And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Then are ye Abraham's seed - The promise made to Abraham related to the Messiah. It was a promise that in him all should be blessed. Abraham believed in that Messiah, and was distinguished for his faith in him who was to come. If they believed in Christ, therefore, they showed that they were the spiritual descendants of Abraham. No matter whether they were Jews or Gentiles; whether they had been circumcised or not, they had the same spirit which he evinced, and were interested in the promises made to him.
And heirs according to the promise - See Romans 8:17. Are heirs of God. You inherit the blessings promised to Abraham, and partake of the felicity to which he looked forward. You have become truly heirs of God, and this is in accordance with the promise made to Abraham. It is not by the obedience of the Law; it is by faith - in the same way that Abraham possessed the blessing; an arrangement before the giving of the Law, and therefore one that may include all, whether Jews or Gentiles. All are on a level; and all are alike the children of God, and in the same manner, and on the same terms that Abraham was.Romans 9:7,8.
then are ye Abraham's seed; not his natural but his spiritual seed, the seed that should come, and to whom the promises were made, Galatians 3:16 and so were upon an equal foot even with the Jews that believed:
and heirs according to the promise; being the children of God, they are heirs of God; and being the spiritual children of Abraham, the children of the promise, which are counted for the seed, they are, according to the promise made to Abraham and his spiritual seed, heirs of the blessings of the grace of life, and of the eternal inheritance; of the blessing of justification of life, and of everlasting salvation; of this world and of the world to come; of all the spiritual blessings of the covenant of grace, and of the incorruptible and undefiled inheritance of the saints in light; to which they are begotten through the abundant mercy of God, for which they are made meet by the grace of Christ; and to which they have a right by his justifying righteousness.And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Galatians 3:29. But by your thus belonging to Christ ye are also Abraham’s posterity: for Christ is indeed the σπέρμα Ἀβ. (Galatians 3:16), and, since ye have entered into the relation of Christ, ye must consequently have a share in the same state, and must likewise be Abraham’s σπέρμα; with which in conformity to the promise is combined the result, that ye are heirs, that is, that ye, just like heirs who have come into the possession of the property belonging to them, have as your own the salvation of the Messianic kingdom promised to Abraham and his seed (the realization of which is impending).
δέ] drawing a further inference, so that, after the explanation contained in Galatians 3:28, εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ in point of fact resumes the Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε of Galatians 3:27. The emphatic ὑμεῖς has as its background of contrast the natural descendants of Abraham, who as such do not belong to Christ and therefore are not Abraham’s σπέρμα.
τοῦ Ἀβρ.] correlative to Χριστοῦ, and emphatically prefixed. Ye are Abraham’s seed, because Christ is so (Galatians 3:16), whose position has become yours (Galatians 3:27). Comp. Theodoret and Theophylact.
κατʼ ἐπαγγ.] for τῷ Ἀβρ. ἐῤῥήθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, Galatians 3:16. It is true that this σπέρμα in Galatians 3:16 is Christ: but Christians have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27), and are altogether one in Christ (Galatians 3:28); thus the κατʼ ἐπαγγ. (in conformity with promise) finds its justification. But the emphasis is laid, not on κατʼ ἐπαγγ. as contrasted with κατὰ νόμον (Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Wieseler), or with another order of heirs (Hofmann), or with natural inheritance (Reithmayr), but on κληρονόμοι, which forms the link of connection with the matter that follows in ch. 4, and both here and at Galatians 4:7 constitutes the important key-stone of the argument. This κληρονόμοι is the triumph of the whole, accompanied with the seal of divine certainty by means of κατʼ ἐπαγγ.; the two together forming the final death-blow to the Judaistic opponents, which comes in all the more forcibly without καί (see critical notes). The alleged contrast was obvious of itself long before in the words σπέρμα τοῦ Ἀβρ. (comp. Galatians 3:18). The article was no more requisite than in Galatians 3:18.
κληρονόμοι] The connection with the sequel shows, that the sense of heir is intended here. Τοῦ Ἀβρ. is not, however, to be again supplied to κληρονόμοι, as might be inferred from σπέρμα; but, without supplying a genitive of the person inherited from, we have to think of the κληρονομία of the Messianic salvation. Comp. Romans 8:17. Against the supplying of τοῦ Ἀβρ. we may decisively urge not only the sequel, in which nothing whatever is said of any inheriting from Abraham, but also κατʼ ἐπαγγ. For if Paul had wished to express the idea that Christians as the children of Abraham were also the heirs of Abraham, the κατʼ ἐπαγγ. would have been inappropriate; because the promise (Galatians 3:16) had announced the heirship of the Messianic kingdom to Abraham and his seed, but had not announced this heirship in the first instance to Abraham, and then announced to his seed in their turn that they should be Abraham’s heirs.Galatians 3:29. ὑμεῖς. The emphatic insertion of ὑμεῖς before Χριστοῦ in preference to Χριστοῦ ἐστέ lays stress apparently on the wonderful transformation of men who had been aliens from the people of God into members of Christ.29. If ye be Christ’s] If ye are by faith incorporated into Christ, the promised Seed, then by virtue of that living union ye are yourselves Abraham’s seed. The paraphrase of Theod. Mops. is remarkable: ‘If ye are Christ’s by reason of regeneration in Baptism, typifying your future likeness to Him, and if Christ is Abraham’s seed, it follows of necessity that you also, being His body, are the seed of the same ancestor as He is, and consequently heirs too of the promise’.
