Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Paul has argued that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross has purchased salvation for both Jews and Gentiles. Christ has fulfilled the promise that God had made to Abraham, is that now in Christ, Jews and Gentiles become members of God’s family by simple faith in Christ, and not by obedience to the law.
Derek Thomas has written:
A potential problem now arises in settling the way of justification against the law. Paul was in danger of putting Moses against Christ. In alluding to Abraham (5 times in the previous section, 3:6-14 and twice more in this section, 3:16,18), Paul is in further danger of putting Moses against Abraham. This needs some explanation lest Paul be misunderstood, and the relationship between the old and new testaments be set in irreparable jeopardy. In providing such an explanation, Paul resorts to using several important words. They are covenant, promise, and inheritance. In order to understand what Paul regards as foundational – the Gospel itself – we will need to appreciate the meaning of these words.
This week do an in-depth study of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, given in Genesis and Exodus respectively. Also, study the promises given to Abraham in Genesis. Lastly consider and meditate upon what might be the inheritance Paul speaks of in Galatians 3:18?
(This week we have not provided specific cross references, so you will need to roll up your sleeves, and dig into the riches of God’s Word and find them for yourself.)
Listen to this message here: