Jan Lambrecht, «Abraham and His Offspring. A Comparison of Galatians 5,1 with 3,13», Vol. 80 (1999) 525-536
Just as after the Abraham passage of 3,6-12 Christ is mentioned in 3,13 quite unexpectedly, so also after 4,21-31, Pauls so-called allegory which deals with the wives and sons of Abraham, the sudden statement about Christ in 5,1 cannot but surprise the reader. Although the word order differs, both vocabulary and content of parts of 3,13a and 5,1a are identical or at least similar. Abrahams faith was already, by way of anticipation, Christian faith. Moreover, "those of faith" in 3,7 and 9 implicitly are believers in Christ. This also applies to 4,26. The children of "the Jerusalem above" are free because they belong to Christ, even if in v. 26 this is not (yet) explicitly stated. Therefore, a seemingly brusque transition from the Abraham text or the allegory to Christ should not disturb the reader too much.
matter? What is the relationship between the Spirit experiences of the Galatians and the righteousness of Abraham? Both are guaranteed on the ground of faith. Are the two simply identical?
The conclusion in verse 7 has far-reaching implications: "Therefore know [probably an imperative] that it is the people of faith who are the children of Abraham". Why can this conclusion be drawn? According to Paul faith is so important that it constitutes the basis for a connection between Abraham and the others, a connection so strong that the believing Galatians can be called children of Abraham. Verse 6 quotes Gen 15,6, where Abrahams faith and righteousness are mentioned. In verse 8 a further citation is present: "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you" (probably a conflation of Gen 18,8 and 12,3). It would be wrong to understand this blessing of all the Gentiles as a kind of reward for Abrahams faith; Pauls reflections run in another direction. He emphasizes the parallel between father and children, and thereby also between his righteousness and their blessing. It also becomes evident that for the Gentiles righteousness (v. 8a) and blessing (v. 8b) are identical. All this was planned by God; scripture foresaw it (proi+dou=sa) and proclaimed it beforehand as gospel (proeuhggeli/sato) to Abraham.
In verse 9 one more conclusion is indicated: "So then, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed". Gentiles believe and are blessed together with Abraham who had faith. A small change in comparison with verse 8 is worthy of note: "in" Abraham becomes "with" Abraham. According to verse 9 Abraham not only believes (and not only receives the scriptural promise of the Gentiles future blessing), but he himself is also blessed, like the Gentiles. For Abraham, too, righteousness is the same as blessing. Moreover, blessing refers to the Spirit. Although Paul could hardly say that Abraham already possessed the Spirit, through the two purpose clauses in verse 14 one understands that the blessing of Abraham is the promise of the Spirit. The second clause explains the first.
In Gal 3,1-14 Paul very much stresses the decisive importance of faith. By hearing with faith the Galatians have received and experienced the Spirit. This corresponds with scripture: Abraham is justified through faith; in him all nations, all the Gentiles will be blessed. Those who believe are his children; together with him they are blessed. One would think that faith is the only condition. Being blessed through faith is being justified through faith, and this implies the possession of the Spirit.
This reading, however, has not yet considered the sudden mention of Christ in verses 13-14. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (v. 13a)4, "in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles" (v. 14a). By these