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Introduction

Well today we will be going back into our study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians but I wanted to tell you what an encouragement it has been these last two weeks to rediscover some hidden truths concerning the Word of the Lord.
With that in mind, I would ask that you turn with me in your Bible to .
Now I realize that we’ll be ending mid-sentence but as you’ll see the next time we come back to Galatians, there is a reason for that.
Galatians 3:15–25 ESV
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. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,
Re
Read and Pray
Throughout our study of Pauls letter to the Galatians we’ve encountered many great and wonderful truths.
Just in chapter 3 alone we’ve covered questions that many people ask.
1. In teaching they were justified by faith in Christ, Paul reminded the
Paul at the very start of this chapter laid the hammer down on the Galatians concerning several different aspects.
In teaching they were justified by faith in Christ, Paul reminded the Galatians that they recieved the Spirit by the hearing of faith.
Galatians that...
That was .
This was Paul’s approach to proclaiming Christ Jesus as being crucified for their sin.
And when they heard this wonderful and profound truth of the cross, they didn’t merely receive it by their own rational thought.
Instead, as we know that Scripture teaches in other places, the drawing of a person into the faith is a Sovereign work.
God in His glory brings redemption to mankind through His supernatural work.
And it is that faith which is supernaturally given to the person which allows them to receive Christ by faith.
a. They received the Spirit by the hearing of faith -
Paul then moved onto using Abraham as an appeal to an authority.
The Scriptures say that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.
Abraham recieved this righteousness not because of what he did.
He didn’t receive his righteousness because he chose to be faithful or to walk in obedience.
Instead, when God called Abraham out of the land of Ur, Abraham believed God and his obedience to the Lord was a result of his faith.
The faith was there first and that is what caused Abraham to walk in obedience to God’s commands.
Whether it was God calling Abraham to leave the land that he had always known and go to a new land.
Or it was God calling Abraham to do the unthinkable.
God called Abraham to take his son, his only son Isaac up onto the mountain and to sacrifice his son upon an alter.
And without question, this man Abraham didn’t hesitate.
His faith in the Lord produced absolute obedience.
So much so that on that journey up the mountain, where Abraham knew that he had the unthinkable task before him of sacrificing His only son:
That when Isaac asked his father where the Lamb was, Abraham responded by saying that the Lord would provide.
Abraham had a true belief in the Lord and it was that very faith that we find the statement, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Paul used that account to reveal to the Galatian Church that they are like Abraham.
To be heirs of the same joy of salvation that he had recieved, they were his heirs by faith.
Paul then moved onto talking about how those who tried to make themselves righteous before the Lord through the Law were under a curse.
We all personally know this to be the case.
We talked about what James tells us.
If a man keeps the whole law but he stumbles in one point of that Law, he is accountable for all of it.
And there’s not a one of us who has ever been able to do anything perfectly.
It is Christ and Christ alone who could live the perfect and righteous life.
All of us no matter how hard we may try, we will fall short.
All of us have sinned and therefore we all fall short of the glory of God.
Long before we ever knew what sin was, we were participating with it.
You know one of my favorite analogies that show that all of us are bound up with a sinful nature is children.
For all of us in this room who have children, we know first-hand that they know how to sin instinctively.
Not to long ago our daughter hope proved this true for us.
We found that someone had been writing on the walls with markers, crayons and pencils and we figured it was hope.
Well when we finally caught her and asked her if she colored on the wall.
It was then that I found out that we have cats who like to draw.
That was seriously Hope’s response.
Now I didn’t need to teach her to lie.
It’s hard-wired into her DNA.
I asked her if she did it and her defensive response was to blame someone else.
Or in her case, blame the cat.
Talk about trying not to laugh while you practice discipline.
So as we looked at , this is what we found.
Each of us as human beings if we try to do things on our own are left without hope because we’re all under a curse.
But Christ redeemed us from the Curse of the Law.
Upon the cross of Calvary, Christ took upon Himself our curse and defeated the curse.
d. Christ has redeemed them from the curse of the Law, that even
Gentiles could now receive the promise of the Spirit through faith
And He did so that all who believe upon Him shall have eternal life.
So after all of this that Paul has said, he anticipated some of their likely objections.
-
Now this gets us into our text for the day.
Paul figured that after all that he had said to the Galatians, they would want to know why it was that God gave the Law.
objection...
In light of all that Paul had said, what purpose did the Law serve?
What was the relation to the promise given to Abraham?
One of the first things Paul wanted to address is that while the Law is important, it wasn’t what God originally promised.
In fact, Paul says that 430 years prior to the Law being given at Mount Sinai to Moses, God had made a covenant with Abraham.
