Spirit and Flesh

International Sunday School Lesson October 22, 2023 Lesson #8

Galatians 3:1-14 (ESV) O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. [2] Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? [4] Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? [5] Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— [6] just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? [7] Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. [8] And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” [9] So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. [10] For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” [11] Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” [12] But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” [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 hanged on a tree”— [14] so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:1-14 ESV


The book of Galatians deals mainly with the subjects of Law, Grace, Flesh, and Spirit. The apostle Paul had been to the area twice before writing the epistle. He had a relationship with the folks. He traveled once in 51 or 52 A.D. after the council at Jerusalem. He traveled a second time in 54 A.D.

Most scholars believe the Galatians were Celts. However, they were, by all indications from contemporary remarks, influenced by German culture.

Who Bewitched You? — Galatians 3:1

Paul begins this section of the epistle with very strong language. He reminds the reader that the crucifixion was very publicly preached to them. They heard from speakers that were witnesses of the events. Paul had told others that he was determined to make the cross the central story he shared (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Yet, they were drifting into apostasy.

Are you Perfected by the Flesh? — Galatians 3:2-4

Did the Law give you the Spirit? Has anyone received the Spirit of God by works of the Law? No! The gift of the Holy Spirit came by accepting Jesus by faith. This was the main proof that the apostles had that Gentiles were accepted into the church. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit, therefore the Gentiles were given the right-hand of fellowship.

Paul warns the Galatians that they could lose their salvation if they continue down the road they are walking. John later gives the same warning in his epistle (2 John 2:18).

Sons of Abraham — Galatians 3:5-7

God was working miracles in the church through the apostles, pastors, and missionaries. Paul underscores that this is happening by hearing with faith. It is not works of the Law that is the foundation of these mighty miraculous acts. Believing God and the message of salvation transforms us into the children of Abraham (John 3:39-40).

Nations Blessed — Galatians 3:8-9

Paul continues his argument by pointing out that Abraham received the promise that the entire world would be blessed through his offspring, Jesus Christ. The Torah discussed the intake of Gentiles into the faith with those promises (Genesis 12:3).

Live by Faith — Galatians 3:10-12

The Law brings a curse. It exists to codify what is right and wrong. The Law requires 100% obedience. Unfortunately, none of us can live above sin. That is the curse of the Law. However, salvation by faith in Christ redeems us from the curse of the Law (Romans 4:15-16).

Redeemed from the Curse — Galatians 3:13-14

Christ became cursed when he hung on the tree. He was sinless. He did not deserve to die. Yet, he freely gave his life. He bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *