Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
GALATIANS CHAPTER 3
Galatians 3:1-5 Paul asketh what had moved the Galatians to depend on the
law, having already received the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:6-9 As Abraham was justified by faith, so they who are of
faith inherit his blessing.
Galatians 3:10-12 The law brought men under a curse, and could not justify.
Galatians 3:13,14 Christ hath freed us from the curse, and laid open the
blessing to all believers.
Galatians 3:15-18 Supposing that the law justified, God’s covenant with
Abraham would be void.
Galatians 3:19-22 But the law was only a temporary provision against sin till
Christ’s coming, and in no wise contrary to God’s promises.
Galatians 3:23,24 Serving as a schoolmaster to prepare men for Christ.
Galatians 3:25-29 But faith being come the law is at an end, and all
believers are, without distinction, become children of
God, and heirs of the promise.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you? The apostle beginneth the further pursuit of the argument he was upon, with a smart reprehension of them, as men of no understanding, and bewitched. The word translated
bewitched, signifies vitiating the eyes, or spoiling the sight, so as that men cannot discern an obvious object in a due position. The meaning is: Who hath seduced you, who hath so corrupted your understanding that your actions are as unaccountable as the effects of witchcraft?
That ye should not obey the truth: the word translated obey, signifies also to believe: in general it signifies to be persuaded; which may refer either to an assent to the truth, or obedience to the precepts of the gospel.
Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you; whenas Christ hath been plainly preached before you, and his death, with the blessed end and effects of it, hath been so made known amongst you, as if you had seen him crucified. Or else Christ may be said to be crucified amongst them, because it was in their time, so as they could not but hear of it, and there was no more reason for them to doubt of the truth of the thing, than if he had been crucified in their country.
By the Spirit here is understood the gifts of the Spirit, which were either such as were common to all believers, (such as faith, love, &c.), or else such as were peculiar to some, and those not all believers; such were those abilities for miraculous operations given to some. Some understand this text of the former, some of the latter: it is best to take in both; all the manifestations of the Spirit then given out, either for the sanctification and eternal salvation of those to whom they were given, or for the confirmation of the truth of the gospel. Did you receive the Spirit
by the works of the law? That he knew they could not say they did; for they were heathens, strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, so as they could pretend to no works of the law. Did you receive this Holy Spirit upon
hearing the gospel (which is the doctrine
of faith) preached to you? Men should take heed of vilifying that ministry, or that doctrine, which God hath blessed to the change of their own hearts, or the hearts of others. We also may observe from hence, that the hearing the gospel faithfully preached is a blessed means by which men’s hearts are changed, and they receive the Holy Spirit; not enabling them (as it did some, and but some, in the beginning of the gospel) to work signs and wonders, but enabling them to the operations of a spiritual life. The strength of the apostle’s argument is this: You have the greatest reason to own that doctrine as the truth, which God hath blessed to your souls to produce spiritual effects there.
The doctrine of their false teacthers was, that to faith in Christ, an obedience also to the law of Moses was necessary to justification; they did not deny Christ, or the doctrine of the gospel, only they pleaded for the works of the law as necessary to be superadded. The apostle calls this first owning of Christ, and embracing the doctrine of faith, a beginning
in the Spirit; their adding the necessity of obedience to the law of Moses, a being
made perfect in the flesh; and argueth the unreasonableness of it, that their justification should be begun by a more noble, and made perfect by a more ignoble cause. He calls the doctrine of the gospel,
Spirit, because (as he said in the former verse) they had received the Holy Spirit by the hearing of faith; that is, by hearing and receiving the gospel. The works of the law he calls flesh, because the ordinances of the law were (as the apostle calls them, Hebrews 9:10) carnal ordinances, imposed on the Jews till the time of reformation. He elsewhere calls them the rudiments of the world, Colossians 2:8,20; and in this Epistle, Galatians 4:9, he calls them beggarly elements. For though the ordinances of the law were in their season spiritual, they being commanded by God; yet they being but temporary constitutions, never intended by God to continue longer than the coming of Christ, and the law being but a schoolmaster to lead to Christ; Christ being now come, and having died, and rose again from the dead, they became useless. Besides that God never intended them as other than rudiments and first elements, the end of which was Christ; and the observance of which, without faith in Christ, was weak and impotent, as to the noble end of justification. It spake great weakness, therefore, in the Galatians, to begin with what was more perfect, (the embracing of the gospel, and Christ there exhibited for the justification of sinners), and to end in what was more imperfect, thinking by that to be made perfect; or else the apostle here chargeth them with a defection from Christ, as Galatians 4:9-11, and Galatians 5:4: and so calleth them foolish, for beginning in the Spirit, (the Holy Spirit inwardly working in them the change of their hearts, and regenerating them), and then apostatizing from their profession to a carnal life. But I had rather interpret Spirit in this text, of the doctrine of the gospel, dictated by the Spirit; and with the receiving of which the Holy Spirit was given. And so their folly is argued from their thinking to be made perfect by the beggarly elements and worldly rudiments of the law, whenas they had first begun their profession of Christianity with embracing the more perfect doctrine of the gospel.
