Bible Commentaries
Galatians 3

Burkitt's Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the NTBurkitt's Expository Notes

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Verse 1

Observe here, 1. The object of the apostle's sharp reprehension, the churches of Galatia.

Observe, 2. The ground of their reprehension, their defection from the truth into a very great error, namely, their holding of circumcision, and the observation of the ceremonial law, as necessary to salvation; which was a making of the cross of Christ of no effect, and a virtual denial of his being come in the flesh.

From hence we learn, that the best and purest of particular churches may err, and have erred fundamentally and dangerously: For what consists such a church of, but persons all fallible? Head and members, being all sinful, are as unable to secure themselves from error, as from vice. Indeed the church of Rome talks big, and boasts of a false gift, that of infallibility; but could never yet agree where it is lodged, whether in the Pope, or in a general council; however, they are sure they have it. Well, if so, the more wicked and wretchedly inexcusably are they, in not improving their talent of infallibility for the best service of the Christian church, namely, by writing one infallible comment upon the whole Bible. What a serviceable performance would it have been in them, to pin the Pope in his chair, and hold down his hands to write, as Aaron and Hur held up Moses's hands to pray, till all the Amalekite errors and heresies, so much complained of, were routed and ruined! Woe unto them that let such an excellent gift lie idle amongst them, and unemployed by them.

Observe, 3. The high and heinous aggravation of this fault in the Galatians, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, crucified among them; that is, Christ, and their freedom by him from the bondage of the ceremonial law, had been preached to them: and his death and sufferings, with the great end and design of them, as plainly laid before them, as if Christ himself had been crucified in the midst of them.

Observe, lastly, the brand of infamy which our apostle sets upon the Judaizing doctors, heretical and false teachers; he calls them spiritual sorcerers, and their doctrines spiritual witchcraft: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?

Because, 1. As sorcerers, by deluding the senses, make persons apprehend they see what they see not; so heretics, by casting a mist of seeming reason before the understanding, do delude it, and make the deluded person believe that to be truth, which indeed is not.

2. As sorcerers, in what they do, are assisted beyond the reach of their own ability and skill, by the help of Satan; so heretical spirits are often, by Satan's concurrence with them, more than ordinarily assisted by him, in drawing multitudes after them: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you? The original word seems borrowed from the practice of witches and sorcerers, who being assisted by the devil, use to cast mists before the eyes of the people, to dazzle and delude them.

Verse 2

Our apostle having prepared the Galatians' attention, by a very smart and sharp reprehension in the foregoing verse, returns to the subject of justification by faith without the works of the law, which he had entered upon in the former chapter, and prosecutes at large in this; and he uses five arguments to prove that we are justified by faith, and not by works;

The first is contained in the verse before us, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? As if the apostle had said, "I appeal to your own experience; you have received the Spirit yourselves, some of you for sanctification, others for miraculous operations; now I would know by what means you received it? Was it by hearing the law of Moses preached? You cannot say it: for you were heathens, and without the written law; it must then be by hearing of the gospel, the doctrine of faith, which I preached to you."

Here we have a truth expressed, and a truth implied.

The truth expressed is this, that the hearing of the gospel faithfully preached, is the instrumental mean by which persons receive the holy Spirit in the sanctifying gifts and graces of it, to enable them to live a holy and spiritual life: Received ye not the Spirit by the hearing of faith? Yes, ye did.

The truth implied is this, that a people should take great heed, that they never undervalue, much less despise and vilify that ministry, or that doctrine, which God at first blessed for their conversion. How many are there in England at this day, who disown that church, despise that ministry which God blessed to their conversion, if ever they were converted? Sad it is, yet very certain, that like vipers they gnaw out the bowels of her who suckled them at her breast.

Verse 3

Observe here, the apostle calls the doctrine of the gospel, Spirit; because by hearing the gospel preached, they had received both the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. The law, with all its rites and ceremonies, he calls flesh; because they were now weak, and being but temporary institutions, were abolished by the coming of Christ and the gospel.

Observe next, how the apostle endeavours to convince the Galatians of the folly and absurdity of hoping to perfect that in the flesh, which they had begun in the Spirit: Are ye so foolish? As if he had said, "That having at your entrance into Christianity begun a holy life, by and according to the holy Spirit conferred upon you, that now you should think to be made more perfect by the flesh, by the external commandments and observances of the law; how unreasonable is it to suppose that your justification should be begun by a more noble, and perfected by a less noble cause?"

