Galatians 3:14
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
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(14) The abolition of the Law, consummated upon the cross, involved the doing away of all the old restrictions which confined the Messianic inheritance to the Jews. Henceforth this inheritance, and the promised outpouring of the Spirit which was to accompany it, was open equally to the Gentiles. The one condition now was faith, and that intimate relation to the Messiah which faith implied.

The blessing of Abraham.—That is, the blessing pronounced upon Abraham and to be fulfilled in his seed.

Through Jesus Christ.—Through the relation into which they enter with Christ by embracing Christianity.

We.—The Apostle and his readers, whether Jews or Gentiles.

Receive the promise of the Spirit.—A special outpouring of the Spirit was to be one of the characteristics of the great Messianic manifestation. (Comp. Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:16-21.) The promise is said to be “received” by the generation on which it is fulfilled, not by that to which it is given. The same phrase occurs in Acts 2:33; Hebrews 9:15.

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.That the blessing of Abraham - The blessing which Abraham enjoyed, to wit, that of being justified by faith. "Might come on the Gentiles." As well as on the Jews. Abraham was blessed in this manner before he was circumcised Romans 4:11, and the same blessing might be imparted to others also who were not circumcised; see this argument illustrated in the notes at Romans 4:10-12.

Through Jesus Christ - Since he has been made a curse for all, and since he had no exclusive reference to the Jews or to any other class of people, all may come and partake alike of the benefits of his salvation.

That we might receive the promise of the Spirit - That all we who are Christian converts. The promise of the Spirit, or the promised Spirit, is here put for all the blessings connected with the Christian religion. It includes evidently the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit; and all his influences in renewing the heart, in sanctifying the soul, and in comforting the people of God. These influences had been obtained in virtue of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus in the place of sinners, and these influences were the sum of all the blessings promised by the prophets.

14. The intent of "Christ becoming a curse for us"; "To the end that upon the Gentiles the blessing of Abraham (that is, promised to Abraham, namely, justification by faith) might come in Christ Jesus" (compare Ga 3:8).

that we might receive the promise of the Spirit—the promised Spirit (Joe 2:28, 29; Lu 24:49). This clause follows not the clause immediately preceding (for our receiving the Spirit is not the result of the blessing of Abraham coming on the Gentiles), but "Christ hath redeemed us," &c.

through faith—not by works. Here he resumes the thought in Ga 3:2. "The Spirit from without, kindles within us some spark of faith Whereby we lay hold of Christ, and even of the Spirit Himself, that He may dwell within us" [Flacius].

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. That the blessing of Abraham,.... The same blessing Abraham enjoyed, even justification by the righteousness of Christ; and what was promised to Abraham, that in him, his seed, that is Christ, the Gentiles should be blessed, or justified; for though this blessing may in general comprise every spiritual blessing, yet it chiefly regards that of justification; or a deliverance from the curse of the law, and which is the end of Christ's being made a curse, that this blessedness

might come on the Gentiles; the uncircumcision, as well as the circumcision; see Romans 4:9 that is, upon as many of them as were ordained unto eternal life, and in consequence of that believe in Christ; quite contrary to a Jewish notion, that

"no blessing dwells but upon an Israelite (a):''

now though this blessing, as all other spiritual ones, were laid up in the covenant of grace, put into the hands of Christ, and God's elect blessed therewith, as considered in him, yet the curse of the law for their transgressions stood in the way of their personal enjoyment of it, to their peace and comfort in their own souls; wherefore Christ is made a curse for them, to make way for the blessing to take place upon them; which is by an act of God's grace imputed to them, and is received by faith:

through Jesus Christ; or "in Jesus Christ", as the words may be read; meaning either, that this blessing comes upon the Gentiles that were in Christ, chosen in him, in union with him, and represented by him, both in the covenant and on the cross; or else that Christ is the Mediator, as from whom, so through whom, this, as every blessing of grace, comes to the children of God:

that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith; Beza puts the copulative and to this clause, reading it, "and that we", &c. as does the Ethiopic version; thereby more clearly pointing out this to be another end of Christ's being made a curse for us: by "the promise of the Spirit" may be meant, either by an "hypallage", the Spirit of promise, who opens and applies the promises; or the Spirit promised, not as a spirit of regeneration, conversion, and faith; for, as such, he cannot be received by faith; Since, antecedent to his being so, there can be no faith; but rather as a spirit of adoption, in respect to which he is said to be received, Romans 8:15 and this blessing of adoption, as in consequence of redemption from under the law, its curse and condemnation, Galatians 4:4. Or else a spiritual promise, in distinction from the temporal promise of the land of Canaan, made to Abraham and his natural seed, and means the promise of eternal life and happiness in the world to come; which promise is now received by faith, and that in consequence of the sufferings and death of Christ the testator; see Hebrews 9:15.

