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The Changeless Promise

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Some time ago an elderly man living in New Jersey made an unusual discovery as he leafed through an old family Bible. Many years earlier, his aunt had died and left it to him. Part of her will read: “To my beloved Steven Marsh I bequeath my family Bible and all it contains, … More

Promise

The Judaizers thought they had Paul backed into a corner. If salvation does not involve the law, then why was the law given in the first place. Our faith is a logical faith and can be defended on rational grounds. Paul uses a logical argument that the law cannot change the promise (vv. 15-18). The Judaizers had been saying that the law was given and this changed the original covenant of promise.

Paul said that once two parties make an agreement, a third cannot come along years later and change it. The only person who can change the original agreement are the two people who made it: God made a covenant with Abraham that all of the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3) and this included being justified by faith. God did not lay down any conditions for Abraham to fulfill. The law did not replace the promise but was to be used as an instructor to teach man of his sinful condition. Furthermore this promise was not only made to Abraham but it was also made to Christ “and to thy seed which was Christ” (v. 16). Just as a “last will and testament” stands regardless of what happens, so did God’s promise made to Abraham (vv. 17-18). Circumstances may change but God remains constant and does not break His promises. He has promised to forgive our sins through Jesus Christ and we can be sure He will do what He has promised.

The law had two functions: On the positive side it reveals the will of God and shows people how to live. On the negative side it points out peoples sin and how it is impossible to live a sinless life.

Application

Circumstances may change but God remains constant and does not break His promises. He has promised to forgive me of my sins through Jesus Christ, and I can count on Him doing just that.

Galatians 3:15-18 (English Standard Version)

To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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