And this promise included the redemption of a people.
So for today, if I could point out one trait that defines the Lord that you can find in this text I would want you to see the trustworthiness of God.
This text reveals to us that God is faithful and when He gives His Word and makes a covenantal promise, it cannot be broken.
If you would, please turn with me to Genesis chapter 12 and we’ll look at the first 3 verses.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and though shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Now there’s a lot that could be said about those verses there but for the moment, I want to focus on the last portion.
This portion of Scripture is known as the Abrahamic Covenant.
But its part of a larger covenant that God made with mankind known as the Covenant of grace but for the purpose of today, we will only focus on this portion.
The last portion of that text says that all the families of the earth shall be blessed in Abraham.
While on the surface this might seem miniscule, I assure you it is deeply profound.
What is being referenced by the Lord in this passage is a promise of forgiveness and restoration which goes out into the whole world through Abraham.
This promise which took place 430 years prior to the Law being given by God reveals that there will come a time that through Abraham, God will redeem sinners unto Himself.
Yet the irony, is that God still gave the law to His people later on through Moses.
So the question that Paul would be asking them to answer is this, does the Law somehow annul what God stated prior to the Law.
Yet in trying to answer that we need to understand something.
Paul mentions the idea of a covenant.
Sadly in our day and age we have a skewed understanding of a covenant.
When we think in terms of a covenant we think in terms of a human covenant.
Something like the covenant of Marriage where there are two parties who mutually benefit from the covenant.
At least in our society that’s probably one of the only places where a covenant can come into play.
But even then we can’t compare to what Paul is speaking of here because in our view of a Covenant, half of them are modified by one party.
Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and often times it comes because one is not being faithful to the covenant they made before the Lord.
But the Covenant that the Lord made with Abraham is nothing like that.
God’s covenant with Abraham was not on the basis of him doing right.
In fact it wasn’t based on Abraham at all.
Instead it was based on the goodness of God and is validated by Him.
God made the promise of redemption and it wasn’t dependent upon you doing your part.
When you think about this wonderful plan of redemption that we have in Christ, do you realize that it is all of God?
That is the fullness of this covenant.
Its all of Him.
This redemption and Christ’ atonement for sin was not something that somehow crept into the plan later on after countless many generations failed to do right.
It is the fullness of His covenant.
But instead, God in His grace and His mercy set in motion this plan of redemption long before your time on this earth ever came to be.
Before your mother’s mother ever even had the thought of being a mother, God had set in motion a plan to bring you unto Himself.
And that plan is found clear back in a man named Abraham.
Where God promised to bless every family over all of the earth through Him.
So what use is the Law?
a. What value does the Law (Old Testament) have for us today?
b. Do we even need to study it, since we are not under the Law?
[Such questions are easily answered, first from our text (),
If God’s original plan was that He would redeem a people through Christ, why did He give the law to Israel 430 years after making this promise.
and then from other statements of Paul regarding the value of the OT.
Beginning with our text, consider the purpose of the Law...]
Before we answer that question, lets look at what the Law was not given for.
Obviously as Paul says, the Law wasn’t given to change the promise that God gave to Abraham.
A. WHAT IT'S PURPOSE WAS NOT...
The Lord didn’t look through the corridor of time and see men such as myself and say, “that one’s a real doozy, he probably needs some law.”
He didn’t change His mind as that is not possible.
The Lord’s Covenant cannot be annulled.
Think about it like this.
I’ve got my will laid out on my computer.
Once I print it, I will take it to notary who will witness me signing it and it will be filed with the court house here in Star City.
If something were to happen to me, that will by law must be executed to the letter.
It is Law.
If the Law of our own land says this about my will, how much more so does the Covenant and promise of the Lord stand?
It cannot be broken.
The Law was also not to provide the promise regarding the Seed.
a. Even a man's covenant cannot be annulled or added to once
confirmed
It was not given to be the roadmap to finding the promise of God.
b. The Law which came 430 years later, cannot annul the
I know how easy it is for us to lay out a list of things that we must do and things we can’t do.
covenant confirmed by God
Well imagine treating the Law the same way and thinking that it was through our obedience to that Law that we would somehow find the redeemer.
That we could somehow find the promised redeemer through our good efforts.
Instead, the Law was added to reveal to each of us our own sinfulness.
a. To Abraham and his Seed (Christ) were the promises made
And it is truly great at doing so.
c. The Law did not make the promise of no effect, nor did it
(DRAW MAP ON BOARD)
provide the inheritance regarding the Seed
Early on in our study of Galatians we used this diagram and I think it was of great benefit.
