Read Galatians 3:1-29
Have you ever played a game where someone changed the rules in the middle of the game? Double-dribbling is suddenly allowed. You only have three downs to make a first down; not four. If the person before you plays a red three in Uno, you are automatically eliminated from the game. Those rule changes can be frustrating!
Part of Paul’s point in Galatians 3 is that God doesn’t change the rules on His children. Justification (right standing with God) is, and always has been, by faith alone. He illustrates that in a number of ways.
Your relationship to the Holy Spirit– Verses 2 and 3 make clear that every follower of Jesus has the Spirit of God in him/her. This relationship began as you placed faith in Christ…not by observing rules. Now, as a follower of Christ, God doesn’t change the rules mid stream so that you keep the Spirit or progress in your relationship because you adhere to a legalistic list.
Abraham’s righteousness– Verses 6-9 remind us that Abraham was not considered righteous on the basis of what he had done but because he believed God. Since Abraham’s time, God has not changed the rules so that you…even though you now live thousands of years after Abraham…must perform certain tasks in order to be acceptable by God. You too are declared righteous on the basis of personal faith in Christ’s finished work.
The promise given to Abraham– Verses 15-19 remind us of the promise extended to this great patriarch…a promise that looked ahead to Christ. But God did not introduce the law midstream in order to change the rules from promise to performance. No, the Old Testament law was designed to point out a person’s shortcomings and his/her need for Christ rather than become a means of salvation.
Thankfully, God didn’t change the rules. If you are one of His kids, don’t think for a moment that the rules have changed. Don’t think for a moment that you can obtain or are keeping your salvation as a result of your observance of a list of rules.