Lesson 11

The Epistle to the Galatians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree," 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 3:15 Brothers, I speak like men. Though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn't say, "To seeds," as of many, but as of one, "To your seed," which is Christ. 3:17 Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect. 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.

Today's Lesson 

Paul's premise is simple. When God deals with men, there are always blessings and curses. The blessing that God offered to men was through Abraham. God told Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the world would be blessed. The blessings of God are given to men through God's promise to Abraham. The curse of man in sin and sin came through the law. The law defined sin. The law is not sin itself, for the law is holy even as God is holy. But, through violating the law the curse of sin has come upon mankind.


But, God does not leave us cursed. God sent His holy Anointed One. His Christ came and lived a life of perfect conformity to the law. He was without sin, an unblemished life. But, Jesus Christ allowed Himself to become sin for us, to accept the full curse of the law for our sake. In the law it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree." Jesus allowed Himself to accept the curse of crucifixion and took on Himself the curses that were rightfully ours.


So, once again we return to the blessing and the curse. Christ became accursed by the law in order that He might become a blessing for all men. The blessing that Christ offers is not through obedience to the law, but through faith in His sacrifice.


Now beginning in verse 15 Paul returns to the comparisons between the promise given to Abraham and the law that was delivered through Moses. The promise was delivered four hundred and thirty years before the law. Paul reminds them that God also confirmed the promise with a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham and so no one could make it void or add to it. The law that was given later could not change the promise that was given to Abraham.


Now when the promise was given to Abraham God swore that the blessing would continue to Abraham and "his seed." Here Paul gives a typically rabbinical argument. In Rabbinical literature, we often see Rabbis make very substantial arguments that are based on the tense of a verb or, as Paul does here, on whether a noun is singular or plural. Paul argues that the promises that were given to Abraham were also given to "his seed" and not to "his seeds." To this Paul concludes that the promises that God gave to Abraham were intended to be fulfilled in one unique individual, Jesus of Nazareth.


So the law does not take the place of the promises delivered to Abraham. It cannot add to the covenant that God made with Father Abraham or annul it. God does not declare in the establishment of the law that it was meant as the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham. So the promise remained valid and ongoing completely separate and apart from the law. And, it found its fulfillment in the "seed" of Abraham, Jesus Christ.

That promise is valid today and tomorrow. Through the seed of Abraham you have been blessed. Will you praise the Lord for this today?


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