(a) Zohar in Exod. fol. 51. 3.

{16} That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(16) A conclusion of all that was said before in the handling of the fifth and sixth reasons, that is, that both the Gentiles are made partakers of the free blessing of Abraham in Christ, and also that the Jews themselves, of whose number the apostle counted himself to be, cannot obtain that promised grace of the Gospel, which he calls the Spirit, except by faith. And the apostle applies the conclusion in turn, both to the one and to the other, preparing himself a way to the next argument, by which he declares that the one and only seed of Abraham, which is made of all peoples, cannot be joined and grow up together in any other way but by faith in Christ.

Galatians 3:14. Divine purpose in Christ’s redeeming us (the Jews) from the curse of the law; in order that the blessing promised to Abraham (justification; see on Galatians 3:8) might be imparted in Christ Jesus to the Gentiles (not: to all peoples, as Olshausen and Baumgarten-Crusius, following the earlier expositors, take τὰ ἔθνη, in opposition to the context). So long, namely, as the curse of the law stood in force and consequently the Jews were still subject to this divine curse, the Gentiles could not be partakers of that blessing; for, according to that promise made to Abraham, it was implied in the preference which in the divine plan of salvation was granted to the Jews (Romans 1:17; Romans 15:8-9; Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:1-5), that salvation should issue from them and pass over to the Gentiles (comp. Romans 15:27; John 4:22; John 11:52). Hence, when Christ by His atoning death redeemed the Jews from the curse of the divine law, God, in thus arranging His salvation, must necessarily have had the design that the Gentiles, who are expressly named in the promise made to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), should share in the promised justification, and that not in some way through the law, as if they were to be subjected to this, but in Christ Jesus, through whom in fact the Jews had been made free from the curse of the law. The opposite of this liberation of the Jews could not exist in God’s purpose in regard to the Gentiles. Rückert takes a different view of the logical connection (as to which most expositors are silent), in the light of Ephesians 2:14 ff.: “So long as the law continued, an impenetrable wall of partition was set up between the Jewish and the Gentile world; … and just as long it was simply impossible that the blessing should pass over to the Gentiles.” But the context speaks not of the law itself as having been done away, but of the curse of the law, from which Jesus had redeemed the Jews; so that the idea of a partition-wall, formed by the law itself standing between Jew and Gentile, is not presented to the reader. Usteri thus states the connection: “Christ by His vicarious death has redeemed us (Jews) from the curse of the law, in order that (justification henceforth being to be attained through faith) the Gentiles may become partakers in the blessings of Abraham, since now there is required for justification a condition possible for all,—namely, faith.” Comp. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact. But since the point of the possibility of the justification of the Gentiles is not dealt with in the context, this latter expedient is quite as arbitrarily resorted to, as is Schott’s intermingling of the natural law, against the threatenings of which faith alone yields protection (Romans 2:12 ff; Romans 3:9 ff.).

εἰς τὰ ἔθνη] might reach to the Gentiles (Acts 21:17; Acts 25:15), that is, be imparted to them (Revelation 16:2). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 8:13 f. Such was to be the course of the divine way of salvation, from Israel to the Gentiles. Observe, that Paul does not say καὶ εἰς τ. ἔθνη, as if the Gentiles were merely an accessory.

ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβρ.] the blessing already spoken of, which was pre-announced to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), the opposite of the κατάρα; not therefore life (Hofmann), the opposite of which would be θάνατος, but justification—by which is meant the benefit itself (Ephesians 1:3; Romans 15:29), and not the mere promise of it (Schott).

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] so that this reception of the blessing depends, and is founded, on Christ (on His redeeming death). The διὰ τῆς πίστεως which follows expresses the matter from the point of view of the subjective medium, whilst ἐν Χριστῷ presents the objective state of the case—the two elements corresponding to each other at the close of the two sentences of purpose.

ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν κ.τ.λ.] cannot be subordinated to the previous sentence of purpose (Rückert), for it contains no benefit specially accruing to the Gentiles (Paul must have written λάβωσι, which Chrysostom actually read—evidently an alteration arising from misunderstanding). It is parallel to the first sentence of purpose by way of climax: comp. Romans 7:13; 2 Corinthians 9:3; Ephesians 6:19 f. After Paul had expressed the blessed aim which the redeeming death of Christ had in reference to the Gentiles,—namely, that they should become partakers of the εὐλογία of Abraham,—he raises his glance still higher, and sees the reception also of the Holy Spirit (the consequence of justification) as an aim of that redeeming death; but he cannot again express himself in the third person, because, after the justification of the Jews had been spoken of in Galatians 3:13 and the justification of the Gentiles in Galatians 3:14 (ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνηἸησοῦ), the statement now concerns the justified generally, Jews and Gentiles without distinction: hence the first person, λάβωμεν, is used, the subject of which must be the Christians, and not the Jewish Christians only (Beza, Bengel, Hofmann, and others). This by no means accidental emergence of the first person, after τὰ ἔθνη had been previously spoken of in the third, is incompatible with our taking the reception of the Spirit as part of the εὐλογία (Wieseler), or as essentially identical with it (Hofmann).

τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεῦματος] τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν λαμβάνειν means to become partakers in the realization of the promise (Hebrews 10:36; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4); but τοῦ πνεύματος may be either the genitive of the subject (that which is promised by the Spirit) or of the object (the promised Spirit). The latter interpretation (comp. Acts 2:33; Ephesians 1:13) is the usual and correct one.[131] For if (with Winer) we should explain it, “bona illa, quae a divino Spiritu promissa sunt” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), then, in conformity with the context, this expression must refer back to Galatians 3:8 (προϊδοῦσα ἡ γραφή κ.τ.λ. προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβρ. κ.τ.λ.); and to this the first person λάβωμεν would not be suitable, as Paul referred that promise given to Abraham in the Scripture (by the Holy Spirit) to the Gentiles. And if ΤῊΝ ἘΠΑΓΓΕΛΊΑΝ ΤΟῦ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς were essentially the same as the ΕὐΛΟΓΊΑ ΤΟῦ ἈΒΡ., it would be entirely devoid of the explanatory character of an epexegesis.

διὰ τ. πίστ.] For faith is the causa apprehendens both of justification and of the reception of the Spirit; comp. Galatians 3:2-5; Galatians 5:5.

[131] So that τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν is to be referred, to the O. T. promise of the communication of the Holy Spirit (Joel 3; Acts 2:16),—a promise well known to all the apostle’s readers. Hilgenfeld incorrectly holds that “the promise given to Abraham is directly designated as an ἐπαγγελία τοῦ πνεύματος (a promise, the substance of which is the πνεῦμα).”Galatians 3:14. ἵναἵνα … Two gracious purposes of the Redeemer are here coupled together: (1) the extension of the blessing to Gentiles as well as Jews; (2) the outpouring of the Spirit upon those that embraced the faith of Christ.14. The twofold result of our Lord’s obedience unto death, the justification of the Gentiles, and the gift of the Spirit, through faith.

Christ having satisfied the Law in its most minute demands, has abolished it as a condition of salvation, and has thus removed the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. “They which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham”, Galatians 3:9.

the blessing of Abraham] Justification by faith, Galatians 3:9.

the promise of the Spirit] This takes us back to the question of Galatians 3:2. The ‘promise’ is of course not the promise spoken, but the promise fulfilled. So in Acts 1:4, where to wait for the promise is to await its fulfilment.Galatians 3:14. Ἵναἵνα, that—that) The first that corresponds to, being made (a curse), the last to, hath redeemed us; comp. that occurring twice, Galatians 4:5, note.—εἰς τὰ ἔθνη) on the Gentiles, who were afar off, Galatians 3:8.—τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος, the promise of the Spirit) Luke 24:49, note.—λάβωμεν, we might receive) we Jews, nearly related in Christ to the blessing. The nature of faith is expressed by this word; the promise and faith stand in relation to each other.—διὰ τῆς πίστεως, by faith) not of works, for faith depends on the promise alone. “The Spirit from without kindles within us some spark of faith, whereby we lay hold of Christ, and even the Spirit Himself, that He may dwell within us.”—Flacius.Verse 14. - Two results are here stated as having flowed from the abrogation of the Mosaic Law which was effected by the crucifixion of Jesus: one, the participation of Gentiles in "Abraham's blessing," to which they could not have been admitted as long as the Law was authorized to shut them out from God's covenant as unclean; the other, the impartation to God's people, upon their faith only, apart from acts of ceremonial obedience, of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Are these stated as co-ordinate results, in the same way as a repeated ἵνα ("in order that") introduces co-ordinate results in Romans 7:13; 2 Corinthians 9:2; Ephesians 6:19, 20? Or is the second a consequence of the first? In favour of the first view, it may be said that, in point of fact, Gentiles, as such, were not admitted into a participation in Abraham's blessing till some time after the day of Pentecost. But on the other hand, it may be urged

(1) that, though not as yet actually admitted, yet in the Divine purpose, and in the ordering of the conditions of the case, they might have come in, - the door was open, though the threshold not actually crossed; and