Verse 4

As if the apostle had said, "To what purpose have you suffered so many persecutions from the Jews, for the cause of Christianity? All which sufferings will be in vain, if, after all, you bring yourselves under the bondage of the Jewish yoke; for these might have been escaped, had you owned the necessity of circumcision, and other legal observances: But I hope you will recollect yourselves, and persevere in your first profession, without which all your former labours, your past and present sufferings, will avail you nothing." Intimating, that all the good actions we have done and the hard things which we have suffered, will be altogether in vain to us, if we do not persevere in well doing, and patient suffering unto the end: Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Note here, 1. That it has been from the beginning the lot and portion of such as profess Christianity, to suffer many things in the defense of it.

Note, 2. That it is very possible for some of those who have made an early and long profession of Christianity, yea, and suffered hard things for it, after all, to make a foul defection and apostasy from it.

Note, 3. That all such sufferings have been, are, and will be in vain, and return to no joyful account, if the persons suffering do afterwards apostatize from, and turn their backs upon the truths of God, formerly embraced and maintained by them: Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Verse 5

Observe here, 1. That God did accompany the first preaching and planting of the gospel with the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, with a power to work miracles, to heal diseases, and to speak with tongues which were so many attestations and confirmations that the doctrine of the gospel was from God; for here St. Paul appeals to the Galatians, as men that had the Spirit and miracles amongst them, He that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles; implying, that almighty God had given to them his holy Spirit, both in the sanctifying graces, and miraculous gifts of it.

Observe, 2. That the Spirit thus communicated in the first and early days of Christianity, was not given to the Galatians, or any other Gentiles, by the preaching of the law, but by the ministry and dispensation of the gospel, which is here called the hearing of faith: He that ministereth to you the Spirit, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Learn hence, that although the gifts and graces of God's holy Spirit are conveyed to the hearers of the gospel by the ministry of the word, yet God is the author, the minister, and dispenser of them, and the gospel only the instrument and mean of their conveyance: He ministereth to you the Spirit.

Verse 6

Here our apostle proceeds to a second argument, to prove that persons are justified by faith, and not by works; and that is drawn from the example of Abraham: And the argument lies thus: "As Abraham, the father of the faithful, was justified; so must all believers, the children of faithful Abraham, be justified also. But though Abraham did abound in many virtues and good works, yet he was not justified by these, but by faith only; therefore by faith must all his children be justified also. Abraham believed God; that is, assented to, and relied upon the promise of God made unto him, that in him, that is, in the Messias, who was to descend from him. should all the nations of the earth be blessed; and this faith of his was accounted imputed, and reckoned to him for righteousness; that is, was accepted of God for his justification."

From whence the apostle doth infer, or draw this conclusion, that such as seek justification by faith, as Abraham did, are the children of Abraham, as the Gentiles were; that is, the children of his faith; a far greater privilege than what the Jews gloried in, namely, that they were the children of his flesh.

Learn hence, that as the pious Jews under the Old Testament, so are Christians now under the New Testament, justified alike. Were they justified freely? So are we. Are we justified fully? So are they. Was a righteousness necessary for them to be clothed with, in order to their acceptance with God? The same is necessary for us also. Was faith imputed by God to them for righeousness? So shall it be to us also.

Verse 8

Observe here, that because the former consequence from Abraham's justification to ours, might be questioned whether it holds in the Gentiles, who were not of Abraham's posterity; therefore the apostle declares, that the greatest promise made to him, was, That in him, that is, in the Messias Christ Jesus, who was to come of him, all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews, should be blessed; God having determined, that all believers indefinitely, of what nation or kindred soever, should be all justified one and the same way, namely, by faith in Christ, without the works of the law. So that all that are of faith, or true believers, whether Gentiles or Jews, do partake of all those benefits and blessings which believing Abraham did partake of, amongst which justification by faith is the chief.

Learn hence, 1. That the gospel is no new doctrine, but the same for substance, though not for clearness, with that which was preached to Abraham and to the church under the Old Testament; The scripture preached before the gospel unto Abraham.

Learn, 2. That the blessing of justification by faith, and of other spiritual favours promised to the nations in Abraham, was such as Abraham himself was a sharer in, and partaker of; they were blessed with faithful Abraham.

