then God did not need to send His Son.

Paul then points out that by following a commandment (circumcision) to attain salvation, you are then trying to obey your way to Heaven. This is not possible. So the doctrine of the Pharisees is false. Even in the Old Testament, justification was never given through circumcision.

Let's continue reading:

Gal 2:17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Gal 2:18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

Paul is referring to the Talmud / Oral Law here. If he rebuilt the Oral Law / Traditions of the Elders, which is what he turned away from, then he would be a lawbreaker in the eyes of Christ. This is because the Oral Law often contradicted God's Law.

Now, taking all of this into context, let's critically look at verse 19:

Gal 2:19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Paul is speaking about the two laws here - and our English-translated Bibles have let us down here. The verse should read:

Gal 2:19 For through GOD's law I died to the TALMUDIC law so that I might live for God.

We know this because Paul has been referring to the Traditions of Men earlier in the passage. The central idea Paul is conveying is that the Traditions of Men are misleading the people away from God's Law. In this case, the Talmudic Law of circumcision is what is in question.

Why have English Bibles not properly clarified this? Back during this time, both God's Law and the Talmudic Law were considered THE LAW. People were expected to follow both to be saved. Most texts never differentiated between these two, which is why the English-translated Bibles have not clarified it here.

 Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Paul summarizes his point - God's grace means nothing if you still believe you can attain righteousness through obedience.

Chapter 3: More Law

Paul refers to the Law again in the next few verses:

Gal 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

Gal 3:2 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?

Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

Gal 3:4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?

Gal 3:5 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?

Gal 3:6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Gal 3:7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

Gal 3:8 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.”

Gal 3:9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Paul highlights to the Galatians that they should never believe they were not saved because they were not circumcised. Paul mentions all the works of the Spirit that have happened and points out how this would only have happened if they were already saved. The Spirit does not wait for obedience to the Law. It was even prophesied the Gentiles would be saved by faith!

The Curse of the Law

In the next few verses, we have more analyzing to do. Read these carefully, and let's analyze them below

Gal 3:10 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.”

Gal 3:11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Gal 3:12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Gal 3:13 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.”

Gal 3:14 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.

If a pastor presented the words "For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse" or "no one who relies on the law is justified before God" or "law is not based on faith" to their congregation, you end up with the kind of Christianity we have in today's age.

The reason why these verses are so misunderstood is because people do not know the terms and conditions of God's Law, given in the book of Deuteronomy.

When the Law was given, God set simple terms. The Law is what defines sin, If you follow the Law and do not sin, you will be blessed. If you do not follow the Law and commit sin, you will be cursed.

The biggest takeaway any believer in Christ must understand:

Faith is what brings salvation and righteousness before God! The Law is there to guide you after.

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Coming back to Paul, Paul is highlighting these points. The righteous will live by faith, and the law is not based on faith. This is correct because salvation only comes from faith and not from the Law.

Paul then quotes “The person who does these things will live by them.”. This refers to our point made earlier, that the Law is a guide to living after you decide to follow God.

Paul then highlights how Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. We know the curses of the Law were put in place by God. If you disobeyed the Law, you were under a curse. (Notice how this verse does NOT say "The Law was a curse"). In other words, Christ took the curses that we are under and paid it on the cross. We can't avoid the curses because we cannot ever keep the Law perfectly.

Of course, this does not mean we are then free to make our own set of laws! God just moved the curses that you are due onto his Son, Yeshua.

Let's continue analyzing:

Gal 3:15 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.

This is an important verse. Paul mentions that a promise made by God through Moses (i.e. giving the Law) cannot be annulled by the promise God made through Abraham (i.e. Abraham's covenant cannot be broken by the Mosaic Covenant).

So what makes you believe that the New Covenant can annual the Old Covenant?

Gal 3:16 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,”meaning one person, who is Christ.

Gal 3:17 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.

Paul wraps up by saying the promise of salvation was given through Abraham, and the terms of salvation were given through Moses.

We have covered a lot in this teaching, and so we will continue our deep dive into Galatians in Part V of the Old Covenant vs New Covenant series.


Galatians is one of the most misinterpreted books in the Bible. Most Christians have used it to show that God's Law was a curse, and Yeshua's death removed the Law from our lives. The purpose of this teaching was to see if this is true.

We began to analyze the book, establishing context. We found that Paul was writing to the church in Galatia. The Pharisees (Specifically a sect of the Pharisees, called the Circumscision Party) were attempting to get the Galatians to follow the Talmud, which says that to be saved, you needed to be circumcised.

Paul spent the rest of the letter explaining to the Church that this logic does not make sense. Circumcision has never been a prerequisite for salvation. Paul explains that these prerequisites are from the Talmud, and are not part of God's Law.

Paul establishes that it was never possible to obey your way to Heaven and that salvation is from faith alone. Modern Christianity uses many verses here to prove God's Law is done away with. Paul mentioned he died to the Law, but because the Talmudic Law and Mosaic Law all considered one back then, we could identify that Paul actually says this:

For through GOD's law I died to the TALMUDIC law so that I might live for God

Paul further criticizes the Galatians for not realizing that the Spirit was already working through them, which would not have happened if they were not already saved, therefore showing them that the Talmudic Law was false.

We then unpacked the verses referring to God's Law and curses. We established that Christians do not understand these verses because they do not understand the terms God gave with the Law in the Old Testament. The Law identified sin, then if you sinned, you were under a curse. If you did not sin, you were blessed. We also noticed that the book never once said "God's Law was a curse", an important distinction.

By God sending His Son, Yeshua removed the curses that were due to us. Therefore "removing" us from the curse of the Law. This is done by faith alone, and cannot be done by trying to follow the Law. This is why Paul wrote "The Law is not of faith", because if it was, God did not need to send Yeshua.

The biggest conclusion we drew was that faith is what brings salvation and righteousness before God! The Law is there to guide you after.

In Part V, we will continue to examine the letter in Galatians. I hope you enjoyed this teaching!