(2) that their admissibility may be supposed to have been in the Divine counsels the prerequisite condition of the Holy Spirit being imparted, it not being fitting that the Spirit should be given so long as the Law was, so to speak, standing there, authorized to debar from this, the most essential portion of "Abraham's blessing," any who were partakers of Abraham's blessing. In the three passages referred to as favouring the construing of the two clauses as co-ordinate, we have not as here two different results, but one and the same, only in the second clause more fully described. The second view seems, therefore, the more probable one. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ γένηται ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: so most recent editors read, in place of Ἰησοῦ Ξριστῷ); that upon "the nations" might crone the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus. The phrase, εἰς τὰ ἔθνη... γένητα, is illustrated by the use of γίγνεσθαι εἰς, "arrive at," or "accrue to," in Acts 21:17; Acts 25:15; Revelation 16:2. For the preposition εἰς we may also comp. Romans 3:22, "Unto (εἰς) all and upon (έπὶ) all." By τὰ ἔθνη, as the whole context shows, the apostle means in particular "the Gentiles," the non-Jews, as such. At the same time, the phrase is evidently used, as found ready at hand in the passage cited by him in ver. 8, "In thee shall all the nations (ἔθνη) be blessed," which passage also suggested the notion of "the blessing of Abraham." It had therein been foretold that all the nations should, by exercising the faith of Abraham, obtain the same blessing; and (says the apostle) we see now by what method the benefit has been brought to them. "In Christ Jesus;" not merely by him; the blessing is, so to speak, immanent in Christ. both procured by him and obtained by the nations through their coming by faith into union with him. Comp. Ephesians 1:6, 7, "His grace which he freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved; in whom we have our redemption;" Colossians 2:10, "In him ye are made full;" and the like. "The blessing of Abraham." The expression, being drawn from the passages in Genesis in which the Lord assures Abraham that "he would bless him," and that "in him all nations should be blessed," must be taken to import the Divine good will and whatever benefits would therefrom result. Men arrive at t is "benediction" by being justified; but justification is only the entrance into it, and not the whole blessing itself. It is styled Abraham's blessing, as having been emphatically declared to have been possessed by the patriarch, "the father" of all who should thereafter receive it. That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ Πνεύματος λάβωμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως). The pronoun "we" points, not to the Israelites as such, nor to Israelite believers in particular, but to those who were viewed as God's covenant people. These had hitherto been Abraham's natural seed only; and had also hitherto been under the Law. But the time had come when they were to receive the full "adoption of sons," and therewith the Spirit of God's Son (Galatians 4:5, 6); which, however, could not come to pass until the Law, "the yoke of slavery," had been cleared out of the way, opening the gate to God's benediction to all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles. The Law and the Spirit could not coexist. Where the Law had sway, there was tutor-ship (παιδαγωγία) and slavery. Such, it is true, was needed, so long as the Spirit was not there; for moral beings, forming a people of God's, must be under some Law; and, if there was not a law written on the "fleshy tables of the heart" by God's Spirit, there behoved to be one embodied in an outward code of ordinances, which should coerce men's frowardness and keep them under discipline. But when this outward code had been taken out of the way," nailed to Christ's cross," then the people of God could not be left without the Spirit - the Spirit of holiness, as well as, or rather, because also, the Spirit of adoption; which accordingly was forthwith imparted, the sole condition of the bestowment being their living obedient faith, felt and by baptism professed, in Christ and in God. Comp. Ephesians 4:13-18, as containing a full presentment of these facts relative to the introduction of the new covenant, and in the same order of sequence. Thus the apostle has triumphantly returned to the thesis from which he had started in the two first verses of the chapter - Christ crucified, and the receiving of the Spirit without works of the Law. "The promise of the Spirit" is the Spirit which had been promised; the word "promise" here denoting, not as in Hebrews 11:33, the word assuring a subsequent bestowment, but as in Luke 24:49 and Hebrews 11:39, the bestowment itself. The apostle points not merely to such passages of the Old Testament as had definitely fore-announced the outpouring of God's Spirit (Joel 2:38; Isaiah 44:3; and the like), but the whole "kingdom of God," or "world to come," whose blessedness therewith came. That (ἵνα)

Marking the purpose of Christ in redeeming from the curse of the law.

That we might receive, etc.

The second ἵνα is parallel with the first. The deliverance from the curse results not only in extending to the Gentiles the blessing promised to Abraham, but in the impartation of the Spirit to both Jews and Gentiles through faith. The εὐλογία blessing is not God's gift of justification as the opposite of the curse; for in Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:11, justification is not represented as the opposite of the curse, but as that by which the curse is removed and the blessing realized. The content of the curse is death, Galatians 3:13. The opposite of the curse is life. The subject of the promise is the life which comes through the Spirit. See John 7:39; Acts 2:17, Acts 2:38, Acts 2:39; Acts 10:45, Acts 10:47; Acts 15:7, Acts 15:8; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:2, Romans 8:4, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:13.

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