Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
(15-18) The unchanging nature of God's covenant with Abraham.
Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
a. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Paul first establishes the principle that even with a covenant among men, the covenant stands firm once it is made - no one annuls or adds to it. Paul's point isn't really about covenants among men, but to say "how much more with a covenant God makes!"
i. But we shouldn't miss the first word of Gal_3:15: Brethren. As difficult and dangerous as Paul's opponents in Galatia were, they were also his brothers. He confronts them and persuades them as brothers.
b. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made: In Gen_22:18, God promised Abraham that in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Paul observes that the singular for seed is used, not the plural. The point is clear: "And to your Seed," who is Christ. God is referring to one specific descendant of Abraham, not all his descendants in general
c. This covenant and promise was made not only to Abraham, but also to Jesus the Messiah. So we cannot think that it was over-ruled by the covenant God later established with Israel at Sinai.
i. The unchanging nature of God's covenant with Abraham is an important principle; it was a one-sided covenant (Gen_12:1-3; Genesis 15) that was promised forever (Gen_17:7-8). There is no if in Abraham's covenant (Gen_12:1-3; Genesis 15); but there are plenty of "ifs" in the covenant of Moses (Deuteronomy 28). The Mosaic covenant was a two-sided covenant, with two both parties obligated to uphold it, not a one-sided covenant (Exo_24:3-8)
ii. This means that promise of a land (Gen_12:1; 13:7; 15:18-21), a nation (Gen_12:2; 13:16; 17:4-6; 22:17) and of a blessing (Gen_12:2-3; 22:18) stands eternally to Abraham and his descendants, though spiritually the promise of a blessing comes to every nation through Jesus, by faith.
d. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise: If the inheritance offered to Abraham was on the basis of law, it might not be permanent - because it would depend, at least in part, on Abraham's keeping of the law. But since the inheritance was offered on the basis of promise, God's promise, it stands sure.
e. God gave it to Abraham by promise: The word gave here is the Greek word kecharistai, which is based on the Greek word charis - grace. God's giving to Abraham was the free giving of grace. The word is also in the perfect tense, showing that the gift is permanent.
i. Through all this, Paul demonstrates again by the Scriptures that the approach to God on the ground of faith (not works or works plus faith) is thoroughly Biblical. In addition, the Law of Moses, even though it came after the covenant with Abraham, in not way overrules it. The approach to God on the ground of faith stands sure, right along with Abraham's covenant.
ii. "Judaizers might quote Moses; Paul will quote Abraham. Let them quote law; he will quote promise. If they appeal to the centuries of tradition and the proud history of the law of Moses, he will appeal to the grander 'covenant with Abraham', older by centuries still." (Cole)
KEEP YOUR PROMISE - TO SERVE THE LORD
Do you make New Years resolutions?
Do you keep them?
What does the Bible say on this subject?
In O.T. times some Israelites made vows to God.
Definition: Vows are commitments to God to perform some duty or abstain from some activity.
ILLUSTRATION - Promised to give a million Dollars
As the wealthy oil tycoon lay on his deathbed, his pastor talked of Gods healing power. Pastor, ¨ he gasped, if God heals me, Ill give the church a million dollars. Miraculously, the man revived and within a few short weeks was out of the hospital.
One day, several months later, he and the pastor chatted on the sidewalk in front of a hardware store. ¡§You know,¡¨ the pastor said, ¡§when you were in the hospital dying, you promised to give the church a million dollars if you got well. We haven’t got it yet.¨
Did I say that? ¨ the tycoon asked. I guess that goes to show how sick I really was! ¨
(Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 34)
PROMISE MADE IN THE PRAYER OF SALVATION.
Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that you have died on the cross for my sins.
I ask you now to come into my heart and to make me a new creation.
Forgive me of all my sin.
Wash me. Cleanse me.
I promise to follow you for as long as I live.
I thank you Lord Jesus for coming into my life.
You made a promise to be faithful to Jesus.
You made a promise to serve Him and Him alone.
This was your resolution.
It was a resolution that has eternal consequences.
The best New Years resolution one can therefore make is to remain loyal to Jesus and
to excel in our service to Him ¡to obey His Word !
Obedience brings joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
The way of obedience is the way of blessing.
1. ONCE A VOW WAS SPOKEN IT BECAME AN IRREVERSIBLE CONTRACT WITH GOD.
When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.
2. IT IS A SIN TO MAKE A VOW AND NOT TO KEEP IT.
21 If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.
God knows the heart. He hears vows and takes them seriously without embellishments.
Your vow to serve the Lord is a covenant, a contract you made with God, keep your vow. He keeps his promises and expects us to keep ours, it is a serious matter.
PUT SERIOUS THOUGHT INTO THE PROMISES THAT YOU MAKE TO THE LORD.
Thanks to Guzik for Gal. commentary.