I am totally loving Galatians 3. This passage connects to Genesis 15, Levitcus 19 and Romans 4. In college I spent hours and hours dissecting these pericopes in completing my exegetical assignments. I absolutely loved it! I could spend hours more diving into this chapter, but I'll restrain myself.
Yes, this chapter in Galatians is a bit ridiculous to follow--what with Paul's commentary style--but its words are so freeing! How similar are we to the Galatians? We are constantly striving, forgetting how we've been forgiven, neglecting the power of Christ and the Cross. How dare we! Paul gives these people (and us!) a smack in the face to bring them back to reality. Of course it's not because we follow the law that we've been justified and forgiven or seen miraculous signs! That's nonsense. God does not give us His Spirit because we have suddenly because completely adept at following the law. Not even close!
Paul hits home with these Jewish believers when he reminds them of their forefather, Abraham. It is with him that the plan of redemption started rolling. God gave Abraham a promise--that ALL nations would be blessed through him. It's a little bit impossible to be the father of all nations, don't you think?! But God knew better. His plan was greater and widespread.
While the world was waiting for the Seed, the Son of the Man, the Messiah to show up, the law was in place. This law wasn't instituted as the end-all of salvation. It was necessary to keep us sinful humans under control. But the law became something God never intended it to be. Staunch Israelites and Jews made adherence to the life the goal in and of itself. They became nit-pickers. They lost the spirit of the law--that God wants us to be holy as He is holy.
When Jesus showed up on the scene, He became the fulfillment of the promise God gave to Abraham. No, this fulfillment did not oppose the law, but in fact brought it full circle. NOW, everyone could become heirs in the promise of Abraham and subsequently become his offspring. The law was no longer the point. Salvation by faith in Christ was the purpose of God's plan for our redemption. Christ did not abolish the law but gave us a means of actually achieving what the law was set up to do--make us holy.