Summary: The promise created a religion dependent on God. The law created a religion dependent on man. The promise centers on God’s work. The law centered on man’s work. The promise focuses on God’s grace, sovereignty, and blessings. The law focused on man’s duty,
THE LAW AND THE PROMISE
A. ABRAHAM AND MOSES
1. Abraham received the promise
2. Moses received the Law.
3. God told Abraham, “I will.”
4. God told Moses, “Thou shalt.”
B. THE PROMISE AND THE LAW
1. The promise created a religion dependent on God.
2. The law created a religion dependent on man.
3. The promise centers on God’s plan.
4. The law centered on man’s duty.
5. The promise focuses on God’s grace, sovereignty, and blessings.
6. The law focused on man’s duty, work, responsibility, and behavior.
7. The promise requires only sincere faith.
8. The law required perfect obedience.
C. THE ARGUMENT OF THE JUDAIZERS
1. Paul had heard the Judaizer’s arguments and he was responding to them.
2. One of their complaints was that the law annulled Abraham’s promise.
3. They claimed that the plan of salvation changed when the Law was given.
4. They claimed that God made the law a supplement to faith.
5. This is the claim that Paul was responding to in Galatians 3:15-22
I. THE SUPERIORITY OF THE PROMISE (Gal 3:15-18)
A. IT WAS “DULY ESTABLISHED”
15 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.
1. This covenant “has been duly established.”
2. You can’t take a covenant that has been duly established and change it.
3. If I made a covenant with you that I would pay you $100 for the rest of your life and four years later I changed the covenant to say that you
owed me $100 for the rest of your life, it would be illegal.
4. Not even humans go back on their word, so why would Almighty God?
5. Once the agreement was “duly established” it was unchangeable.
6. covenant - Gk. diatheke – compact, covenant, last will and testament
7. In Genesis 15 God made a covenant with Abraham
8. Gen.15:5“…count the stars—if you can …so shall your offspring be.”
9. That covenant was “duly established” by God and it cannot be changed.
B. IT WAS ESTABLISHED ON CHRIST
16 The 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.
1. The Law could not possibly have superseded the promise to Abraham, because the promise was based on the Messiah, Jesus Christ who would come after the Law was given to fulfill the promise which was given before the law was given.
2. Paul establishes this on the basis of the singular usage of the word SEED.
3. The one and only heir of every promise of God is Christ.
4. Every promise given in the covenant was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
5. The only way we can participate in those blessings is to be a JOINT HEIR with Christ.
6. Before and after Christ came, Salvation was through Christ alone.
7. Before and after the Law was given, salvation was through CHRIST alone.
8. Before the cross required looking forward to Christ’s sacrifice.
9. After the cross requires looking back to Christ’s sacrifice.
10. His blood covered sin on both sides of the cross.
(Can I have a good amen?)
C. IT WAS “PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED”
17 What 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.
1. The promise was superior because it was established 430 years before.
2. 430 years is a reference to the time God renewed His covenant with one of Abraham’s offspring.
3. You see, God renewed the covenant with Jacob.
4. There was actually 430 years between the time the covenant was renewed to Jacob and the time the Law was given to Moses.
5. The point is, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were saved without the Law.
6. The law was not given until centuries after God’s promise to these men.
7. Obviously, the Law had nothing to do with the promise.
8. Quite obviously, the Law had nothing to do with Abraham’s justification.
9. If the law had nothing to do with Abraham’s justification, how can it have anything to do with anyone’s justification?
D. IT ESTABLISHED OUR INHERITANCE
18 For 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.
1. An inheritance based on law depends on the inheritors performance, but one based on a promise depends solely on the estate of the deceased.
2. For instance, if someone made a stipulation in their will that you had to finish college in order to receive $20,000, then the will is based on a law that you must obey in order to receive the benefit.