Israel was carried "On Eagles Wings" as she was led from Egypt, to Sinai where God visibly appeared to her and made an Everlasting Covenant with her; making her a chosen people unto Himself, and a great nation, which would strike terror and dread amongst her enemies, and be a sign to all the nations of the earth that God was with them. He sanctified her, and gave her His Law, which by doing she would live. The point being, from the beginning God had extended great mercy and favor towards her, in spite of the many setbacks and backslidings, He had always been an "ever present help in time of need". Therefore, her relationship with God has always been one of faith, even as the faith of Abraham, who trusted God and was accounted righteous, in spite of his failings and setbacks.
Before one delves into the argument of Law v Faith, made by the Apostle Paul, one must be mindful of Paul's audience. 1 Cor. 10:32 says,
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to
the church of God:
There are 3 Different Audiences Paul addresses: 1) The Jew, 2) The Gentile(pagan, non-believer), 3) Church of God(Christian-including believing Jews, and believing non-Jews)
Paul makes a distinction in addressing each group: in Romans 2:17-29 he says
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy
boast of God,
18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more
excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a
light of them which are in darkness,
20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the
form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit
adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law
dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you,
as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if
thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law,
shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the
law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that
circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of
the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not
of men, but of God.
Here, he addresses a man who knows the Law of God, is familiar with His ways, and yet infers that if he breaks the Law, "his circumcision is as uncircumcision", whereas, one who is uncircumcised yet keeps the Law, is the same as if he were circumcised.
2 things stand out: 1) Circumcision profits-if you keep the Law, 2) A Jew is one who's heart is circumcised. This begs the next question which Paul addresses in Rom. 3:1-2,
"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of
2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the
oracles of God
They know, and were given and taught the oracles of God. This is not the Gentile audience, nor the Church of God, addressed in Galatians.
The Gentile audience is addressed in Roman 1:20-23,
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The result is,
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without
law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Lastly, we have the Church of God, who is addressed in Gal. 3, and it is with this group there is a controversy. There are believing Jews, which are "zealous for the Law". in Acts 21:18-24 it says,
And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the
elders were present.
19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things
God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him,
Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which
believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews
which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought
not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for
they will hear that thou art come.
23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have
a vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with
them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those
things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but
that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law
Some had accused Paul of "forsaking the Law" and teaching other Jewish believers to do so. In response, they told Paul to "take a vow of purification" to prove once and for all that he was under the Law, as well as other Jewish believers.
But as to the non-Jewish believers, the disciples had already addressed that issue in Act 15:8-11
And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the
Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the
disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
The conclusion was,(vss 24-29)
Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have
troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be
circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send
chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the
same things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no
greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and
from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep
yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
This is the context of Gal. 3; not that Paul is disparaging the Law, but that apart from grace through faith, it is impossible to keep the Law. Furthermore, in regards to the Galatians, who were non-Jewish believers,
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of
the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made
perfect by the flesh?
They were originally preached to by Paul, and responded to the message by faith, the Holy Spirit bearing witness to their conversion. Certain Jewish believers came from Jerusalem(or Antioch) telling the Galatians unless they came under the Law, they were not saved. This is how to rightly understand Gal. 3:10,
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for
it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things
which are written in the book of the law to do them.
They are abandoning the "righteousness by faith" to supposedly achieve acceptance "Under the Law", when the Law had not been given to them(excluding what I said concerning the 10 Commandments and the 2 Great Commandments). It became a "curse" to them, and a yoke of bondage when it was clear God wasn't requiring the "works of the Law", but the obedience of faith from them.
So then, what about the Jews? Is it a fair assumption to say they were "sandbagged by God" with the Torah, and without the means to keep it?
No, No, and a thousand times NO!
God GAVE the Torah to the Nation of Israel with the provision of grace to keep it. Unlike the non-Jewish nations, He made them a "holy nation", "a people set apart for Himself". He gave them the Land and the Promise of Descendants, which to this day He has fulfilled. He gave them an Everlasting Covenant, which He promised that the sun and the stars would quit shining before He would disavow His Covenant.
But the "Just shall Live by his faith"(Hab. 2:4). This is the message of Rom. 3:30-31,
Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith,
and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
establish the law.
And for the believing Jew and non-Jew,(Acts 15:8-11) Peter says,
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we
shall be saved, even as they
Therefore, all were to live by faith.