There is no doubt but these churches in the regions of Galatia had their share in the sufferings of Christians by the Jews for their adherence to and profession of the doctrine of the gospel, which they might either wholly, or in a great measure, have avoided, would they have complied with the Jews in the observance of those legal rites. Therefore, (saith the apostle), to what purpose have you suffered so much for the owning of the Christian religion, if you now bring yourselves under the bondage of circumcision, and other legal observances?
If it be yet in vain; by which words he either correcteth himself, as if he had said: But I hope better things of you, that I shall find that you did not suffer them in vain; or else he hinteth that their suffering so much would not be in vain, because, by their apostacy from the true faith for which they suffered, they would in effect deny it, as if it had been false, and their former suffering would rise up in judgment against them.
He had asked them, Galatians 3:2, whether they had received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing the gospel? Some think what he saith here to be a continuation of the same argument, but it rather seems a new one: there he spake of their receiving the Spirit, here he speaks of the ministration of the Spirit. Some understand it of God, who gives his Holy Spirit to them that ask him, and who was the Author of those miraculous operations wrought by the Spirit. I should rather understand it of the ministers of the gospel, to whom God hath committed the ministration of the Spirit; and to some of whom God, in the primitive times, gave a power to work miracles.
Doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Doth God concur with our ministry upon our preaching the law, or upon our preaching the gospel? So that though there be a great cognation between the apostle’s arguing, Galatians 3:2, and his arguing in this verse, yet there is some difference; the apostle there arguing from the success of preaching the gospel, here from the ministration itself.
As Abraham was justified, so must all the children of Abraham; but
Abraham believed God, ( that is, agreed to the truth of all those promises which God gave him, and trusted in God for the fulfilling of them; for both those acts of the mind are included in believing God), and so was justified alone.
And it was accounted to him for righteousness: his faith itself was not imputed to him; those that put this sense upon the words, either forget that faith itself is a work, or that the apostle here is arguing for jusjustification by faith in opposition to justification by works, and cannot be imagined to have gone about to prove that justification is not by works, by proving that it is by a work. The meaning is no more than that he was upon it accounted righteous; not that God so honoured the work of faith, but that he so rewarded it, as being the condition annexed to the promise of justification. His faith was not his righteousness, but God so rewarded his exercise of faith, as that open it he reckoned (or imputed) that to him which was his righteousness, viz. the righteousness of him in whom he believed as revealed unto him in the promise.
They which are of faith; those who are believers, and receive Jesus Christ, as exhibited and tendered to them in the gospel, trusting not to any righteousness of their own, arising from their obedience to the works of the law; they
are the children of Abraham, considered as the father of the faithful, that is, they are justified as Abraham was justified; who was justified, not by his circumcision, but upon his believing in Christ exhibited to him in the promise; not by working, but by imputation. This argument came very close to the Jews, whose great glorying was in having Abraham to their father; for it is in effect a saying, that they were no true children of Abraham, none of that seed to whom the promise was made, if they expected justification from the works of the law, which Abraham never had nor expected.
The Holy Ghost in Scripture (by whose inspiration the Scripture was written) foreseeing, or knowing, the counsels and designs of God, that the heathen (when the fulness of times as to them should come) should be justified through faith in Christ, preached the same doctrine before unto Abraham; so as it is no new doctrine; the gospel which we now preach unto you, was long since revealed unto Abraham, who saw Christ’s day, and rejoiced, John 8:56. To prove which, he quoteth the promise, Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham, that in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed; which quotation of it by the apostle in this place informeth us, that it is to be understood of those spiritual blessings which are in Christ Jesus. For all the nations of the earth were no otherwise blessed in Abraham, than as Christ (who is called the desire of all nations, and he in whom the Gentiles should trust, and a light to enlighten the Gentiles) descended from Abraham.
