Galatians 3:12
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) The law is not of faith.—The ruling principle of the Law is not faith, but something else—works.

The man that doeth them.—By “them” is meant the “statutes” and “judgments” mentioned immediately before in the verse (Leviticus 18:5) from which the quotation is taken. Just as the stress was upon “faith” in the last verse, so here it falls on the word “doeth:” it is a matter of works.

Shall live.—The idea of life receives an enlargement, corresponding to the fuller revelation of immortality in the New Testament as compared with the Old. In the Old Testament, “life is an existence upon earth, shortened by no judgment, reposing upon God, and delighting itself in God.” On the other hand, “death is the sudden and dreadful end, the destruction of this existence through a judgment of some special kind” (Schultz, Theology of the Old Testament, 2:163). Such a judgment would be the Chaldean invasion; and when the prophet Habakkuk says that the “just shall live,” he means that he should be saved from this calamity, and still continue to enjoy the divine favour and protection. The promise in Leviticus declares that he who keeps the Law shall be preserved from all judgments of this kind. With St. Paul, as in the Old Testament, the root idea is that of drawing support and sustenance from God; but with him this is not confined to the present life, or extended beyond the grave only in some dim and shadowy way: it begins in time and stretches on into eternity.

In them.—His life shall spring out of them and be nourished by them, just as a tree strikes its roots into the earth.

3:6-14 The apostle proves the doctrine he had blamed the Galatians for rejecting; namely, that of justification by faith without the works of the law. This he does from the example of Abraham, whose faith fastened upon the word and promise of God, and upon his believing he was owned and accepted of God as a righteous man. The Scripture is said to foresee, because the Holy Spirit that indited the Scripture did foresee. Through faith in the promise of God he was blessed; and it is only in the same way that others obtain this privilege. Let us then study the object, nature, and effects of Abraham's faith; for who can in any other way escape the curse of the holy law? The curse is against all sinners, therefore against all men; for all have sinned, and are become guilty before God: and if, as transgressors of the law, we are under its curse, it must be vain to look for justification by it. Those only are just or righteous who are freed from death and wrath, and restored into a state of life in the favour of God; and it is only through faith that persons become righteous. Thus we see that justification by faith is no new doctrine, but was taught in the church of God, long before the times of the gospel. It is, in truth, the only way wherein any sinners ever were, or can be justified. Though deliverance is not to be expected from the law, there is a way open to escape the curse, and regain the favour of God, namely, through faith in Christ. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law; being made sin, or a sin-offering, for us, he was made a curse for us; not separated from God, but laid for a time under the Divine punishment. The heavy sufferings of the Son of God, more loudly warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, than all the curses of the law; for how can God spare any man who remains under sin, seeing that he spared not his own Son, when our sins were charged upon him? Yet at the same time, Christ, as from the cross, freely invites sinners to take refuge in him.And the law is not of faith - The Law is not a matter of faith; it does not relate to faith; it does not require faith; it deals in other matters, and it pertains to another system than to faith.

But, The man ... - This is the language of the Law, and this is what the Law teaches. It does not make provision for faith, but it requires unwavering and perpetual obedience, if man would obtain life by it; see this passage explained in the notes at Romans 10:5.

12. doeth—Many depended on the law although they did not keep it; but without doing, saith Paul, it is of no use to them (Ro 2:13, 17, 23; 10:5). 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. And the law is not of faith,.... The Arabic version adds, "but of man"; which as it is an addition to the text, so it contains false doctrine; for though the law is not of faith, yet not of man, but of God; the law does not consist of faith in Christ, nor does it require it, and that a man should live by it upon his righteousness; it is the Gospel that reveals the righteousness of Christ, and directs and encourages men to believe in him and be saved; nor does the law take any notice of a man's faith; nor has it anything to do with a man as a believer, but as a doer, in the point of justification:

but the man that doth them shall live in them; the passage referred to, is in Leviticus 18:5, the word "them", relates to the statutes and judgments, not of the ceremonial, but of the moral law, which are equally obligatory on Gentiles as on Jews. The Jewish doctors (x) observe on those words, that

"it is not said, priests, Levites, and Israelites, but "the man"; lo, you learn from hence, that even a Gentile that studies in the law, is as an high priest:''

so that whatever man does the things contained in the law, that is, internally as well as externally, for the law is spiritual, reaches the inward part of man, and requires truth there, a conformity of heart and thought unto it, and that does them perfectly and constantly, without the least failure in matter or manner of obedience, such shall live in them and by them; the language of the law is, do this and live; so life, and the continuation of that happy natural life which Adam had in innocence, was promised to him, in case of his persisting in his obedience to the law; and so a long and prosperous life was promised to the Israelites in the land of Canaan, provided they observed the laws and statutes which were commanded them: but since eternal life is a promise made before the world began, is provided for in an everlasting covenant, is revealed in the Gospel, and is the pure gift of God's grace through Christ, it seems that it never was the will of God that it should be obtained by the works of the law; and which is a further proof that there can be no justification in the sight of God by them, see Galatians 3:21.

(x) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 1.

{13} And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

(13) Here is a reason shown of the former conclusion: because the law promises life to all that keep it, and therefore if it is kept, it justifies and gives life. But the scripture attributing righteousness and life to faith takes it from the Law, seeing that faith justifies by imputation, and the Law by the performing of the work.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 3:12. Minor proposition; δέ the syllogistic atqui. See on Galatians 3:11.

οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, is not of faith, is not an institution which has faith as the principle of its nature and action. Comp. Galatians 3:10.

ἀλλʼ ὁ ποιήσας κ.τ.λ.] but he who shall have done them (namely, the προστάγματα and κρίματα of God, Leviticus 18:5) shall live (shall have life in the Messiah’s kingdom) through them, so that they form, in this way of doing, the channel of obtaining life. Thus in the express words of the law (Leviticus 18:5), likewise presumed to be familiar to his readers, Paul introduces the nature of the law as contrasted with ἐκ πίστεως. Comp. Romans 10:5. After ἀλλʼ, γέγραπται is not (with Schott) to be supplied (comp. also Matthias, who understands even οὐκ ἔστιν as runs not); but, as the form with the apostrophe indicates, Paul has connected ἀλλʼ immediately with ὁ ποιήσας αὐτά, leaving it to the reader not only to explain for himself αὐτά and ἐν αὐτοῖς from his acquaintance with the O.T. context of the saying referred to, but also to complete for himself the connection from the first half of the verse: “The law, however, has not faith as its principle; but the doer of the commandments—this is the axiom of the law—shall live by them.” Comp. on Romans 15:3; 1 Corinthians 1:31.12. is not of faith] ‘does not spring out of, or start from faith’, but its principle is performance. This is clearly laid down in Revelation 18:5, ‘He that doeth them &c.’. We observe that ‘justification’ and ‘life’ are almost convertible terms. He who by faith is made one with the Son of God, hath life—eternal life. Thus in Romans 5:18 St Paul argues that as by Adam’s transgression all his descendants were involved in condemnation, so by the one righteous act, the obedience unto death, of the second Adam, the blessing came to all men unto justification of life—a justification resulting in and constituting life.Galatians 3:12. Οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, is not of faith) It does not act the part of faith; it does not say, believe, but do.—ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ, the man that doeth them) Romans 10:5.Verse 12. - And the Law is not of faith ( δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως); but the Law is not "by faith." This is closely connected with the latter part of the preceding verse, as forming another portion of the proof which is there introduced by "for." Ver. 11 should end with a semicolon, not with a full stop. The δὲ at the beginning of this verse is slightly adversative, setting "the Law" in contrast with the notion of "living by or from faith." These words, "by or from faith" (ἐκ πίστεως), are borrowed from the preceding citation. We may paraphrase thus: The Law does not put forward as its characteristic principle, "by faith;" the characteristic principle of the Law is rather that which we read in the third book of Moses (Leviticus 18:5)," The man who hath actually done them shall live by them." But, The man that doeth them shall live in them (ἀλλ Ὁ ποιήσασ αὐτὰ [ἄνθρωπος] ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς: (the word ἄνθρωπος is omitted by the recent editors, as having crept into the text from the Septuagint); but, He that doeth them shall live in them. The whole verse (Leviticus 18:5) in the Authorized Version, following the Hebrew, stands thus: "And ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord." The Septuagint runs thus: "And ye shall keep [or, 'and keep ye'] all my statutes and all my judgments, and ye shall do them [or, 'and do ye them']: the man that doeth them shall live in them (ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς) I am the Lord your God." It thus appears that the pronoun "them" recites "my statutes and my judgments." But this the apostle is not at present particularly concerned to specify; his main point here is that the Law requires such and such things to be actually done, before it holds out the prospect of life to be gained thereby. Those under the Law were bound to render strict obedience to all its requirements, whether moral or ceremonial; and whosoever set aside any of whichever class was constituted by the Law a "transgressor" and a man "accursed." As it stands in the passage of Leviticus referred to, the clause which is cited bears not so much the aspect of a promise as of a restrictive statement implying a threatening or warning, and is therefore its harmony with the commination quoted in ver. 10. The "doing" here spoken of differs essentially from evangelical obedience. Comprising as it did its very large proportion the observance of the ceremonial prescriptions (προστάγματα) of the Law, it points to a course of conduct in which a man, striving to earn pardon and acceptance by a meritorious life, had continually to be turning his eye, slavishly and under fear of the "curse" in case of failure, towards an external Law, whose detail of positive enactments, in addition to the regulation of his moral conduct and inward spirit, he was bound with scrupulous exactness to copy in his life. The spiritual obedience of "faith," on the other hand, evolves itself (in the apostle's view) freely and spontaneously from the inward teaching and prompting of God's Spirit, of which it is the natural product or "fruit" (ch. Galatians 5:22). Such are these two forms of religious life when viewed each in its idea. When, however, we compare the spiritual state of many even sincere believers in Christ, so far as we can estimate it, with the spiritual state of (say) the marvellous author of Psalm 119. or of David and other pious Israelites, as disclosed in the exercises of pious feeling garnered in that same devotional book, we cannot fail to perceive that an Israelite under the Law might yet be not "of the works of the Law," but in no small degree qualified to teach the Christian believer himself, even in the life which is "of faith." "Shall live in them;" that is, shall find in them a fountain, as it were, of life. The Targums, Bishop Lightfoot observes, define the meaning of "living" by "life eternal."
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