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The proof of God's covenant and promise.

Galatians:Freedom through Christ   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Opening Comments:

Please meet me in your copy of God’s Word in Galatians 3:15-18. We are in the doctrinal portion of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia.
The theme of Paul’s letter is the doctrine of Justification by faith alone apart from the works of the law. In this doctrinal section Paul gives us six proofs that God justifies man, declares him righteous, by placing faith in Christ alone a part from any religious ritual or religious law keeping.
We saw in 3:1-5 that there was the proof of their experience. That when Paul came preaching the Gospel and they became believers, there was no ritual that they were required to follow.
Last week in 3:6-14 we examined Paul’s second proof that Justification by faith comes from the Scriptures. Particularly the OT narrative of Abraham who followed God in faith.
We saw where God made two promises to Abraham:
That he would become the Father of a great nation.
All the nations of the earth would be blessed by his offspring.
Today, we will look at the third proof given by Paul, to the Galatian believers to show them that faith in Christ alone is all that is needed to be justified (saved) in the sight of God.
I’ve titled the message today “The proof of God’s covenant and promise.”
Let’s read our text together this morning, this is the Word of the Lord.
Galatians 3:15–18 NKJV
15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Introduction:

I’d like to ask you two questions for you to ponder as we begin our tie in God’s word this morning:
Do you truly believe that God will keep his promises to you?
Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you?
The text we’ve just read, much like last week centers around what is called the Abrahamic Covenant or simply the promises that God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. Last week in our time together we spent our time looking at Abrahams response to the promises of God (his faith). This week however, were going to dig into God’s side of the covenant with Abraham.
Before we go any further however, I want to take a few minutes to define what exactly a covenant is in the scriptures.
The word translated as covenant refers to a simple contract that was legally binding. A covenant normally held both parties to certain obligations and specified penalties for breaking the pact and were often sealed with some sort of solemn ceremony.
When God made his covenant with Abraham which we read about in the book of Genesis, it was much more than just a few legal terms scribbled on parchment. God took full responsibility for Abrahams future and purpose. God guaranteed his commitment to Abraham unconditionally. Meaning all the obligations in the covenant were all borne by God and none of it was borne by Abraham.
Paul in the text this morning is laying out for the Galatians that they (and all Christian believers) are beneficiaries of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is what guarantees that we can be made righteous and acceptable to God (Justification) through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then in response to that guarantee, we as believers live our lives from God’s acceptance of us like we belong to him.
The false teaching that was occuring in the Galatian churches espoused a very dangerous doctrine. They were saying that a person is not accepted by God by grace through faith alone but had to keep the rituals of Judaism and then focus their life on the keeping of the mosaic law and doing all the good works they could. In other words, they were teaching that acceptance from God came through religious ritual, rules and deeds and not by grace through faith.
This contradicts the teaching of Paul and the entirety of scriptures. Religion, good deeds and the law have there place in the plan of God and the lives of his people but they do not bring salvation. Scripture plainly declares that a man cannot be made acceptable to God by deeds but by faith in Christ.
A human, no matter how hard he tries cannot merit God’s acceptance. No matter ho good or disciplined our lives are, we will always fall short because we are polluted by sin. Our only hop is to place our faith in Christ.
That is the point of our text this morning.
God’s covenant and promise to Abraham proves that justification is by faith and not by the works of the law. We have before us this morning four observations regarding God’s covenant of promise with Abraham.

1.) God’s covenant with Abraham was permanent. (v.15)

When a covenant was made and executed it was binding according to its terms. It could not be annulled or added to in any way. The covenant stood as it was agreed upon.
By the law, the promises made in that covenant are sealed; all the parties involved are bound to keep theri word, their promise to each other.
Paul is saying here in v.15, by using a human covenant as an illustration that the covenant made by7 God with Abraham couldn’t be undone by the law. It stands eternally in full effect.

2.) God’s covenant was with Abraham and “his seed.” (v.16)

Notice what Paul says here in v.16, that the promise of God was given to Abraham and “His seed”.
( He is quoting from Genesis 17 and 22)
Who is this seed? Well, the word “seed” is singular not plural. This tells us that the promise to Abraham’s “seed” is referring to one individual and the scripture declares this to be Jesus. He is the seed promised to Abraham and the seed who would receive the promises made to Abraham.
This tells us:
A.) The promise of the seed of Abraham that his seed would inherit the promised land for an everlasting possession have been passed down to Christ.
Jesus will one day inherit the world and be exalted as the sovereign majesty of the universe, ruling and reigning forever.
B.) As believers, we too shall inherit the world and reign with Christ through all eternity. Abraham was promised that he would be the father of many nations and children and we as believers are those children.
C.) This confirms to us that faith is the way to become justified and acceptable to God.
Romans 4:13 NKJV
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Application: Abraham had faith that God would keep His covenant promise. Abraham has been given a seed, a descendant who has blessed the world, the Lord Jesus. Abraham has also been given a nation of people who are hers of his and Christ and the only condition to receiving that promise is faith just as it was for Abraham.

3.) God gave Abraham this covenant of faith before the law. (v.17)

God didn't give Moses the law until 430 after Abraham.
A.) When the law was given, the promise to Abraham had not yet been fulfilled, because of this, the law couldn't change or void God’s promise.
The covenant of faith finds its roots in eternity past. Since Jesus, who is eternal, existed before Abraham, the covenant of faith was given to Christ before it was given to Abraham.
John 1:17 NKJV
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
B.) God’s covenant with Abraham told mankind how to be acceptable to God and receive God’s promises, by faith.
When the law was given, it was given to show men their complete inability to save themselves and their need to place their faith in the messiah.
No man is justified by law-keeping, works, or self righteousness. Justification only comes through faith in Christ alone. God’s covenant of faith and grace is sure. It can’t be revoked or changed. All those who come to Christ in faith shall inherit the promised given to Abraham and to Christ.
Luke 21:33 NKJV
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

4.) God gave his covenant (inheritance) by promise not by law. (v.18)

The inheritance that was given to Abraham was righteousness, being accepted by God and given the privilege of dwelling in heaven for all eternity.
This wasn't given to Abraham through the law or his own efforts. He couldn't earn or win it in some way.
No. Scripture declares “God gave it to Abraham by promise.”
Application: That same promise is given to all believers, who walk in faith like Abraham. That when you come to Christ in faith you will be counted as righteous and be made acceptable to God.
Praise God that he has kept his promise even after he gave Moses the law. Can you imagine a what life would be like if we had to earn our own justification? Always striving to perfectly keep the rules.
The giving of the law didn't change God’s plan for redemption.
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
God’s plan has always been for people to come to him by faith in the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion:

We as believers in Christ have no reason to doubt God’s promise to justify us. His promise is guaranteed by his covenant with Abraham and God’s word never changes.
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