Under traditional theology, the Book of Galatians should be stricken from the sacred text. From Chapter one through Chapter six, Paul continuously draws a sharp contrast between the struggle for right status before God under a law system and the assurance of right status before God under the promise of grace. Under law man’s status depends on obedience to requirements. Under grace right status is guaranteed by the faithfulness of God and Christ. Righteousness (right standing before God) under law is dependent on human knowledge and faithfulness. One’s status before God under promise is completely independent of human involvement. It is assured by God’s sovereign will, divine power, and unremitting Love. No man, no celestial being, and no church sponsored doctrine can possibly nullify the promised outcome which is assured by the very purpose of God in man’s creation. Whatever God initially intended for mankind is assured, because He cannot be denied.
Looking more specifically at Galatians, we see in Chapter 1 that man’s deliverance from the age of obedience to the law was accomplished in Christ in accordance with the will of the Father. In Chapter 2, Paul warns against those who would return to the bondage of the law, forsaking the freedom from law keeping inherent in Christ. Where the law failed to justify, the faithfulness of Christ succeeded. In Chapter 3, Paul highlights the fact that the law and its requirements never nullified the promises through Abraham upon all mankind. The system of mandated requirements was a temporary one, always pointing to the fulfillment of God’s promise, separate and apart from any law. In Chapter 4, we encounter the well known allegory of the two sons of Abraham, one representing bondage under law and the other symbolizing freedom under promise. Freedom by definition is the absence of requirements. Chapter 5 begins with a warning about the incompatibility of adhering to a requirements based system and then trying to hold on to the freedom of God’s promise. In further defining the contrast between law and grace (or promise) Paul compares the fruits under legal requirements and those under the promise.
Chapter 6 then concludes by speaking of operating under the law of Christ, which is really the principle of love, reiterating the very words of Jesus. In keeping with what Paul has previously said, this law is not a legal requirement; instead it is a law of nature, in the same sense as the law of gravity.
Missing the point of Galatians and insisting on salvation by obedience requires an inherited blindness. The institutional church is happy to do the blinding.