The  Commentary
on the Book of Galatians

By Brother Given O. Blakely.



Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. " (Gal 3:10-12)



In Scripture, and from the standpoint of doctrine, the means through which a man becomes righteous is a key consideration. While men are prone to teach what men are to do to be saved, the Word of God approaches the subject of becoming righteous in the eyes of the Lord. That is a matter that covers what a person must do to be saved (Acts 16:31), yet gets more to the issue of what is involved in men sinning and coming short of the glory of God. While guilt is certainly involved, it is not the whole of the matter. Sinners are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1). They are "alienated from the life God" (Eph 4:18), and become God's "enemies" (Col 1:21). They are in a state where the things of the Spirit of God are "foolishness" to them, and it not possible for them to "know them" (1 Cor 2:13). They have "no hope," and are "without God in the world" (Eph 2:12). They are in a state where they are fundamentally "unrighteous," and "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal 5:21). They are not accepted by God, but are subject to "the wrath of God," because Satan is at work in them, and they are "children of disobedience" (Eph 3:3; 5:5; Col 3:6), All of those conditions must be remedied, and forgiveness, as ordinarily perceived is not enough to do so. An essential change must be made in the person through which they become acceptable to God. More is required in that change than man doing something. This is a work in which GOD must do something - something that is in strict accord with His nature: something that results in the individual being justified from all things, and being righteous before God. He must be re-created, or made anew, and the result must be a new man that "is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:24). Now, that is the matter Paul is addressing. Salvation must be lifted out of the realm of the theoretical and suppositional. It is not something for which we must apologize because it leaves men fundamentally unchanged. Divine acceptance and being made righteous are very real matters, and they must not be approached as though they were nothing more than powerless ideas.


Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

FOR. Other versions read, "Certainly," GWN "On the other hand," NJB "But," NLT "Yes," LIVING "And," AMPLIFIED "And that means," MESSAGE The word "for" is translated from a Greek word (ga.r) that means, "a particle of affirmation and conclusion, denoting truly therefore, verily as the case stands." THAYER This is a word that reflects a certain reasoning process - one that leads to an obvious conclusion. Throughout Scripture doctrine is often couched within the framework of a conclusion - the result of reasoning upon the basis of certain Divine affirmations. Solomon summarized his writings with a "conclusion" that encapsulated what he had written (Eccl 12:13). Apostolic doctrine reflected the same concept in the words "sum" (Heb 8:1) and "conclude" (Rom 3:26). This latter word means "to take an inventory, estimate, or conclude." STRONG'S "to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over; hence, to take into account, to make account of." THAYER

Statements of truth on a given subject are like a series of numbers to be summed up. The numbers themselves are not the final point, but the sum of them. The truth of God obtains its power for the individual when its various facets are perceived and a valid conclusion is reached. This is why good preaching is more than quoting texts of Scripture. As confirmed in the teaching of Jesus and His Apostles, the Word begins to work effectively when valid and intended conclusions are reached. Such is the text before us.

AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW. Other versions read, "All who rely on observing the Law," NIV "all who rely on the works of the law," NRSV "everyone who depends on legalistic observance," CJB "on the principle of works of law," DARBY "rely on their own efforts to live according to a set of standards," GWN and "who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals." AMPLIFIED

Regardless of the reason for this particular reliance, or the sincerity of the individual, this refers to all who are depending on, or trusting in, their own endeavors or efforts. Such people, regardless of the reason for this misplaced trust, are wrong - and a person CANNOT be wrong about the basis of Divine acceptance. The living God does not adjust His attitude toward people to accommodate the misconceptions of men. This is one reason why we have an Intercessor in heaven (Heb 7:25), as well as One within (Rom 8:26-27). In fact, it is particularly in view of the Holy Spirit's intercession that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28).

Because of those they had allowed to teach them, the Galatians had shifted their reliance from Christ to a kind of procedural religion. The particular emphasis focused on circumcision (Gal 2:3,7,8,9,12; 5:2,3,6,11; 6:12,13,15). Whatever arguments they had embraced concerning the necessity of circumcision, and however strongly they may have felt about it, Paul throws their arguments down to the ground, casting down such imaginations with holy reasoning.

ARE UNDER THE CURSE. All who are depending upon the Law, or any other system of doing, to gain Divine acceptance, resist the devil, and overcome the world are living under "the curse" - that is "the curse of the Law," the curse that was uttered by the Law. Remember, "the Law" specifically applies to the Law given to Israel, but it also applies to all other forms of law, even those which are purely of human origin - like the traditions of the Jewish elders (Matt 15:2-3,6; Mk 7:3,5,8-9,13). It also includes the traditions created and hawked by men today, including outlines for modifying domestic behavior, recovery systems, and the likes. Peter said of all such teachers, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (2 Pet 2:19).