Verse 10

Here is a third argument produced in this chapter, to prove that we are justified by faith, and not by works; because they who seek to be justified by the works of the law, are under the curse: and if so, cannot be justified. The argument runs thus, "Our observance of the law, when at the best, is but imperfect: Now every imperfect performance lays us under the curse, therefore no performance of ours can justify us. They that cannot fulfil the law, can never be justified by the law: But no fallen man can perfectly fulfil the law, therefore none can be justified by the law." This is the force of the argument, which the apostle proves by a quotation out of Deuteronomy 27:26. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

Where note, 1. The duty which the law enacts, namely, perfect, personal, and perpetual obedience.

2. The penalty which the law inflicts, and that is the curse; Cursed is every one, &c.

Learn hence, that sin and the curse are inseparable; wherever sin is, the curse will be, be it upon a person by imputation, or by actual commission; wherever sin lies, it lays us under the curse; for sin is an infinite evil, objectively considered; it is a contempt of infinite authority, a contrariety to infinite holiness, a provocation of infinite justice, and an abuse of infinite mercy; and consequently, the desert of sin is death and the curse.

Verse 11

A fourth argument is here produced to prove, that no sinner can be justified before God, by the works of the law, although before men he may. The argument is this, taken from The just shall live by faith Habakkuk 2:4: that is, live his spiritual life by faith, his life of justification and sanctification also: the life of his righteousness before God, of his holiness before men, and his life of glory with God in heaven, are all by faith. He adds, The law is not of faith; Galatians 3:12 that is, the law says nothing of faith in a Mediator, or promises life to any person, save only to him who by a sinless obedience performs exactly what it prescribes: but the voice of the law is, Do, or die.

Learn hence, that the law and faith, that is, the law and the gospel, are not contrary to each other, but are mutually subservient one to another in many things; as thus, when the law makes known sin, the gospel holds forth the remedy for sin; the law discovers our need of Christ, the gospel makes an offer and gracious tender of Jesus Christ; the law makes known to us our entire duty, the gospel furnishes us with strength and ability to perform that duty.

Learn, 2. That though the law and faith, that is, the gospel, which is the doctrine of faith, be not contrary to each other, yet in point of justification they are mutually inconsistent one with another: So that if justification be by the works of the law, it cannot be had by faith: if it be had by faith, it cannot be attained by the works of the law. There can be no mixture of law and gospel, of faith and works, in this matter.

Verse 13

This is the apostle's fifth and last argument, to prove that we are justified by faith; and that notwithstanding the threats of the law, a believer is freed from the curse and malediction of the law, by Christ's bearing the curse for him. Christ hath redeemed us, &c.

Where note, 1. The believer's happy discharge from the most dismal and dreadful thing imaginable; namely, the condemnatory sentence and curse of the law, whereby a sinner is bound over to death, even to death of soul and body.

Note, 2. The person that doth, and only can deliver the sinner from this condemnatory curse and sentence, and that is Jesus Christ. He discharges the believer from his obnoxiousness to wrath, dissolves his obligation to punishment, looses all bands and chains of guilt: so that the curse of the law has nothing and shall have nothing to do with him for ever.

Note, 3. The way and manner in and by which Jesus Christ effecteth all this for us; namely, by his being made a curse for us; not that Christ was made the very curse itself, or changed into a curse, but he took the curse upon himself, our sin became his by voluntary susception of the punishment; and Christ underwent that death, the death of the cross, which by the law was accursed, to free us from the curse of the law; as Christ was made sin for us, so was he made a curse for us. Now as he was made sin, not by contracting the guilt of sin, but by suffering the punishment of sin; so he was made a curse, by undergoing that death which the law styles accursed.

Verse 14

Observe here, one special fruit of Christ's sufferings, and being made a curse for us: namely, that the curse being abolished, the blessing of Abraham, that is, the blessing of justification, reconciliation, and adoption promised to Abraham upon his believing, might come upon all the believing Gentiles, through Christ, the promised seed: and that the Gentiles might receive the promises made by Christ, of the holy Spirit, both in its miraculous gifts and sanctifying graces, through their submission to the faith of Christ, or the doctrine of the gospel.

Learn hence, 1. That Christ, by submitting to the curse of the law did not only appease the wrath of God towards us, and deliver us from the curse of the law deserved by us, but purchased all spiritual blessings for us, such as grace here, and glory hereafter- Christ was made a curse, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles. Oh wonderful grace, infinite love, and astonishing goodness of God, in that great work of our redemption, in bringing about one contrary by another! He giveth life by death, and the blessing by the curse: Christ was made a curse, that the blessing might come upon the Gentiles.

