WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3
SCRIPTURE: GALATIANS 3:15-29
BY: Jeremy Witt
In the remaining verses of chapter 3, we are dealing with the Law. Just a quick sidenote: if you have access to other translations of the Bible, let me suggest you try reading it in the New Living Translation (NLT) as some things became clearer for me than from what I was reading in the New American Standard (NASB).
Not only was the Law was given to Moses (verse 17) but also a promise was made to Abraham (verse 16). The fulfillment of both had to be done in order for God’s word to be fulfilled. It was only possible through the “seed” as the NASB states or “his child” as the NLT states. This was Jesus as read at the end of verse 16.
So what was the purpose of the Law? We know the Law was given to the Israelites to show them how to follow and obey God as we studied in our Exodus study a few weeks ago. This is the positive side. The negative side comes in Verse 19. The Law was given to show us our sinfulness. We also learn that the Law was meant to last until the seed or child came. Many argue still today that the Law was necessary for salvation. This is exactly what Paul was arguing against. We will continue this thought throughout the book. The big picture for us today is that the Jews were so focused on the Law that they forgot the Author of the Law. They had elevated the Law itself higher than anything else. In essence, the Law had become their god.
But let us remember what we discussed yesterday that some still do this today. We try to earn God’s favor. Many rely upon what they do (acts or works) or don’t do in order to earn God’s gift of salvation. We do this by trying to be good people, and because we are good people, some think that they are right with God. Many will try to make their agreements or covenants with God. “Me and God have this worked out.” Or it might be, “I go to church” or “I am just as good as those folks so I know that I am right with God.” If you recall from yesterday’s devotion, we are “justified” or made just in the eyes of God through faith in the LORD Jesus. It is not based on anything we do, but what the Spirit does in us by faith.
Verse 22 reminds us that we are prisoners or slaves to sin until we become free by believing in Jesus Christ. The Law had its purposes until the fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus. That brings us to the question regarding the Law again. How does that apply to us now? For the sake of review, let’s remember that we live under the new covenant because of the Cross and Resurrection. Jesus fulfilled it all. The Law was not enough. Jesus is enough.
So what are we to do with Law today? Remember that we are bound to the laws that are repeated in the New Testament. The Law had 3 purposes: Ceremonial for worship, Civil law, and moral laws make up the different categories of the Law. The ceremonial laws like Leviticus 1:1, 13 were given for worship and point towards the coming Messiah. Since Jesus is the Messiah or Christ, these laws are not necessary for us today. These are what many of the things Paul is addressing in Galatians. The civil law was for daily living such as Deuteronomy 24:20, 11. We are not bound to these laws but we should apply the principles behind them. Why are we to obey these: to promote unity and to be different from our culture today. The last category is the moral laws. The 10 commandments fall into this category and are repeated in the New Testament except for one. Do you know which one that is? I’ll give you a hint. Saturday events! We are to obey these laws not for salvation but to live in a manner that is pleasing to God.
Verse 25 Paul says it pretty clearly for us, “We no longer need the law as our guardian.” (NLT)
Jesus did it all.