3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: The Law was given to condemn the sinner in order that he might realize his need for the grace of God.

October 30, 2013

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

Tom Lowe

Chapter III.B.1: Its Temporary Nature (3:19-25)

Galatians 3.19-25 (KJV)

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Introduction

It seems that every passage we come to is more wonderful than the one before, and this one is no exception. I never fail to be blessed and enlightened by each and every one. I hope I can do justice to this section and that with the aid of the Holy Spirit, I will rightly divide His Word. I fear that I might get very wordy with my explanations, since I am very excited about this section.

Commentary

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

The question asked in this verse is a natural one after the statements made by the Apostle Paul in the preceding verses. Paul anticipates in writing to the churches in Galatia that the question concerning the purpose of the Law might be brought up, so he answers the question before it could be asked. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul had proven in the first three chapters of Galatians that the Law of Moses was not given to make man better, or to save him, much less to justify him. The Law was given to condemn the sinner in order that he might realize his need for the grace of God. Paul had shown that the death of Christ is the final, conclusive argument that salvation cannot be attained by keeping the Law, because he says, “If righteousness come by the Law then Christ is dead in vain.” To teach salvation by the Law would be the same as denying both the necessity and effectiveness of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Law can neither sanctify a man nor make him better. All it could do was to show him how bad he was, and the hopelessness of his condition without the grace of God.

And so Paul having demonstrated that the Law cannot JUSTIFY or SANCTIFY or SATISFY the sinner or the saint, anticipates the question he knew men would ask, “Wherefore then serveth the law?” (i.e., Then what is the Law for; what good is it, if it cannot save a man, or make him better, or keep him safe?). Paul answers his own question with this: “It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come.” Now, there are three definite things stated in his brief answer:

1. The Law did have a beginning. Paul says, “It was added”—added to something else that must have already existed before the Law came into being.

2. The Law had a definite purpose, which Paul says, “Because of transgression” or as we shall see, to reveal the true nature of sin, which results from transgression.

3. The Law also came to an end. It had an end, just as it had a beginning—“It was added . . . till the seed should come.”

You won’t find any place in Scripture where the purpose of the Law is more clearly stated than it is in this verse, and don’t tell me that this only applies to the ceremonial or the dietary or sanitary laws or the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Paul is speaking of THE LAW—the whole Law, and the Law of the Ten Commandments in particular. He is speaking of the Law which cursed the sinner, that is, God’s holy Law. Note: Some attempt to make a clever distinction between the so-called laws of Moses and the Law of God; however, there is not a single verse in the Bible that supports the idea. It is only an invention of Man himself, who would rather be condemned by the Law than to be saved by the grace of God.

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