Christ’s] Our Lord Himself used this expression (Mark 9:41) to describe His disciples. The blessed privilege may be abused, and vaunted in a spirit of sectarian rivalry (1 Corinthians 1:12); but to ‘belong to Christ’ is the high dignity and the eternal security of every believer (1 Corinthians 3:23). The Apostle has established the assertion of Galatians 3:7 that believers are the true children of Abraham and heirs of the promise. ‘Union with Christ constitutes the true spiritual descent from Abraham, and secures the inheritance of all the Messianic blessings by promise, as against inheritance by law’. Dr Schaff.Galatians 3:29. Ἆρα, therefore) Christ sanctifies the whole posterity of Abraham.—ἐπαγγελίαν, the promise) given to Abraham.
—————Verse 29. - And if ye be Christ's (εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Ξριστοῦ); and if ye are Christ's. The δὲ simply marks a fresh stage in the argument, as e.g. Romans 8:17, εἰ δὲ τέκνα καὶ κληρονόμοι. For the preceding verse is no digression, requiring us to render this δὲ "but," but simply an amplification of the notion of putting on Christ in ver. 27; and the present clause recites that previous conclusion, to serve for a premiss to a further conclusion. "Are Christ's;" comp. 1 Corinthians 3:23, "And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." This genitive here, as also there, denotes the closest and most intimate approximation conceivable, "Christ's own;" covering, in fact, the notion of being clothed with Christ; and expresses what that "one and the same man" is, which according to ver. 28 in Christ Jesus all had become. Comp. Titus 2:14, λαὸν περιούσιον, "a people of his very own." Then are ye Abraham's seed (ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ); then seed of Abraham are ye. "Ye,' Gentiles though ye be. In ver. 7 the apostle has affirmed that they who are of faith are sons of Abraham; in ver. 16, that the promises were made to Abraham and "his seed, which is Christ." We have seen that in that ver. 16 "Christ" appears to mean that branch of Abraham's offspring which was, so to speak, to proceed from Christ and was to be called by his name. If, however, "Christ" be there taken to mean the individual Son of Abraham, Jesus, then those who believe in him and have been baptized into him are to be understood as here affirmed to be "Abraham's seed," because, being clothed with Christ. they share his position. The same result is arrived at either way. And heirs according to the promise (καὶ [which word is rejected by recent editors] κατ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι; heirs in pursuance of a promise. "Heirs," not of Abraham, but of God; for the notion connects itself with that of the sonship to God, which has been predicated in ver. 26 of believers in Christ; and these two united conceptions form the topic of the first seven verses of the next chapter. This is in accordance with Romans 8:16, 17, "We are children of God; and if children, also heirs; heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ." It goes upon the same lines of thought as the statement made above in ver. 16, that the promises were spoken, not to Abraham only, but also to his seed as well; the seed being conceived of by the apostle, not as inheriting from Abraham, but as holding an independent position of their own at his side. The benefits accruing to them have been styled "the inheritance" in ver. 18, which verse also serves to illustrate the spirit of the clause now before us, by affirming that the inheritance was a free gift of God conveyed by a promise, and not one to be either gained or made sure by obedience to a ceremonial law as the Galatians were in danger of supposing. The article is wanting before "promise' here, as it was also in ver. 18; because the apostle is not thinking immediately of the terms of the promise, but rather of its distinctive character as a promise, betokening a free gift of God. The inheritance is no doubt the adoption of sons, both in its firstfruits in this life and in its complete manifestation hereafter in the bliss and glory of heaven (cf. Romans 8:23, 30; 1 Peter 1:4).
As being one with Christ. See Galatians 3:7, Galatians 3:16. In Romans 4 Paul shows that Abraham was justified by faith, and was thus constituted the spiritual father of all believers in Christ, whether circumcised or uncircumcised. The purpose of God in making the inheritance of the promise dependent on faith was that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Abraham, he says, is "the father of us all" (Romans 4:16). This spiritual paternity does away with the current Jewish notion of physical paternity. Physical relationship with Abraham is of no significance in the economy of salvation. The apostle "discovers the basis of Christian universalism in the very life of him in whose person theocratic particularism was founded. He has demonstrated the existence of a time when he represented Gentilism, or, to speak more properly, mankind in general; and it was during this period, when he was not yet a Jew, but simply a man, that he received salvation" (Godet).
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