Learn, 2. That there was a promise of divers blessings made to Abraham: namely, that God would give him a son by Sarah, a son in his old age, and by that son a numerous issue; that that issue should become a mighty nation, and possess all the land of Canaan, wherein he then sojourned; and that he would settle his covenant, that is, his church, in that family and nation; and that in one person descending from his posterity, all nations should be blessed: and that this blessing, introduced by that one perosn, should abolish the curse brought upon all nations by the first person's sin: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.

Verse 15

Observe here, 1. An argument drawn from contracts among men, to prove the fixedness and stability of the covenant made by God: if one man makes a covenant with another, signs it, seals it, and delivers it before witnesses, it becomes irrevocable and irreversible; much more then must the covenant of grace and mercy made with us by God, be perpetual and immutable, since it is a covenant established by oath; and when God swears, he cannot repent.

Observe, 2. The apostle proves, that the covenant of God can never fail, in regard of the wisdom and invariableness of him that made it: so it can never expire for want of parties that have interest in it, and advantage by it, for want of a seed to whom it is made: for as long as Christ hath a church and members upon earth, so long shall the promise be of force: not only to Abraham, but to his seed, were the promises made: not to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ; where, by one, we understand one mystically, and in the aggregate; not only personally and individually: And by Christ, the whole church, consisting of head members, believing Gentiles, as well as Jews.

Observe, 3. That the apostle having confirmed the truth of his doctrine by arguments in the foregoing part of the chapter, comes now, in the latter part of it, to answer objections which some might be ready to make against his doctrine. The first we have, Galatians 3:17, This I say, that the covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot disannul. The objection lies thus: Some might say, "when two laws are made, whereof the one was expressly contradictory to the other, the latter doth, in common presumption, abrogate and disannul the former: But here we find, that four hundred and thirty years after the promise made to Abraham, there was a law published extremely contrary to that promise, a law without mercy or compassion, a law both impossible and inexorable, a law which can neither be obeyed nor endured, a law which denounces a terrible and severe curse to the transgressors and breakers of it: therefore, it should seem as if some cause had happened, to make God repent and revoke his former covenant promise made to Abraham."

To obviate this objection, our apostle shews, first, what the purpose of the covenant promise to Abraham was; namely, to give life and salvation by grace and promise. Secondly, what the purpose of the latter covenant by Moses was not; namely, to give the same life by working, since, in those respects, there would by a contradiction and inconsistency in the covenants, and so by consequence, instability and unfaithfulness in him that made them. That, therefore, which the apostle here drives at, is this, that the coming of the law hath not voided the promise, and that the law is not of force towards the seed to whom the promise is made, in any such sense as carries contradiction to, or implies abrogation of, the promise before made: from whence it follows, if it be not to stand in contradiction to, it must stand in subordination to the gospel, and so tend to evangelical purposes.

Learn hence, 1. That although God might have dealt with mankind as an absolute Lord and Sovereign, yet he doth not govern them barely by a law, but by a covenant, which has promises and threatenings annexed.

Learn, 2. That after the covenant of works, made with man, before the fall, was broken by Adam, God was pleased to enter into a covenant of grace with fallen man, to deliver him out of an estate of sin and misery, and to bring him into a state of salvation by a Redeemer.

Learn, 3. That though the former and latter covenant did differ in some considerable circumstances, yet they are one and the same in substance, and do fully agree in all the essential parts of both.

Learn, 4. That God's intent in giving the law, and urging exact obedience to it, under the penalty of the curse, was not to take us off from seeking righteousness and life only by the promise, but to encourage us to seek it; for, says the apostle here, The law could not disannul the covenant made with Abraham, nor make the promise of no effect.

Verse 19

Here an objection is moved: Some might be ready to say, "If the law, that is, works done in obedience to the law, do not justify, then the law given by Moses upon Mount Sinai, is in vain, and to no purpose; for why was the law given, enjoining so many duties, promising life to the obedient, and threatening wrath and a curse to the disobedient, if the inheritance come not by the law?" The apostle answers, that one great end for which the law was given, was to discover sin, and a sinner's undone condition by reason of sin, and to lead him to seek out for a remedy. The law was added because of transgressions: that is, to make transgression appear, to discover the pollutions of men's hearts and natures, and make them sensible of the condemnation they are under. The law was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come: that is, Christ and his church.

