Summary: There were those who were deserting the gospel of Grace to the false teaching of salvation by works.
The law and the Lord.
Galatians 3:15 -- 25. 11/14/04
The theme of the book of Galatians is that when you are born-again, you are set free. This is the theme you need to remember when you read the book of Galatians. The message Paul preached when he got into the city is that a person is saved by faith in Jesus plus nothing. Little while after Paul left, there came in some false teachers telling the new converts Paul was right in as far as he went, he just did not go far enough. You are not only saved by faith in Jesus but also in keeping the law. Paul would not set still but wrote this letter to the Galatians telling them not fall for the false teaching of the works salvation.
This morning our text calls for more of a teaching sermon than anything else. Paul was dealing with something that is very important in our text. There were those who were deserting the gospel of Grace to the false teaching of salvation by works. So, Paul goes into detail the purpose of the law is teaching that salvation is by Grace through faith in Jesus.
So let’s think first of all about THE LAW AND THE PROMISE OF GOD.
Paul is reminding the readers that the promise of God about salvation by Grace was given before the law was given. Paul is going to prove that Abraham was saved before the law was given and he was saved because he believed the promise of God. Abraham just took God at His word. Paul does this by just drawing from everyday life. That is what he is talking about in verse 15 where he says, “I speak after the manner of men.” In other words he is saying I will use an illustration that is common to life. The illustration he uses is a contract. Look at what he says in the rest of verse 15. “Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth to it.”
The Word covenant means contract, agreement and the Word confirmed means ratified, signed and sealed. It is like when you go down to the car dealer and say I want this car. He says OK, and you sign a contract and in that contract you agree to pay 300 dollars a month. That is what the dealer agrees to and you. You sign the dotted line and contract can’t be annulled or canceled. But say after a month or two you say I don’t feel like paying $300 a month so I will set the contract aside. We all know what happens then, they will come and get your car. But you see the point? Once you have entered into a human contract, it cannot be canceled or added to.
Using that illustration we come back to the promise of God about salvation. In verse 16 we find Paul said God made a promise to Abraham and to his seed.
Now the question is, who is his seed? God said, “I’m going to make a promise to you and your seed.” The seed isn’t plural but singular. He was talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. God was saying to Abraham I am going to go into a salvation agreement with you Abraham. I will be the party of the first part and you Abraham and Jesus will be the party of the second part. He is talking about the coming of the Lord Jesus. All the promises of salvation came together in the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham was saved just the same way that everyone else is saved. We are saved through faith we have in the promise of God. There are not two or three different ways to be saved, only one way and that is by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham was saved before the law was given. That is what Paul meant in verse 17, the law was given 430 years after Abraham was saved and the law cannot disannul the covenant God has made. The point is Abraham was saved by Grace through faith.
Not only do we see the law and the promise of God but also THE LAW AND THE PURPOSE OF GOD.
The question is, if the law cannot save, then why do we have the law? If the ten Commandments cannot save, why do we have them? That is the question we find in verse 19.
The law was added because of transgressions. The purpose of the law was and is to show us our sinful nature. The Word transgression means to step over the line. The law is to show us just how sinful we are. Where there is no law, there is no transgression.