Those that believe in Jesus Christ with such a faith as the gospel doth require, they, and they alone, are blessed with spiritual blessings, justified from the guilt of sin,
with Abraham; that is, in the same manner that Abraham, the father of the faithful, and who himself was a believer, was justified; which was not (as was before said) by his circumcision, or by any works that he did, but by imputation upon his believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, exhibited and held forth in the promise made to him.
The argument is this: Those that are under a curse cannot be under the blessing of justification: but those that are under the law are under the curse. This he proves out of the law, Deuteronomy 27:26, where those are pronounced
cursed, who continue not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. To be under the law, is, under the covenant of works, or under the expectation of life and salvation only from obedience to the works of the law. These (he saith)
are under the curse: the reason of which the apostle gives us, Romans 8:3, because it is made weak through the flesh. Could man perfectly fulfil the law, he might expect life from it, and salvation from his obedience to it; but the law curseth him that continueth not in all that is written in it: If a man keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, James 2:10, and as liable to the wrath of God as if he had broken it in many things. Hence it necessarily followeth, if no man can keep the law of God perfectly, that all under the law must be under the curse, and consequently cannot be blessed in faithful Abraham.
The apostle, by another argument, proveth that sinners are not justified by works. He grants, they may be justified by their good and blameless living before men, so as that they may have nothing to say against them, but he says they cannot, by such works, be justified in the sight of God. His argument is from the opposition that is between faith and works. He proveth, from Habakkuk 2:4, that we are justified by faith; where the prophet saith, that the just (or righteous man) shall live by faith; fetch his life from faith, live his spiritual life by faith, and obtain eternal life by faith, the life of his righteousness shall be by faith.
The law saith nothing of faith in the Mediator; though faith in God be commanded in the first precept, yet faith in Christ is not commanded by the law as that by which the soul shall live. For that which the law saith is:
Do this and live: The man that doeth the things contained in the law,
shall live in them; life, in the law, is promised to those who do the things which it requireth; not to them who, have failed in their performances, yet accept of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer which God hath sent, and believe in him who justifieth the ungodly. For that by the life promised to the observation of the law, not a temporal life only is to be understood, but eternal life also, is plain from our Saviour’s application of it to the young man, inquiring about the way to eternal life, Matthew 19:16,17 Lu 10:28.
If the law curseth all those who continue not in all things contained in the law, (as the apostle had said, Galatians 3:10, and proved from Deuteronomy 27:26), it might be objected: How will believers then escape more than others; for none of them continue in all that is written in the law? The apostle here obviateth this objection, by telling the Galatians, that, as to believers, Christ had
redeemed them from this curse. The word generally signifies delivering; here it signifies a deliverance by a price paid. This was by being himself
made a curse for us, not only execrable to men, but bearing the wrath and indignation of God due for sin:
for so it was written, Deuteronomy 21:23: He that is hanged is accursed of God; that is, hath borne the wrath or curse of God due to him for his sin. The apostle applying this to Christ, teacheth us, that Christ also, hanging upon the cross, bare the curse of God due to the sins of believers; in whose stead, as well as for whose good and benefit, he died. And indeed he could no other way redeem believers from the curse of the law, but by being made himself a curse for them. Some think, that under the law he who was hanged was made a curse, not only politically, but typically, as signifying that curse which Christ should he made on the behalf of the elect.
The apostle, by the blessing of Abraham, here, understands those spiritual blessings of justification, reconciliation, and adoption, which came to Abraham upon his believing, and the imputation of righteousness thereupon unto him. Christ (he saith) was made a curse for us, that all those blessings through him might come on the Gentiles; and so all the nations of the earth might be blessed in him. Particularly, that the Gentiles
might receive the promise of the Spirit; which promise is not to be interpreted so narrowly, as only to signify its miraculous gifts, but to be extended to all those gifts and habits of grace which are the effects of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers, whether sanctifying or sealing them; which Holy Spirit is received upon persons’ believing: see Galatians 4:6 Romans 8:13.