Where note, that the legal dispensations were not to continue always in the church, but only till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: at whose death the partition wall was broken down, and the Gentiles called into the fellowship of the church, as well as the Jews.

Observe, farther, the glorious and amazing manner, in which the law was given upon Mount Sinai, in thunder and lightning, by the ministry of angels, in such a terrible manner, that there was no access for sinful man to God, but by Moses, a mediator, standing betwixt God and them; who in that action was a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and us. As Moses was a typical, national, and representative Mediator, standing between the Lord and that people of the Jews, so Christ was a substantial and universal Mediator between God and mankind.

Where note, that the law was published in mercy and pacification, not in fury and revenge; for had the Lord intended death in the publishing of the law, he would not have proclaimed it in the hand of a Mediator, but of an executioner. He adds, That a Mediator is not a Mediator of one, that is, of one party, but of disagreeing parties. God and man were once friends. They were one, and needed no Mediator: But God and man, by sin, fell at variance, and now need a Mediator. The very notion of a Mediator doth suppose, that men by sin, are at odds with God, and that God, by grace, is willing to be one with man. However, though a Mediator is not a mediator of one, yet God is one: that is, together be two covenants: he carries on one and the same purpose and intention, both in the law, and in the gospel; namely, a benevolence and good-will towards, and a hearty desire and reconciliation with mankind.

Verse 21

Another objection is here made by the apostle: The Jews might possibly say, "That the law given by Moses was against the promise of God made to Abraham." The apostle answers, No; that the law is not contrary, but subservient to the promise: For the law was not given on Mount Sinai, to afford life and justification by obedience to it (seeing it could not by a fallen creature be ever perfectly kept) but to convince of sin, and to condemn for sin; and that men, despairing of salvation in and of themselves, might speedily betake themselves to Christ for it: for God in the scripture, hath concluded, that is, declared all men to be under sin, and under the curse due to sin; that renouncing all confidence in themselves, they should, by faith, have recourse to the only Mediator for righteousness and life, for justification and salvation.

Learn hence, that God in the publication of the law by Moses, on Mount Sinai, had none but merciful and evangelical intentions.

2. That the publication of the law by Moses, was not against the promise of God made to Abraham, but they had both the same merciful design and gracious intention. To explain the matter by a similitude or illustration, thus: "Suppose a prince should proclaim a pardon to all traitors, if they would come in and plead it, and after this should send forth an officer to attack and arraign them, to threaten and condemn them: Is the prince contrary to himself? Hath he repented of his mercy?

No, sure! but he is unwilling to lose the glory of his mercy, and most desirous to have the honour of it acknowledged; and therefore he bringeth these criminals into extremities, that when their guilt is made evident, they may acknowledge the justice of the law that would condemn them, and the great mercy of the prince in offering a pardon to them." The case is alike between God and us; first to Abraham, and in him to us: God made a promise of mercy and blessedness, even to all that would plead an interest in it, for remission of sins, and acceptance with God: But the world grew secure; and though sin was in them, and death reigned over them, they regarded not their miserable condition; being without a law to evidence sin and death unto their consciences, they saw no necessity of pleading the promise of pardon.

Hereupon God publishes by Moses, a severe and terrible law, a law which filled the air with thunder, and the mount with fire, insomuch, that Moses, the Mediator, did exceedingly fear and quake; yet in all this, God did but pursue his first purpose of mercy, and take a course to make his gospel accounted worthy of all acceptation, that men being by this law roused from their security, and made sensible of the course and malediction they lie under, might run from Sinai unto Sion, from Moses to Christ, and by faith plead that pardon and remission which in Christ was promised, when God told Abraham, that in his seed should all the families of the earth be blessed.

Verse 23

Before faith came, that is, before Christ came, and the doctrine of faith was preached, we were in bondage under the law; the ceremonial law was a very great bondage; their frequent going up to Jerusalem at their festivals, was burthensome; their ceremonies were many, inconvenient and chargeable; their laws for uncleanness and purifications, rendered them unconversable, at all times, with other people, and sometimes unconversable one with another; yet was the law very useful to the Jews, that so they might be prepared by it to receive the doctrine of Christ, and salvation by faith in him.

