Lesson 297:

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole. 

This may be the reason Paul rejected Christianity at first. The fact that Jesus was hung on a pole was solid proof that he died under God’s curse. [A]nyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse (Deuteronomy 21:23), wrote Moses. Imagine Paul’s surprise when he discovered that Christ was hung on a pole, to bear the curse for Paul! 

We are all born under God’s curse because of our sin (Genesis 3:17). But Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Jesus took our curse, so we could receive his blessing. [God] has blessed us . . . with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), wrote Paul.

Galatians 3:26-27 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ

Jesus told the story of a wedding banquet for the king’s son, at which someone arrived improperly dressed. The king asked, How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend? The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:12-13). 

No one gets into heaven without being properly dressed, and the dress code for heaven is Christ. You might be a very nice person, who supported all the right causes, but if you are not clothed with Christ, you will be turned away. You might have gone to church every week, and sung in the choir, but if you are not clothed with Christ, you will be turned away. You might have done a good deed every day of your life, and been greatly loved by all, but if you are not clothed with Christ, you will be turned away. 

The dress code for heaven is Christ, and we are clothed with him through faith. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ, we are wrapped in his perfect righteousness, and suitably dressed for the age to come. [F]or all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ

Galatians 4:6 God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father. 

The Aramaic word for father is Abba. Because of its easy pronunciation, it was one of the first words a child learned: Mama, Papa, Abba. It is a term of tender familiarity, and seldom appears in the Bible. But the night before he was crucified Jesus prayed, Abba, Father (Mark 14:36). 

No one in the Old Testament ever spoke to God in such an intimate way. But God wants all believers to enjoy the same relational closeness to him that Jesus enjoyed. That is why he sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts so that we too would call him Abba, Father (Romans 8:15). The Spirit of Christ is always drawing us into a closer relationship with our heavenly Father.

Galatians 4:7 [S]ince you are his child, God has made you also an heir

Many of the early Christians were financially poor, with no chance of receiving an earthly inheritance. They were born poor, lived poor, and died poor. But through faith in Jesus Christ, they became heirs to the greatest fortune ever known. [Y]ou will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (Colossians 3:24), wrote Paul. And, This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:4), wrote Peter. 

Heaven is the best place to receive an inheritance for at least three reasons. First, many who hope for an earthly inheritance die before they receive it. Second, many watch their inheritance slip away before they receive it. Third, many receive an inheritance only to watch it disappear through carelessness, or circumstances beyond their control.

But this will never happen to children of God, because we will receive an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15), says Hebrews. This is better than any inheritance, of any amount, ever received in this life. Faith in Jesus Christ not only brings spiritual blessings, but lasting material blessings in the age to come. 

Galatians 4:10-11 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Under the influence of false teachers, believers in Galatia were taught to observe certain times on the calendar as having special religious significance. They probably corresponded to the religious calendar of the Old Testament, but these were not required in the New Testament. Paul was so concerned that he feared his ministry to the Galatians might have been a waste of time. To the degree they trusted in religious holidays to make them right with God, they were not trusting in Christ.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ (Colossians 2:16-17), he wrote.

When Jewish Christians stopped observing Jewish holidays, their fellow Jews disapproved of them. Paul did not want them to be concerned, however, because the reality was found in Christ. For example, Jewish families were expected to sacrifice a lamb on Passover. But Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7), wrote Paul. But what about Christian holidays? Should they be observed?

Many churches follow a religious calendar in which they celebrate certain days like Christmas and Easter. If they think observing those days earns them favor with God, they are absolutely wrong. The only way to find favor with God is through faith in Jesus Christ. Observing certain days does not make us pleasing to God, and we are not required to act differently on Christmas or Easter than on any other day.

But it would wrong to emphasize this too strongly. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind (Romans 14:5), wrote Paul. Every day is equally sacred, but believers who know this should be patient with those who do not, and should not create a fuss.

Reflection and Review
Why are Christians allowed to call God Abba? 
How does our future inheritance help us now?
Why was Paul concerned about religious holidays?