But we never talked about why it is that the longer we walk with God after conversion, the more we see our own sinfulness.
You see, the Law points to every crack and crevice of our lives and reveals to us areas where we never even knew sin existed.
The Law shows us just how deeply impacted our hearts are through the fall of Adam.
The more we study the Word of God, the more we see that we have this deep need of forgiveness.
The more that we know about our own hearts, the more we can magnify Christ in His forgiveness of our sin.
This is what the Law does.
It reveals to us the very depths of the sin within our own hearts.
And prior to the coming of Christ, the Law revealed to God’s people how much they needed His forgiveness.
B. WHAT IT'S PURPOSE WAS...
1. It was added because of transgression -
The Law was given to point the people towards the Messiah.
a. "for the purpose of revealing and manifesting to man his
It was designed to make them long for the day that this promise that the Lord gave to Abraham would be fulfilled because at the moment, they merely had a temporal covering.
sinfulness," - McGarvey
For us the Law should cause our heart to rejoice in how much we’ve been forgiven.
(Draw on the board)
That’s one of the reasons that when we grow in the faith and we really begin to understand our sinfulness, we need to see Christ magnified.
We need to see Christ lifted up because that is our only hope.
We need to see the Saviour magnified so that we know how great He truly is.
So that we see how effective His offering upon Calvary really was.
Another reason that the Law given was to lead Israel to Christ.
made
It acted as a tutor that would reveal to them their great and desperate need.
c. Not against the promise, but it could not provide life
The Law is what God used to show His people that apart from Christ, they were left without any hope of forgiveness.
And its effective.
Think about this for a moment.
Walk yourself through the Moral Law and examine your heart.
You shall have no other God’s before me.
How many times have we allowed ourselves to overcome with something?
I know for me personally, I have to check my heart on this one.
I get so enamored with my own comfort that there have been times that I’m not willing to give something up for the Lord.
Well whether we realize it or not, that is in a way putting them before the Lord.
Its placing that which should never come before the Lord in front of Him.
How about this one.
Think about this one for just a second.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
You know those
This is a hard one for many because it goes far beyond merely saying something.
Calvin said that this basically pertained to never speaking of
In fact, the Puritan Thomas Watson said there are twelve ways in which we blaspheme the name of God and we don’t even realize it.
Draw this picture in your mind for moment.
You are a professing Christian who would gladly call themselves such, yet would your actions always back up your claim?
To profess the name of Christ but not live accordingly is to take the name of the Lord in vain.
So think with me for just a moment back to the last time you got angry.
Was your reaction in line with your profession?
If you’re human than probably not.
Not that its okay because we should strive for better.
But because of your sinful nature you’re going to mess up.
Another way that we fall victim to this is with our promises.
If as a Christian we make a promise to someone and we go back on our word, that is not merely a lie but its also taking the name of the Lord in Vain.
You see, with just those two Laws of God we open up our hearts and we see more clearly the need that we have for forgiveness.
That was the purpose for the Law being given to the Jews.
Yet it’s also the same reason why we still have the Law.
It was and is a tutor because the Law of God is holy.
It reveals to us the character of God.
Yet for us, the fact that the Law still points us towards a redeemer is not what I want to focus on today.
those who believe
Instead what I want us to focus on is the faithfulness of God.
revealed
Earlier I mentioned that in our modern generation, a covenant between two people is subject to change.
Even in our country, the divorce rate among couples is right at 50%.
And for those whose first marriage ends in divorce, the rates of divorce among them on their next marriage is far higher, sometimes exceeding 80%.
Now this isn’t a knock against anyone who has been divorced.
People are sinners and things happen, I get it.
We have forgiveness in Christ and its truly beautiful.
Instead I’m propping that up as a view of a covenant that we can understand.
Among those divorced, 47% of the divorces that happened were because of some form of unfaithfulness.
25% of marriages end because someone broke the covenant through unfaithfulness.
This is looking at Covenants through the human lens.
Yet what I want you to see is this.
100% of those tied into the covenant with God are guilty and have given plenty of grounds for Him to break His Promise to us through Abraham.
I’ve told you this before but one commentator put it this way.
Israel on her very wedding night with the Lord commits adultery.
Time after time, the people of God are unfaithful to Him, and yet He is steadfast in His word to His people.
Think about this with the book of Hosea in mind.
God tells Hosea that he is to marry Gomer.
That Hosea, this man of stand up character was to go and take to himself a wife who lived her life selling herself.
And time after time Gomer would do the very same thing in her marriage to Hosea.
She would be satisfied for a fleeting moment with all that Hosea could give to her and then she would run off and abandon him for someone else.
Gomer knew all that she had and yet she desired something more.