Hence it is that he calleth the law their schoolmaster to bring them unto Christ: the schoolmaster excercises authority over minors only, not over grown persons; he teaches only rudiments and first principles for beginners, not such things as require mature judgment and perfect age.

Such was the law in comparison of the gospel, and Moses with respect to Christ. Moses and the law is a rigid and severe schoolmaster, who, by whips and threats, require a hard lesson of their scholars, whether able to learn it or not: But Christ and the gospel is a mild and gentle teacher, who, by sweet promises and good rewards, invite their scholars to their duty, and guide and help them to do what of themselves they cannot do; by which means, they love both their master and their lesson, and rejoice when he is nearest to them, to direct them in their studies. As the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, so Christ is our great prophet that leads us to God.

Note, farther, that though the law was a good schoolmaster to the Jews in their infancy and minority; yet it has no authority over Christians now grown up to maturity. The gospel-church, that is, both believing Jews and Gentiles, being like a son come to age, believing in Christ already come, are no longer to be treated as children under the discipline of the law as a schoolmaster; for they are now under the evangelical, not Mosaical dispensation of the covenant of grace. After that faith is come: that is, Christ, the object of faith manifested, and the gospel, the doctrine of faith revealed, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Verse 26

Observe here, 1. A glorious gospel privilege discovered, namely, adoption; Ye are the children of God. The church of God, under the New Testament, is in a special state of sonship and adoption, to whom the privileges and immunities of sons and heirs grown up to maturity do belong.

Observe, 2. The universality of this privilege, Ye are all children of God; that is, all, both Jews and Gentiles, all, both weak and strong, believers; substantial relations do not recipere majus et minus; he that is a father in reality, cannot be more a father to one child than to another: the young one in the cradle may call the parent father, as well as he that is grown to man's estate; Ye are all the children of God.

Observe, 3. The instrumental cause of this blessed privilege, Faith in Christ Jesus; Christ invests every believer, weak as well as strong, in this glorious privilege of adoption; faith in Christ to come, did entitle believers under the Old Testament, to the dignity of sons and daughters; and faith in Christ now already come, doth add some peculiar dignity of sonship to believers under the New Testament: They with us, and we with them, are all the children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus; Christ of a Son became a servant, that we of slaves might become sons.

Verse 27

What the apostle had asserted in the foregoing verse, he proves in this; namely, that all believers are the children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, because they are baptized into Christ and have put on Christ; that is, they are admitted into the Christian church by baptism, they profess Christ's holy religion; and if they live as they profess, they put on Christ; that is, they are made partakers of his Spirit, and do copy forth the excellencies of his life. To put on Christ, is not as to put on a suit of clothes fitted to the body, but as metal cast into a mould, receiving the figure from it.

Happy they who are not only sacramentally, but really and spiritually baptized into Christ: incorporated into them, and made one body with him by faith; who do not only bear his name, but wear his image.

Verse 28

As if the apostle had said, "Now, since the coming of Christ, there is no difference of discrimination between one nation and another, no regard to any national privilege, either of Jew or Gentile, no distinction of conditions, either bond or free; or of sexes, either male or female; but circumcised or uncircumcised, we are all one as good as another, in respect of outward privileges, or external advantages; but being sincere believers, we are all equally accepted of God in Christ."

Learn hence, that no external privilege or prerogative whatsoever, without faith in Christ, is any whit available to salvation; none are debarred from Christ, nor more nor better accepted with him for any of these things: Both the circumcised and uncircumcised are his, if believing in Christ.

Verse 29

That is, "If ye be Christ's servants and subjects, then are ye the true seed of faithful Abraham, and heirs of the blessing, according to the promise made to him and to his seed." This our apostle asserts, in opposition to the false apostles, who maintained, that there could be none tryly reputed Abraham's seed, except they were circumcised, and subjected themselves to the law of Moses: "Yes, says the apostle, if ye be Christ's, and by baptism ingrafted into him, you are the true children of Abraham, though ye be not circumcised; yea, you are heirs apparent of the heavenly inheritance given unto Abraham by promise."

Learn hence, that all sincere and serious Christians are Abraham's spiritual seed, children of his faith, though not of his flesh; and being the children of his faith, are heirs together with him of the same promises. If ye be Christ's, that is, sincere and serious Christians, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Galatians 3". Burkitt's Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the NT. 1700-1703.