Summary: What the law can’t do: 1. The law can’t save you. 2. Can’t take you to heaven. But JESUS can do both!
The Deciding Factor Galatians 3:15-29
15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Sons and Heirs
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case.
Galatians 3: 15NLT Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case.
By Paul using the word brothers and sisters, we can hear Paul’s compassionate love for these Galatians. Because of Paul’s stern rebuke his love might have been in question.
Verse 15b, just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case.
Paul is saying, just as a human agreement should be irrevocable and unchangeable, how much more is God’s covenant.
James 1:17NLT Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
And then Paul begins to show the superiority of the Abrahamic covenant verses the inferiority of the law.
Listen to Galatians 3:16NLT God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children, ” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ.
Paul is pointing out the fact that because these promises were made to Abraham and his descendants, these promises didn’t stop when Abraham died or when the law came.
Genesis 12:1-3NLT The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Galatians 3:17NLT This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise.
The law served its purpose, to bring people back, to show them their sin; however, the law could never promise what the Abrahamic covenant promised.
God doesn’t lie! Numbers 23:19NLT God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Galatians 3:18NLT For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.