Though it be but a man’s covenant: the word here translated covenant, diayhkh, is ordinarily translated testament; see Matthew 26:28. It signifies in the general, an ordering or disposing of things; more specially, a testament; which is the disposition of the testator’s goods after his death. Now, (saith the apostle), I here argue according to the ordinary methods and doings of men, who have such a respect for a man’s testament, as that,
if it be once confirmed, according to the methods of law and civil sanctions of men, or rather by the death of the testator (for a testament is of no force while the testator liveth, Hebrews 9:17); nor will men alter the will or last testament of a deceased person, though it be not as yet confirmed according to the methods of human laws.
No man disannulleth, or addeth thereto; no man, that is, no just man, will go about to disannul it, or add to it, nor will any just government endure any such violation of it. Hence the apostle argueth both the certainty and unalterableness for the covenant of grace with Abraham, and until the death of Christ it was but a covenant, or a testament not fully confirmed, but yet unalterable, because the covenant of that God who cannot lie, nor repent; but by the death of Christ it became a testament, and a testament ratified and confirmed by the death of the person that was the testator; therefore never to be disannulled, never capable of any additions. Those words, or addeth thereto, are fitly added, because these false teachers, though they might pretend not to disannul God’s covenant, holding still justification by Christ; yet they added thereto, making circumcision, and other legal observances, necessary to justification; whereas by God’s covenant, or testament, confirmed now by the death of Christ, faith in Christ only was necessary.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made; the promises, Genesis 12:3 22:18; in the one of which places it is said: In thee; in the other: In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. He saith, promises, either because of the repetition of the same promises, or taking in also other promises.
He saith not: And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ: some may object against the apostle’s conclusion, that the promise respected only one, and that was Christ; because God said not seeds, as of many, but seed; whereas the term seed is a noun of multitude, and signifieth more than one; besides that the Hebrew word, which is used Genesis 22:18, admitteth not the plural number. But it is answered, that though the word translated seed admitteth not the plural number, yet had God intended more than one, he could have expressed it by words signifying children, or generations, &c.
Secondly, that the term seed, though a noun of multitude, yet is often applied to a single person; as Genesis 3:15, where it also signifieth Christ; Seth is called another seed, Genesis 4:25; and so in many other places. Some think that by seed he meaneth believers, and so interpret it of Christ mystical; and that the scope of the apostle in this place is to prove, that both the Jews and Gentiles were to be justified the same way; because they were justified in force and by virtue of the promise, which was not made to many, but to one church, which was to consist both of Jews and Gentiles, for (according to the prophecy of Caiaphas, John 11:52) Christ died, that he might gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. The promises made to Abraham, were but the exhibition of the eternal covenant of grace, made between the Father and his Son Christ Jesus (who was in it both the Mediator and Surety); which covenant was promulgated, as to Adam and Noah, so to Abraham, in these words: In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be called, that is, in Christ. From whence the apostle proveth, that there is no justification by the works of the law, but in and by Christ, and the exercise of faith in him.
The covenant, that was before confirmed of God in Christ: the word translated covenant, is the same as before; ordinarily signifying one’s disposal of things in his last will and testament. Which name is given to the covenant of grace, with respect to the death of Christ; for though Christ as yet had not died, yet he was, by virtue of the covenant of redemption, and in God’s counsels: The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8. This (he saith) was in Christ, ( as Abraham’s promised seed), confirmed of God to Abraham, by God’s oath, Hebrews 6:17,18; by frequent repetitions of it; by such solemn rites as covenants use to be confirmed by, Genesis 15:17,18; by the seals of circumcision, Genesis 17:11 Romans 4:11; by a long prescription, &c.; though it received indeed its final and ultimate consummation by the death of Christ, yet it was before many ways confirmed.
The law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul: the law was given four hundred and thirty years after the giving this promise to Abraham: though, Genesis 15:13, the round number of four hundred years only be mentioned, which are to be counted from the birth of Isaac; yet, Exodus 12:40, they are reckoned (as here) four hundred and thirty years, from Abraham’s going out of Canaan, Genesis 12:4; from whence to the birth of Isaac were twenty-five years, Genesis 21:5, compared with Genesis 12:4; from the birth of Isaac till Jacob was born, sixty years, Genesis 25:26; from thence till Jacob went down into Egypt, one hundred and thirty years, Genesis 47:9, where they abode two hundred and fifteen years. Hence the apostle concludes, that it was impossible that the law, which was not given till four hundred and thirty years after the confirmation of the promise,
should make the promise confirmed
of no effect.
