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Read Introduction to Galatians


“For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”


Paul now points out the distinctions between grace-oriented believers and legalistic believers.


In contrast to those who fall from the grace principle, grace-oriented believers “eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” They do it “through the Spirit,” the divine side of anticipation. Grace people do not look for perfection originating from works-righteousness; instead, they eagerly anticipate a day when they will attain consummated perfection in the eternal state. That is what we call the believer’s “glorified” state, the full realization of righteousness. 

we through the Spirit

It is the Holy Spirit who directs the heart of Paul and his associates toward the hope of righteousness. Legalism works through the power of self; grace works through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the divine side. Grace depends on God to work. There is a stark contrast in the method employed between legalism and grace. One depends on God, and the other depends on the self.

eagerly wait

The Greek word for “eagerly wait” (apekdechometha) occurs seven times in the New Testament for Christ’s return (Romans 8:19, 23, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 9:28). We “eagerly” wait because it is worth waiting for. That is why we anxiously anticipate it. When we possess it, we enter into its blessedness. We have not arrived yet. Jesus saved our soul, but He will save our body in the future day. Until then, keep your your Anacin!

“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).

for the hope of righteousness

When people became believers, God accredited His own righteousness to them or gave them imputed righteousness at the point of salvation. One day, when they go to be with God, they will have another righteousness, a perfect, consummated righteousness. That is the time when Christ comes to glorify us (Romans 8:18-21). That is our hoped-for righteousness, the object of our hope. On that day, God will totally sanctify us to sin no more. Grace-oriented believers do look for perfection, not perfection in time but eternity.

by faith

This hope of righteousness comes “by faith.” The word “by” means from, out of. The human side of grace is to exercise “faith.” Christ will provide perfect experiential righteousness when He perfectly conforms us to God’s will when He comes back. That is our “hope” or confidence.


Grace-oriented people wait for the culmination of their perfection in Christ; they do not pretend to have it now.


Christians received imputed or positional righteousness at the point of salvation. When Jesus comes, He will transform our body of flesh into a body like His glorious one. Then we will have perfect righteousness in body, soul, and spirit.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Christians do not work for perfection; they wait for it. Their objective is perfection in eternity, not in time. Grace has no illusions about obeying the law.

What a contrast between the grace-oriented person’s hopefulness and the legalist’s hopelessness! We wait to receive all that the Lord purchased on the cross. Jesus justified us at a point in time, so we do not hustle around trying to work for righteousness. We wait for the perfect righteousness that He will give us on that day.

Legalism is a rat race because it is futile to measure up to a perfect God. No matter how hard legalists work, there is no end to it, for they will never arrive. The harder they work, the deeper in debt they get. On the other hand, grace believers rest in the provision of Christ. They do not need to work for righteousness because Christ did all the work necessary.