CURSED IS EVERT ONE THAT CONTINUETH NOT. This verse has to do with DOING: "all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Other versions read "to perform them," NASB "to do everything," NIV "obey all the things," NRSV "abide by all things," RSV "doing everything," CSB and "continue to abide (live and remain)." AMPLIFIED Moses said it this way: "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do" (Deut 27:26). Jeremiah also referred to this stipulation (Jer 11:3).

The Law required complete and perfect obedience (Ex 23:22; Deut 4:6; 6:24-25; 8:1; 11:22,32). The life of the people depending upon this doing. Therefore God said, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD" (Lev 18:5). Ezekiel also confirmed this (Ezek 20:11,13,21). Jesus also confirmed this to the rich young ruler (Lk 10:28). Paul affirmed it in Romans 10:5), where he contrasted it with obtaining righteousness by faith. James also spoke of this: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). Under a system of law, this is an unwavering requirement. How foolish, therefore, to pursue such a system in this day of salvation.


3:11 "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."

Paul shows further how inexcusable it is to seek to please God or gain His favor by means of keeping a set of rules - even good and righteous rules such as those articulated by the Law. It ought to be noted that the weakness of the Law was owing to man, not the Law itself. It was "weak through the flesh" (Rom 8:3), requiring more of fallen man than he was able to do - yet never apprising men of that situation. In the final analysis, the spiritual impotence of man can only be confirmed when a hearty effort has been put forth to do what the Law says - remember, keep, and do it at all times, without a single deviation.

NO MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW. If even one man could be justified by Law, it would be incumbent upon all men to do so. This is because there is a common condition in the human race that will not, throughout all of human history, allow a single offspring of Adam to surface who can perfectly keep the Law. "No man is justified by the Law." Other versions read, "gets righteousness," BBE "comes to be declared righteous," CJB "receives God's approval," GWN "becometh just," MRD "is reckoned as upright," NJB and "declared righteous and brought into right standing with God." AMPLIFIED

The issue here is not God overlooking sin, but the individual becoming righteous, upright, holy, and God-like. This is not a theoretical condition, but an actual one, for God's intention all along was to make us "the righteousness of God" in Christ (2 Cor 5:21). That is precisely why God made Jesus "to be sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21). The righteous that we are "made" is no less real than the sin Jesus was "made." It must be remembered that the "new man," or the "new creature," is "created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:24). Colossians 3:10 affirms the "new man" is "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him." In other words, the redeemed are made "partakers of Christ" (Heb 3:14), and of the "Divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4).

The point here is that this state of righteousness, or re-creation, cannot be realized by keeping the Law - particularly God's Law, and generally any law or moral code. For example, if a drunkard follows the twelve-step program of AA, he may manage to refrain from drinking. However, that will neither take away the appetite for liquor, nor will it constitute him a righteous man. Righteous not only involves what a person does NOT do, but also takes into consideration what they desire, and what they actually do. Advancement in these areas cannot be achieved by means of a law, routine, or moral code. In our text, for example, being circumcised does not compensate for not having an appetite for the Word, or failing to live in anticipation of glory.

IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. Other versions read, "before God," NASB "in the eyes of God," BBE and "acceptance with God." WEYMOUTH Here righteousness is not defined by men, but by God. It is not what men see that is the issue, but what God sees - and He sees all, "for all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him" (Heb 4:13). If sin is present, He does not turn His face away from it as though it did not exist. And, if righteousness is present He does not fail to take delight in it. The whole aim of salvation is to enable men to ultimately stand before Him faultless (Jude 1:24). That objective begins in this world by receiving the atonement (Rom 5:11), living by faith (Rom 1:17), and walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:25).

IT IS EVIDENT. Other versions read, "clearly," NIV "is clear," BBE "is manifest," DOUAY and "it is obvious." NJB The word "evident" is translated from a word that means, "clear, evident, manifest." THAYER That is, what is here affirmed is something that believing the record will enable a person to perceive. If a person is familiar with Scripture, believes it, and knows how to handle it, it will be impossible to fail to arrive at this conclusion: a man is NOT justified in God's sight by the works of the Law! If a person - any person - does not arrive at this conclusion, he is not being reasonable. He is deceived by the god of this world, and thus is blinded to truth.

THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. Other versions read, "The righteous man shall live by faith," NIV "The one who is righteous will live by faith," NRSV "He who through faith is righteous shall live," RSV "the upright will be living by faith," BBE "The person who has God's approval will live by faith," GWN and "the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live." AMPLIFIED

This expression accounts for both the origin and maintenance of spiritual life. The Law promised, "DO and live." The Gospel announces, BELIEVE and live (John 11:25). This is an affirmation of reality, not a suggestion of possibility. Where people are not living by faith, they are not righteous, and where people are righteous in the sight of God, they are living by faith. As a professed believer, you are required to "examine" yourself "to see whether you are in the faith" (2 Cor 13:5). If your examination confirms you are "in the faith," you are righteous in God's sight. Your objective must be to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim 6:12), and to "keep . . . the faith of Jesus" (Rev 14:12). As long as you have faith, you have the guarantee of life, or reciprocity with God. Without faith there is not even a suggestion that you are alive unto God.


3:12 "And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them."

The strength of the drawing power of the Law upon the carnal mind requires this extensive explanation. Religious men have a certain propensity to law, routines, rituals, and procedures. Because they deal only with the surface of life, men tend to trust in them, imagining that human disciple guarantees Divine approval and acceptance. However, there is no such thing as a law, routine, ritual, or procedure that requires faith - and faith is essential with God. Paul does not leave us to guess about this matter but boldly announces the fact in the case, applying it to the loftiest law of all, which is "spiritual," "good," "holy," and "just" (Rom 7:12,14).

THE LAW IS NOT OF FAITH. Other versions read, "the law is not based on faith," NIV "The law does not rest on faith," NRSV "Furthermore, legalism is not based on trusting and being faithful," CJB "not on the principle of faith," CSB "Laws have nothing to do with faith," GWN "does not depend on faith," NAB "This way of faith is very different from the way of law," NLT and "does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith]." AMPLIFIED

The word "faith" occurs two times from Genesis through Malachi (Deut 32:20; Hab 2:4). The first is a denunciation of Israel for now having faith, the second is a prophecy of what is fulfilled in Christ. The tables of the Law contained no commandment to believe God. It was a system of DOING, not believing. Abraham is an example of believing God prior to the giving of the Law (Gen 15:6). Daniel's deliverance from the lion's den is traced to him believing "in his God" (6:23). The people of Nineveh "believed God" when they heard the preaching of Jonah (Jon 3:5). David confessed that he "believed" God's commandments (Psa 119:66). He also said he spoke because he "believed" (Psa 116:10). But this was not the result of the Law, for the Law did not require faith, and consequently did not bestow it or nurture it. It was "not of faith" - separate and distinct from faith. Those that believed during that era did not do so because of the Law.

The purpose of the Law was to acquaint men with sin. As it is written, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom 3:20). Rather than dealing with sin, or providing a remedy for it, the Law actually caused sin to abound - something like a broom stirring up a thick layer of dust on the floor. Paul put it this way, "that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful" (Rom 7:13). Confessing to his earlier experience of this very thing he said, "For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me" (Rom 7:11). It is as though sin was buried beneath the surface, and the Law, through its prohibition of the same, caused it to rise to the surface, making the offender acutely conscious of his condition.

Later in this chapter, Paul reasons on this fact. "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law" (Gal 3:21). That is, if it was remotely possible to change a person by a law, making them righteous before God, then God's Law would have accomplished that work. The fact that this superior law did not do that confirms that no man can become righteous before God by keeping the Law - any Law. It simply is not possible. This was not owing to any deficiency in the Law, but because the Law put the whole matter of righteousness in the hands of men. The serious soon found their hands could not hold that Law.

THE MAN THAT DOETH THEM. Other versions read, "he who practices them shall live by them," NASB "the man who does these things will live by them," NIV and "He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith]." AMPLIFIED The implications of this ought to be exceedingly apparent, but they are not. Men invariably consider the second table of the Law which pertains to inter-relationships with men. But the summation of the first table is this, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut 6:5; Ex 20:1-11). Life was to be lived wholly for the Lord, and His will was to be sought above all other wills. Nothing was to be allowed to upstage God, take the precedence over Him, or move men to forget their obligation toward Him. Not even a single infraction was permitted, as was confirmed in the Garden of Eden.

Those who imagine that life can be successfully changed by routines and habits must muse on this statement. Under the Law, the fundamental requirement of God was to love Him with every part of the inner human constitution. All of His laws were to be consistently remembered and obeyed. If they were not, the covenant was broken - and that is precisely what happened (Jer 31:32).

One other matter here. If men insist that their doing can procure salvation, Paul gives them at least two things to do - things that must be done if they are to be saved. "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead)" (Rom 10:6-7). Bring Christ from heaven to earth, then raise Him from the dead. Those are not things men DO, but things they BELIEVE. Nevertheless, if men insist on becoming righteous by doing, those are what THEY must do!