Finally finished my Galatians exegesis paper! Thanks for the useful comments (Dan, Matt, and others). I ended up just covering Gal. 3:10-12.
Here is my abstract:
Galatians 3:10-12 is at the heart of Paul’s message to the Galatian believers: salvation is unattainable by obedience to the law’s commands, because nobody is able to continually remain in steadfast obedience to them. The “implied premise” of Gal. 3:10 is stated in Gal. 2:16, which alludes to Ps. 143:2: nobody living is righteous before God. Since all are constituted sinners, nobody can be justified before God by the law, and eschatological life (salvation) is only available by the instrumentality of faith. Those, and only those, who possess faith will receive eternal life (Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11). The law embodies, naturally, the principle that obedience confers blessing. Hence, the law does not operate on the principle of believing, but on the principle of doing (Gal. 3:12). The law (both before and after the Christ event) has a twofold relation to justification: it does not confer righteousness (since nobody is able to keep it), but it shares in the prophetic witness to righteousness. It reveals and exacerbates sin, and drives penitent (regenerate) persons to repentance and faith.
A juicy Luther quote:
“Let the law have its glory…I will grant that it can teach me that I should love God and my neighbor, and live in chastity, patience, etc.; but it is in no position to show me how to be delivered from sin, the devil, death, and hell.”
— Martin Luther
Got it from Westerholm.
And my conclusion:
Those who look to their obedience to God’s commandments for gaining a right standing with God are under the curse of the law, because any righteousness they have is filthy rags in comparison to the perfect obedience which God required and which Christ has now furnished (Isa. 64:6; Gal. 3:10; II Cor. 5:21). The law in its commanding aspect does not function on the principle of faith. Rather, it was a temporary administration that revealed sin and thus witnessed to the righteousness that could only be obtained by faith. The Abrahamic promise of the Holy Spirit and eternal life among God’s covenant people has been given to Jews and Gentiles alike on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16; 3:10-14).
If there is interest, I’ll try to figure out a useful way to post more.