The Purpose of The Law

Sermon: 1/13/2019

Text: Galatians 3

Review: Three Big Questions

  • Question 1 (v.2): Did you receive the Spirit (get saved) by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?
  • Question 2 (v.3): Since you began in the Spirit, are you now being completed by the flesh?
  • Question 3 (v.5): Does God’s Spirit work in your life because of your works (keeping the law) or because of your faith?

Verses 6-9: The Abrahamic Covenant

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

  • The Abrahamic Covenant is about: (1) God working unconditionally and unilaterally, and (2) our faith in Him.

Verses 10-12: The Law 

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

  • The Law curses men because no person is able to keep the entire law.
  • People have misused The Law as a means of salvation.

Verses 13-17a: Christ, The Law, and the Promise 

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ...

  • Jesus Christ hung on a tree so that we can receive the promise made to Abraham: everyone can receive the Holy Spirit through faith in His being made a curse for him or her.
  • Even in human affairs, people can't merely change at their whim covenants and documents and constitutions.
  • So, why would we think that a covenant that God made would be changed?

Genesis 15: 6-17 The Covenant Confirmed

6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee -- this land to inherit it.

8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10 And he took unto him -- all these, and divided -- them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but -- the birds divided he not.

11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 And -- when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him.

13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict -- them four hundred years;

14 And also -- that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

  • The unusual thing about this ceremony was that God performed the covenant ritual without Abraham there.
  • God's promises are decided by Him, unilaterally.

Verses 17-18: The Futility of the Law in Affecting the Promise

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

  • The Law couldn't override what God promised 430 years before The Law was given.

Verses 19-25: The Purpose of the Law

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till -- the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

  • The Law shows all people that they are sinners and cannot--on their own--attain God's righteousness.
  • The Law shows all people that they need a savior and then points them to Christ.

Verses 26-29: Four Changes That Occur When You Are No Longer Under a Schoolmaster

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Change #1 - Once prisoners, now children (v.26).

Change #2 - Once outside, now in Christ (v.27).

Change #3 - Once different, now equals (v.28).

Change #4 - Once condemned, now heirs (v.29).