I’m sure glad that Greg Strong writes his devotional before I write mine. (His devotional was last Monday so you may want to revisit it before you read mine.) I learn a great deal from his devotional and it is really a great lead in to today’s reading.
In this passage, Paul is making the point that the law is separate and distinct from the promise. Greg gives a great historical perspective on what is going on in this Chapter of Galatians. These new Christians are stuck in their old ways – that is, living the laws that have been handed down to them through the generations. These laws were from God, as told to the various Prophets. It was necessary to have these laws in order to set the stage for Christ’s coming. It provided the framework to enable the Israelites to accept Christianity.
It certainly was not an easy transition for these new Christians to stop viewing their laws as the be-all of life, as we can see throughout the Epistles. The idea that one lives by faith and not by laws was very foreign to folks of that time. What Paul really wanted to say to the Galations is “You knuckleheads! Deliverance comes by faith – not by acts. Wasn’t Jesus the ultimate example of this?” In fact, maybe he was saying this but the translators tried to temper Paul’s real emotion. He certainly seems emotional in this Chapter.
Paul’s words, as usual, ring just as true today as they did nearly 2,000 years ago. Don’t be a knucklehead. Live by faith and faith alone and your heart will swell with the love of Jesus.