Paul faith, not by works of the law. The

Paul was so strong in his conviction that righteousness
relied solely on having faith in Jesus and trust in God, he had the confidence
to reprimand Peter when they were both in Antioch. Peter had implicitly agreed
with the position of the Judaizers on circumcision to the harm of Gentile
converts. For Peter’s hypocrisy, Paul rebuked him. In essence, the basis of the
rebuke is that adding law to grace is to destroy grace and to make a mockery of
Jesus’ life and death on the cross.                                                                                                                                                Paul’s
argument of justification was that holiness was received by faith, not by works
of the law. The example of Abraham illustrates this point exactly. And thirdly,
the law, which came 430 years after God’s covenant with Abraham, cannot invalidate
the promise. Jesus was not concerned with circumcision in the slightest. This is the heart of this epistle because Paul
clearly sets forth what justification by faith really meant and why it was
true.                                                   Such
vindication of justification by faith raises a problem. “Why then was the law
given at all?” If the same God gave the promise, why would he add the law? Paul
answers this question by rationalizing that the law had a purpose to point out
to the nation of Israel its need for Christ. It was put into place to aid the
people to receive the Spirit of God when they were struggling to do so. One
cannot be spiritual by means of circumcision or just by observing the law,
first of all because no one follows the law in its entirety, and secondly
because God’s blessing cannot be earned, it is a gift. The law would not exist
without the promise. Paul goes on to validate that all believers in Christ are descendants
of Abraham and equal in the eyes of God; there are no categories for
discrimination. He pities those who observe the Sabbath and Day of Atonement before
putting their trust in Jesus, because these acts alone will never be a means of
sanctification. Paul then ponders why people agreed with him when he preached
the gospel, but not when he speaks truths about the gospel.                                                                                       After demonstrating that
the law enslaved, he points out that the Galatians, too, had experienced
slavery as pagans worshipping false gods. By accepting the Judaizers’ message,
they would simply be replacing one kind of slavery with another. Not only this,
but the outcome that the Judaizers’ message would have on the Galatians was not
only alienating them from Paul, but also robbing them of their joy in Christ. Paul
actually finds circumcision a hindrance to people’s believing in Christ. Paul
concludes his appeal employing Hagar and Sarah as an allegory for slavery and
freedom, respectively.                                                                                                                    Paul
then delves into how faith should manifest in life. At stake especially is
Christian liberty. Paul addresses how enslavement of the law is detrimental to
liberty. He asserts that it enslaves the believer, turns the believer into a
debtor, alienates the believer from Christ causing him to fall from grace, hinders
the progressive sanctification of the Christian, and removes the stigma of the
cross, suggesting that Christ died for nothing. Paul explains that obsession
with the law and circumcision spread due to corrupted teaching with incorrect
information, just like a bad rumor.                                                                                                                                                      On
the other hand, Christian liberty does not give one license to do whatever he
wants. Paul wishes that believers would respect the law by keeping with the
command that sums up its purpose, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” One cannot
attain salvation if he harms other people. Bottom line is the liberty of
justification is the liberty to live for God, not the liberty to sin.