“Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘the righteous shall live by faith'”(Gal. 3:11)
In verse eleven Paul continues his main argument with the Jewish Christians or any Christians who would try to be justified by keeping the law. It is evident, he says. Evident through Abraham, evident through scripture (Hab.2:4). This same conclusion is reached by the Hebrew writer as he quotes from Isaiah and Haggai to connect to Habakkuk (Heb. 10:37, 38).
This is not new doctrine Paul wants them to know. It has always been at the root of man’s dealings with God. “Rend your hearts and not your garment,” (Joel 2:13) is a statement that suggests that righteousness was never a matter of just keeping the law. There is also Micah’s comments on keeping the law in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”
It is evident Paul says that God is not in the fleshly keeping of the law but in the spiritual act of faith that produces a heart given to God. Jesus also summed up the requirements for righteousness when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matt. 22:37 & 39). That statement from Deut. 6:5, Jesus taught, basically explained what all of God’s commands were about. Not works prompted by law but actions prompted out of love. You cannot love God by working but your love for God will prompt you into good works. In this regard, love and faith are closely related. First comes grace, then faith which produces love.
The true gospel preached to the Galatians was all about faith that produced righteousness. Believe the gospel and act on it is what Paul had been preaching and what he is reminding them of. God accepts our faith in lieu of our sinlessness.
Task for Today: Hold on to faith. Never try to substitute ‘righteous’ earning deeds for righteous producing deeds. The life to live is the life of faith in the Son of God who loves you and gave His life for you. “The righteous shall live by faith.”