Thursday, February 6, 2014

Galatians 3:15-29 Get out of jail free!

In the final passages of Galatians 3, Paul explains the three aspects of the Law given to Moses: it’s priority, it’s purpose, and it’s problem.

First, Paul establishes that the Law is of lower priority than God’s plan of salvation by grace, because it came later, after the promises to Abraham:

Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.  This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. (Galatians 3:16-18 ESV)

God made His covenant with Abraham based on His OWN righteousness 430 years prior to the Law. When God makes a covenant, it cannot be broken.

Next, Paul points to the purpose of the Law that God knew we could not keep:

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. . . Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. (vs.19, 23-24)

So is the Law in opposition to grace? No way! It was given to protect us from ourselves! But it has one major problem: it cannot save us!

Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. (vs.21-22)

The Law is good, but we are not! The problem with it, is that it actually just imprisoned us in our sin by declaring us constantly guilty! It was given to provide boundaries to our depravity, but it could not free us from it. Only faith in Christ can do that.

And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. 

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (vs. 25-26)

Jesus provides us the way out of the prison of trying to gain righteousness by keeping a set of rules and rituals. He frees us from religiosity, and provides the gift of salvation that we just need to receive by faith. We just need to open our hearts to receive it!

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