"..Heirs According to Promise."
A Continued Study on Paul's Letter to the Galatians
So, the Men's Bible Study is no more, but Elise and I are picking up where we'd left off. Last week we went through, in short, everything that the Men's Study had covered. This week, we pressed on from Galatians 3:15-29.
Paul talks about some really cool stuff here, as he is laying out the difference between The Law and The Promise to Abraham..
He starts out by Identifying what a Promise is in Galatians 3:15. A promise is finite. You can't change it, or add to it. Once a promise is made, you are bound to it or it is broken. We all know, God never breaks promises. So we have to believe that The Promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 still stands.
"I will bless (save) those who bless (honor) you, and him who dishonors you, I will curse (condemn)."
I believe the Lord is explaining to Abraham the Promise of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Paul continues in Galatians 3:16 to explain that The Promise to Abraham was made for his offspring (singular, one offspring), not offsprings. This offspring was his distant grandchild, Jesus Christ. And in Galatians 3:17-18 he breaks it down for us. Salvation comes to us through The Promise to Abraham. The Law, which was given 430 years later, cannot add to, or take away from the original Promise because that would break the promise and God never breaks a promise.
So why do we even have the commandments? Why do the Jews have so many rules if they are already saved?
Galatians 3:19-20 explains that even though we had a promise of Salvation, until Jesus came, died and rose on the 3rd day, we were still in bondage to our sin. And this was told to us by an "intermediary" (the Spirit of Christ) through Angels. This is a hint to the Trinity concept of 3 Gods in One. And so, God provided us with a "Guardian" or guideline to live by, The Law.
"Is The Law then contrary to the promises of God?" Galatians 3:21-28 then begins to break everything down for us and lay it out so that we can understand the difference between The Law and The Promise to Abraham.
The Law tells us what not to do. It defines sin, but it does not save us. There is no "Thou shalt do this and be saved" law. It is entirely condemning. Paul says it holds us captive, imprisoned until The Promise to Abraham is fulfilled. Following the law is not where Salvation comes from.
The Promise to Abraham tells us that God will save us (through Jesus Christ). And by believing in the Promise (Jesus) we can be saved when the Promise if fulfilled (Jesus is born, dies, and risen).
This is how Abraham was saved and how all Jews would find Salvation until Jesus came. Others also, could then convert to Judaism, Obey the Law and Believe in The Promise to Abraham and be saved. Obeying The Law was required to be a Jew. Believing The Promise to Abraham was required for Salvation.
Once Christ came, he was the Perfect Sacrifice to Remove our sin, unlike the imperfect sacrifices of the Jews which only covered it up. The Law is no longer required. (Keep in mind, this is not a license to sin. We are still commanded by Jesus to Love God and Love our Neighbor, which really envelopes The Law and then some in two simple commands.)
Infact, Paul takes it one step further and says that they are no longer Jews. We are no longer Americans. We're not Slaves or Free, Men or Women. We are Christians, all one in Christ Jesus.
Finally Paul concludes by explaining that Abrahams Heirs were in fact not determined by bloodline. God doesn't save through Genetics. God saves through Faith by a Promise. And All of us who belong to Christ by faith in Him, are the true descendants of Abraham's Inheritance, according to the promise that was given.
We are Saved through Faith by Grace.