She desired to after her lovers who gave her bread and wine.
Who would entice her to what she believed to be better than what she already had.
And time after time when she would run after the desires of her heart, Hosea would go after her.
Paying whatever the cost so that she could be redeemed from her situation.
Whether we choose to believe this or not, each of us are just like Gomer.
We have the Lord right before us who is the faithful one, always there beside us throughout all of our running.
And no matter how many times the Lord would have been just in walking away from His people, He is the steadfast redeemer.
Our unfaithfulness, nor the Law which reveals our unfaithfulness will ever be cause for the Lord to walk away.
Instead, it is in spite of our unfaithfulness that the Lord remains faithful.
So beloved I ask you today, do you realize how faithful the Lord is?
No matter how many times we may run away, He is the Faithful Hosea which will be there forever.
Would you go back to Him today.
a. To bring them to Christ
b. Now that faith (Christ) has come, they are no longer under
it
In whatever way it is that you have allowed yourself to stray away from Him, would you return today.
1) It came to an end when nailed to the cross - cf. :
In the same way that Hosea was willing to pay whatever it cost to redeem Gomer.
14-17;
The Lord paid the ultimate price to redeem us.
Would you look to Him today as the faithful and just?
2) Jews converted to Christ have died to the law - cf. :
Let’s Pray.
1-6
3) Thus it was replaced with a new covenant - cf. ;
8:13; 9:9-10; 10:9
to be temporary. With the coming of Christ and His New Covenant, it
came to end as a system of justification (). What purpose, if
any, does the Law (Old Testament) serve the people of Christ today...?]
A. FOR THEIR LEARNING...
1. Note carefully what Paul wrote in
a. Things "written before" (i.e., the OT) were "written for our
learning"
b. The OT was written and preserved especially for Christians'
benefit!
c. The OT provides "patience and comfort", that we "might have
hope"!
2. The OT provides a record of God's faithfulness, how He kept His
promises:
a. To Abraham and the nation of Israel
b. To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous
c. To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble
-- As we read this history of God's dealings with Israel, it gives
us hope that God will keep His promises to us!
B. FOR THEIR ADMONITION...
1. Paul had just reminded the Corinthians of Israel's fall in the
wilderness -
2. Note carefully what he says in
a. The events described may have happened to Israel
b. "They were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of
the ages have come"
c. Again, the OT was written and preserved especially for the
benefit of Christians!
3. We should not be surprised to see how often NT writers appealed
to the OT in their efforts to admonish Christians
a. As the writer of Hebrews, in exhorting Christians to remain
steadfast -
b. As James, in encouraging Christians to be patient in their
suffering -
c. As Peter, in warning of false teachers and scoffers - 2 Pe
2-3
-- We need to study the OT to be reminded of the very real danger
of apostasy!
C. FOR THEIR WISDOM...
1. Paul noted that Timothy had known the "Holy Scriptures" since
childhood -
a. When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was
the OT
b. So Paul clearly had the OT in view
2. He said the OT is "able to make you wise for salvation through
faith which is in Christ"
3. How is this possible? The OT provides:
a. The fall of man and the rise of sin
b. The background and development of God's scheme of redemption
c. Hundreds of Messianic prophecies which describe what to
expect when He comes
4. One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New
Testament like:
a. Hebrews, without an understanding of the Levitical
priesthood
b. Revelation, without an understanding of OT prophecy and
apocalyptic literature
-- If one wishes to be wise concerning their salvation in Christ,
it is imperative to study the Old Testament!
D. FOR THEIR PROFIT...
1. "All Scripture" includes the OT scriptures, especially in this
context -
2. Therefore the OT is profitable for:
a. Doctrine - such as the nature of God, man, and sin
b. Reproof and correction - the need for repentance
c. Instruction in righteousness - how to live godly lives
3. Thus the apostles frequently appealed to the OT when teaching
Christians their conduct:
a. E.g., ; ;
b. E.g.,
c. E.g.,
-- While certain aspects of justification and worship have
changed, many principles of righteousness remain the same under
the New Covenant
CONCLUSION
1. For the people of Israel, the Law served a valuable purpose...
a. It helped them to understand the nature of sin, and the need for
redemption
b. It guided them until the promised Seed (Christ), through Whom God
blessed all nations
2. For the people of Christ, the Law continues to serve a valuable
purpose...
a. For our learning and admonition
b. For our wisdom and spiritual profit
While we rejoice in the salvation now offered through faith in Christ,
let us never underestimate the value of studying the Old Testament. Its
many examples of obedience through faith (cf. ) should inspire
us to likewise walk in "the steps of faith"...
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