This is the sermon for Sunday, September 5th, 2010.  The translations I am using primarily is a personal revision of the TNIV/NIV.  Meaning, the TNIV was the main text, but in certain places I used the NIV because I felt it was a better translation in that area.

Galatians 3:19-26  – 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…

INTRODUCTION: So far in Chapter three we’ve seen Paul in his defense of justification by faith, which is the blessing of Abraham.  Then we also saw the curse was broken through Christ; this is more than just the curse of sin, but the curse of having to please God by absolute perfect obedience to the Law.  Why is this a curse?  Well, none of us can obey the Law absolutely perfectly.

Last time we looked at the seed of Abraham.  Paul says that Christ Jesus is ultimately the seed/offspring of Abraham and that the Law does not annul the promise.

Galatians 3:16-17  – 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 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.

Next, Paul says the inheritance (which is justification by faith that we receive at salvation) does not come by the Law.

Galatians 3:18  – For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

So in light of this, we are gong to hit the ground hard and fast and try to find the answer to our sermon title, which is also our first point.

Why, the Law?

Galatians 3:19-20  – 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

If the Law does not save, then what is it’s purpose?

The purpose of the Law:

  • It was added because of transgressions (verse 19). Possible interpretations here: (1) To provide a temporary sacrifice for sin; (2) To teach people more clearly God’s requirements and our failure to live up to them (i.e. sin); (3) To show sin is a violation of God’s moral code; (4) To reveal man’s sinfulness and total need for a Savior.  I hold to interpretation #4 in light of Romans.

Romans 5:19-21  – 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Until the Seed shall come to whom the promise was referring too (verse 19). Many scholars feel that Paul is alluding to Genesis 17:19 and referencing Christ as the offspring of Abraham here.

Genesis 17:19  – Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

In other words, the Law was an everlasting covenant pointing to Christ.

  • It was put in place through Angels by an mediator. Moses received the Law through revelation and was the go between for God and man; Abraham didn’t need an mediator, but openly spoke to God and God openly spoke to Him; another reason the Promise is greater than the Law.

Is the Law opposed to the promises of God?

Galatians 3:21-22  – 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Paul answers this rather emphatically, “absolutely not!” He then goes on to explain why.

  • If the Law could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the Law (verse 21). You see, the problem is not the Law.  Notice what Paul says in Romans 7.

Romans 7:12  – So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

The problem is with us and our sin.  That is why the Law cannot give life.

Romans 8:3-4  – 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh , God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in human flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  • Instead, the Law (Scripture) imprisoned or locked up everything under sin. That word, “locked up” is a very interesting word.  It is the Greek word, sugkleio (soong-kli’-o) – It means, “To shut together, to be in subjection too;  to enclose, to shut up.”  Since no one can keep the Law perfectly and therefore find life, we are imprisoned to sin by the Law.
  • The purpose of this imprisonment to sin is to point to justification by faith in Jesus Christ (verse 22).

What was the result before faith came?

Galatians 3:23-24  – 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.

  • We were held in custody (verse 23). Paul is basically saying here that since we couldn’t keep the Law perfectly, the Law operated as a jailor, enslaving us to our sin.
  • The Law was put in charge of us or was our tutor (verse 24). I like the way the NASB translates verse 24 better, “therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” A tutor points others in the right direction.  That is what the Law did before faith came.  It couldn’t provide life or answers, but it could point to the One who is life and the answer – Jesus Christ.

What is the result after faith came?

Galatians 3:25-26  – 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…

  • We are no longer under the supervision/tutorship of the Law (verse 25). Here is what Freebiblecommentary.org says concerning this passage, “Believers are no longer underaged children, but they have become full sons and heirs.”
  • We are children of God through faith (verse 26).

CONCLUSION: The Law serves a purpose – to point us to our sin and enslave us too it.  Faith in Christ also serves a purpose – to set us free from the enslavement of sin.  Jesus Christ is the only one who truly offers freedom.  Trust in Him today.

Advertisements