Galatians, Part V [12-5-10]


Part V

Chapter 3:19–24



Galatians 3:16-18) [GNB] Now, God made his promises to Abraham and to his descendant. The scripture does not use the plural “descendants,” meaning many people, but the singular “descendant,” meaning one person only, namely, Christ.

17) [GNB] What I mean is that God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it. The Law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, cannot break that covenant and cancel God’s promise.

18) [GNB] For if God’s gift depends on the Law, then it no longer depends on his promise. However, it was because of his promise that God gave that gift to Abraham.

QUESTION: If you sign a contract to buy a house, a car, or a TV, are the terms of that contract binding?

ANSWER: Yes! Neither party can decide independently that they want to change the agreement. The agreement can only be changed if both parties agree; then that new agreement becomes an amendment to the original contract.

QUESTION: What does this have to do with Law and Grace?

ANSWER: God entered into covenant/contract with Abraham. That covenant was based on: 1) Abraham leaving his father’s house; 2) and God doing the rest. Abraham did what the covenant of promise required of him; it’s now up to God to do the rest. GOD HAS NO INTEREST IN AMENDING THE COVENANT/CONTRACT!

On To This Week’s Lesson:

Galatians 3:19-20) [GNB] What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added in order to show what wrongdoing is, and it was meant to last until the coming of Abraham’s descendant, to whom the promise was made. The Law was handed down by angels, with a man acting as a go-between.

20) [GNB] But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.

19) [GW] What, then, is the purpose of the laws given to Moses? They were added to identify what wrongdoing is. Moses’ laws did this until the descendant to whom the promise was given came. It was put into effect through angels, using a mediator.

20) [GW] What A mediator is not used when there is only one person involved, and God has acted on his own.

19) [NLT] What Well then, why was the law given? It was given to show people how guilty they are. But this system of law was to last only until the coming of the child to whom God’s promise was made. And there is this further difference. God gave his laws to angels to give to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.

20) [NLT] Now a mediator is needed if two people enter into an agreement, but God acted on his own when he made his promise to Abraham.

QUESTION: What is Paul showing us here?

ANSWER: He’s showing us that the Law is inferior to the Promise.

QUESTION: How is the Law inferior?

ANSWER: It was a covenant between God and man that required the faithfulness of both sides. It failed, in the area of bringing man into a right relationship with God, because man never kept its side of the covenant.

QUESTION: How else is the Law shown to be inferior?

ANSWER: The covenant of Law had a mediator between God and man, — Moses. There was no need for a mediator concerning the covenant of Promise because God is the only One required to be faithful.

Galatians 3:17) [GNB] What I mean is that God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it. The Law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, cannot break that covenant and cancel God’s promise.

Galatians 3:21) [GNB] Does this mean that the Law is against God’s promises? No, not at all! For if human beings had received a law that could bring life, then everyone could be put right with God by obeying it.

QUESTION: The Promise first, then the Law; does that mean that the Promise somehow failed?

ANSWER: NO! The problem was never the Promise. Anything that depends on God’s faithfulness alone must always succeed.

Galatians 3:22) [GNB] But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.

(CEV) But the Scriptures say that sin controls everyone, so that God’s promises will be for anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ.

(GW) But Scripture states that the whole world is controlled by the power of sin. Therefore, a promise based on faith in Jesus Christ could be given to those who believe.

QUESTION: What’s Paul showing the purpose of the Law to be?

ANSWER: The purpose of the Law was to clearly state was sin was so that all could be convinced that they were sinners. Once convinced, they would come to know that their only hope of salvation is to receive the free gift of God’s grace.

Galatians 3:23) [GNB] But before the time for faith came, the Law kept us all locked up as prisoners until this coming faith should be revealed.

24) [GNB] And so the Law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might then be put right with God through faith.

23) [MSG] Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law.

24) [MSG] The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.

QUESTION: Besides Jesus, no man has ever kept the Law. What was the penalty of Law for sin?

ANSWER: Death!

QUESTION: Then how did the Law “protect” Jewish people?

ANSWER: The Jews were constantly breaking the commands of God, but when they were faithfully, to the best of their abilities, following God, the priests ministered the sacrifices that God commanded, and their sins were “covered.” They still weren’t fit for Heaven because the penalty for their sins hadn’t been paid, but God provided them with a temporary haven until Christ paid in full for their sins.

NOTE: The sacrificial system of the Law pointed to the coming Lamb of God Who would truly pay for their sins.

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church