Once in Arizona I saw a tree growing oranges, grapefruit and lemons. How did that work? You can’t grow one of those orange-grapefruit-lemon trees from seed. Someone had grafted grapefruit and lemon branches onto an orange tree.
Grafting is an amazing way to give new life and Paul used that imagery in the third chapter of Galatians.
Galatians were grafting in the wrong teachings and Paul challenged them. Because they were considering a return to Jewish law, Paul gave them correct Jewish teaching in this chapter.
God made promises to Abraham that still apply to Abraham’s offspring. Followers of Jesus are grafted in, like a new limb onto a tree, and made part of God’s contract with Abraham. The law had not yet been given when that first happened, yet Abraham received God’s blessing – not because he kept the law but because he believed God.
The law came later, with Moses. When the law was given, we were all put in jail until Christ paid the price for us. When the law code was published, lawbreaking became clear. No one had an excuse now. We were guilty by the law.
Jesus died in our place so that the promises made to Abraham are also available to us. We receive the blessing of God as an inheritance, not because of our efforts but because of God’s grace.
Paul wrote to the Galatians to remind them that they did not need to earn God’s grace through following the law. In choosing to follow Jesus, they were grafted in to the tree of life. They were declared children of Abraham and therefore heirs of the promise.
Consider journaling on these questions:
Are you an heir of God’s promises? Why has God allowed you to enjoy blessings? What are examples of God’s grace?