If the inheritance of the heavenly Canaan, typified by the earthly Canaan, the promise of which was made to Abraham, be to be obtained by the fulfilling of the law, and yielding obedience to it, then it is no more of the promise. It is much the same with what the apostle said before, Romans 4:14; and with what he had said, Romans 11:6: If by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work. He shows, that there is an opposition between grace and work, the law and the promise; that which is of grace, and of the promise, is of free love; that which is of works, and the law, is wages, and a reward of debt.
But (saith the apostle) God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise; he of his free love engaging himself thereunto.
Wherefore then serveth the law? Some might say: To what purpose was the law given? As if there could be no use of it unless it were available to justification.
It was added because of transgressions; it was (saith the apostle) given after the promise, not to supply something wanting as to justification, to prescribe some works that must be added; but either to restrain sin, 1 Timothy 1:9, or to show and discover sin, to make men see that they stood in need of Christ: see Romans 7:13.
Till the seed should come to whom the promise was made: till Christ the promised Seed should come, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Romans 10:4; upon whose coming the law contained in ordinances ceased. That Christ is here to be understood by the seed, is plain by the addition,
to whom the promise was made. Some here understand by the seed, Christ and the church, (which both make up Christ mystical), and interpret this text by Ephesians 2:14, till the Jews and Gentiles should be both made one. This law (he saith)
was ordained by angels. Luke, Acts 7:38, speaks of the law as published by one angel: the apostle, Hebrews 2:2, calls it, the word spoken by angels. We read of no angels, Exodus 19:20, nor of any of the saints; yet, Deuteronomy 33:2: Moses saith God came from Sinai, with ten thousand saints. The law was given either by the ministry of an angel, or by God attended with angels.
In the hand of a mediator; that is, (say some), under the power of Christ the Mediator; but by the mediator is rather to be understood Moses, which agreeth with Deuteronomy 5:5, where Moses telleth the Jews, that he stood between the Lord and them at that time, to show them the word of the Lord; nor is Christ any where called the Mediator of the old, but of the new testament, Hebrews 8:6 Hebrews 12:24.
This is a text acknowledged by all interpreters to be very obscure; not so much as considered in itself, (for all know, that a mediator speaks one that goes in the middle between two persons that are at odds, so cannot be of one), as in regard of the connection of it with what went before; where he had told us, that the law was given in the hand of a mediator. There are various senses given of this verse, and the variety much ariseth from men’s different understanding of the mediator in whose hand the law was given. To me the apostle seems to magnify the promise above the law, in that the promise was given to Abraham immediately by God, (who is one in essence), but the law was given not immediately by God, but by Moses as mediator, who in that action was a type of Christ. And God thereby showed, that the law would bring no man to life and salvation without the one and only Mediator Christ Jesus. Christ, indeed, is the Mediator of the new testament, he mediated for it, he mediateth in it; but it was men’s transgression of the law that brought them in need of a Mediator, sin being the only thing that separateth between God and man.
God is one; and there had been no need of mediating between him and man, but for the law which man had transgressed. Those that by the mediator, Galatians 3:19, understand Christ, make this the sense: That as a mediator supposeth two parties at odds, so Christ’s being Mediator speaks him to have respect to Jews and Gentiles. But this interpretation seems to make Christ the Mediator between Jews and Gentiles, whom (the apostle saith) he made both one, breaking down the partition-wall, Ephesians 2:14; but we do not find the name of Mediator upon this account any where given unto Christ. Many other senses are given, but the first mentioned seemeth the most probable, viz. that God made use of no mediator in giving the promise, but only in giving the law, which evidenced that justification was not to be by it; nor had there been need of a true Mediator under the gospel, but for the law, men’s transgression of which brought in a need of a Mediator; which proved that justification could not be by the law.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: though it be thus, yet there is no such opposition between the law and the promises, as that either of them make the other useless. Far be it from me (saith the apostle) to assert any such thing! They are not contrary to one another but subservient to one another.
For if there had been a law given which could have given life; for if there had been a law which could, by our perfect performance of it, have given us a righteousness, wherein we might have stood righteous before God, then righteousness should have been by the law; then men might have hoped to have been justified and accepted of God by me for such obedience; then indeed the law had been against the promises, they holding forth another righteousness, viz. the righteousness of God from faith to faith.
