Summary: This passage tells us about God’s promise to Abraham. God made an unconditional promise with great significance for us today. When Paul writes this he is referring to Genesis 12:2-3. It is God’s promise to Abraham and as we will see for all who believe.
Be careful not to make a commitment to someone you don’t keep. You might say to someone
you will send them a copy of a picture you took and then you forget to do it. We have to be
cautious we do not carelessly make a promise we fail to keep. We are prone to forget what we
promise. It is part of our human shortcoming.
God is all powerful and perfectly holy. He would never make a careless promise. God’s promise
is irrevocable. What God promises in the future is a sure as what happened in history. When God
makes a promise consider it done. God made a promise four thousand years ago and it is
intensely significant for today.
The Promise Made Galatians 3:15-18
Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a
human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken
to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people,
but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law,
introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and
thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer
depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
This passage tells us about God’s promise to Abraham. God made an unconditional promise with
great significance for us today. When Paul writes this he is referring to Genesis 12:2-3. It is
God’s promise to Abraham and as we will see for all who believe in Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 12:7 there is a promise to Abraham’s offspring or seed. The promise went beyond the
nation Israel and the promise land. The promise is for all the families, all the peoples of the
world. Paul builds a case on the word “offspring” being in the singular, the word also translated
seed. The plural would mean physical descendants of Abraham. But here Paul says, the word for
offspring is singular and refers to Christ. It is also for all who believe in Christ and become
people of faith, spiritual descendants.
Seeds – refers to physical descendants
Seed- refers to Christ, and spiritual decedents
The Jews who were the physical descendants of Abraham could not grasp this part of God’s
promise. John the Baptist tried to communicate this unpopular truth to them. He told the
Pharisees Sadducees Matthew 3:9. Don’t think because you are physical descendants you have
Abraham as your father. “God could raise up children of Abraham from these stones.”
It might have been easier for the Jews to accept their being children of Abraham from stones
rather than what John had in mind, from the Gentiles. But that was God’s plan and only if they
had properly interpreted scripture they would have realized that. That was God’s promise. Once
again in Galatians Paul demonstrates salvation by faith alone, not by obeying the law and not by
Galatians 3:15 uses an illustration of a human contract. When parties agree no one else can alter
or change the contract. We have a covenant agreement contract with God.
Let me bring this closer to home. We have a contract with family our members. In case of their
death we will have guardianship of their children. In case of their death no one, not other family
members not the government, can change this. We have this covenant agreement. If that human
agreement is unalterable then God’s covenant is absolutely irrevocable
The Purpose of the Law Galatians 3:19-20
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to
whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
We have the Old covenant and the New Covenant. The new covenant is the promise fulfilled.
The promise was made to Abraham before the law. In that sense the new covenant precedes the
old covenant. If that thought doesn’t impact you then consider this, the New Covenant was
established before the foundation of the earth. The New Covenant is the oldest one of all. Our
God is an awesome God.
So the question is valid. What purpose is the law? The law makes us aware we are sinners. The
law makes us aware of the fact that we are transgressors. The law defines right and wrong and
we see ourselves in as we are. The law reveals our sin.
The purpose of a bathroom scale is to help me control my weight. Does stepping on that scale