Summary: Salvation has always been through faith and the coming of the Law did not change it.
PERMANENCE OF FAITH
• You’ve probably heard it said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe; it’s how you live that counts.”
• A. J. Gordon encountered this philosophy one time as he talked with a fellow passenger on a train. The man believed he could get to heaven by his good works. Pointing to the conductor who was making his way through the coach, Gordon asked his new friend, “Did you ever notice how carefully he always examines the ticket but takes no pains whatever to inspect the passenger.” The man immediately caught the significance of the question. He had just been saying that God was interested only in what we do and not in a “little bit of theological scrip called faith.”
• “You see,” continued Gordon, “the passenger and the ticket are accepted together. If he doesn’t have one, or has the wrong one, he will be asked to get off the train—no matter how honest he might appear to be. Just as the ticket stands for the man, faith stands for you.”
• Note that the “ticket” of faith was purchased at a great price, but not by you or me!
• Paul encountered this same philosophy in Galatia.
• It is the philosophy of the Judaizers.
• We have been looking at the seven arguments in Chapter 3 that Paul puts forth to prove this philosophy is not true.
• We’ve looked at the Experience of the Galatians, the Example of Abraham, the Effects of the Law, and the Work of Christ.
• The last three arguments are the Permanence of faith, the Purpose of the Law, and the Position of the believer.
• The Judaizers were trying to convince the Galatians that faith alone was not enough to save. You had to have good works and follow the Law. Now when Paul says the Law, he is not just talking about the 10 commandments, He is talking about the whole law given in Leviticus. This is a figure of speech call a Synecdoche. A part for the whole.
• While the Judaizers might go so far as to agree with Paul that Abraham was justified by his faith, they would then add that the coming of the law changed the basis for gaining salvation. Paul wanted to clarify that nothing would change the promise that God made to Abraham. (Life Application Bible Commentary - Life Application Bible Commentary – Galatians).
• Lets read as Paul contiunes his argument Justification by faith, and fatih alone.
• Read Gal 3:15-18
I. The Example from Life. vs 15
A No one can set aside or add to a human covenant that been duly established.
B The Promise was to Abraham and his Seed.
Now, if the promises were meant for Abraham and his many descendants alone (to all his seeds), then it might appear that the promises had already been fulfilled, and that the law had come as a new phase in God’s dealing with his people. But the promises had been given to the "Seed"—that is, Abraham’s most famous descendant, who came many years after both Abraham and the law. The law has an important function, but salvation by grace through faith was God’s promise from the beginning of time until the judgment day.
While language experts argue that "seed" can also be a plural ("The farmer plants seed" certainly refers to more than one seed), Paul correctly applied the singular form of the word in this instance. The Jews had always believed that God’s promises would be fulfilled in a single person, the Messiah. God’s promise remained intact even though Abraham himself only had one descendant through Sarah. Further, the promises were not fulfilled prior to the giving of the law, nor by the giving of the law. Instead, they were fulfilled when Christ came as Abraham’s "Seed." Christ alone fulfilled the messianic aspects of God’s covenant and showed that God’s promises are in effect for all time.
Many claimed to be rightful heirs to God’s promises to Abraham by their being his offspring, but Paul pointed out the only true, rightful heir was Jesus. The covenant that God shared with Abraham had been reaffirmed many times, but only Christ fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant as the unique Seed. The Jews certainly enjoyed many privileges and responsibilities as part of the Abrahamic covenant, but blessing the nations was the Messiah’s role. The promises to Abraham go just to Christ. (They don’t reside in the Jewish people.) In and through Christ they go to individual believers. Christ is our hope of blessing.Life Application Bible Commentary - Life Application Bible Commentary – Galatians.
II. The Promise cannot be set aside by Law.
Genesis 46:1-4 (NASB95)
1 So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.