But the Sripture hath concluded all under sin: it pleased God to give a law, which, if Adam had continued in his estate of innocence, might have given life; but considering man in his lapsed state, that now is not possible: Romans 2:10: There is none righteous, no not one: and Ephesians 2:3: We are all children of wrath.
That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe; that the promises of life and salvation might be given to those who, according to the new covenant of the gospel, should receive and accept of the Mediator, and the terms of salvation which God offers to us in the gospel; where these promises are exhibited upon condition of believing. Though, upon our first reflection upon it, it may seem strange to us, that God, having in his eternal counsels fixed the salvation of man upon a conenant of grace, and his believing in Jesus Christ, should in time first propound a covenant of works: Do this, and live; yet, upon second thoughts, this will appear necessary; for till man was a transgressor by breaking the law, and violating the first covenant, there was no room for a Mediator, no cause for men’s applying themselves to a Mediator. God therefore first gave out the covenant of works, and suffered man to break it; and then he revealed the Mediator to lapsed man; that so they who should believe in him might obtain the promise of life, to which by the fall they had forfeited their right.
Before faith came; before the covenant of grace, or the doctrine of the gospel, or Christ himself, was revealed.
We were kept under the law; the apostle either speaks of all mankind, of whom it is true, that until God’s revelation of the covenant of grace, they had no other way of salvation made known to them than by the law of works; or else of the Jews, to whom, though before Christ there was a revelation of the gospel, yet it was more dark and imperfect, so as they
were kept under the law, but few apprehending any other way of justification than by the works of the law.
Shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed; but the apostle saith they were but shut up under it; God never intended it as that by the observance of which they should be saved; but as even then, to those whom he intended to save, he made a more secret revelation of his gospel, so he had now more fully and plainly revealed the way of salvatiou which he had from eternity established.
The law, both the law contained in ordinances and the moral law,
was our schoolmaster; serving us in the same stead that a schoolmaster in a school doth, who only fitteth children for higher degrees of learning at universities.
To bring us unto Christ: the ceremonial law showed us Christ in all his types and sacrifices; the moral law showed us the absolute need of a Mediator, as it showed us sin, accused and condemned us for it; and it showed us no help either for the guilt of sin contracted, or against the power of it.
That we might be justified by faith; so that God’s end in giving us the law was, that we might be fitted for Christ, and obtain justification by believing in him.
After that Christ, the object of saving faith, was in the fulness of time revealed, and the gospel, which is the doctrine of faith, was fully revealed and published, the time of our nonage was over.
All you that believe, whether native Jews or Gentiles, are the children of God by adoption, through faith in Jesus Christ, John 1:12: so that you need not run back to the law to look for help and salvation from that; but only look unto Christ, to whom the law was but a schoolmaster to lead you; who being fully and clearly revealed, you may have immediate recourse to, by faith; and need not to make use of the Jewish schoolmaster, as hoping for justification from the observances of the law.
Baptized into Christ, may either be understood of receiving the sacrament of baptism; which who receiveth, is not only baptized in the name of Christ, and into the profession of Christ; but is sacramentally, or in a sign, baptized into Christ; or else (which, considering what followeth, seemeth much more probably the sense) it may signify a being not only baptized with water, but with the Holy Ghost and fire. Of those thus baptized, he saith, that they
had put on Christ; they had accepted of and received Christ for their justification, and for their sanctification. We have the like phrase, Romans 13:14.
There is neither Jew nor Greek; in the business or justification, the case of Jews and Greeks is the same. This he saith, that the Galatians might not think themselves disadvantaged from their not being under the law, as the schoolmaster that should lead them unto Christ.
There is neither bond nor free; neither doth Christ consider the qualities and circumstances of persons, whether they be servants or free men; for though they be servants, Christ hath made them free, 1 Corinthians 7:22 Ephesians 6:8 Colossians 3:11.
There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus: neither hath Christ any respect to sexes: the male children under the law had many privileges; but it is all a case under the gospel, whether persons be males or females, Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, servants or masters, bond-men or free-men.
Lest these Galatians should be discouraged, because the promise was made to Abraham and his seed, and they were not the seed of Abraham; he tells them, if they were Christ’s, that is, if they truly believed in him, and were implanted into him, that then they were the seed of Abraham, that seed to which the promise was made; and though not heirs of Abraham according to the flesh, yet heirs according to the promise: see Romans 9:7,8.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25