Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom #14: Promise Superior to Law

Paul in  Galatians 3:1-14 is teaching that salvation comes by faith in God’s Promise and not by our feeble, vain efforts to keep God’s Law.


In verse 15  Paul contrasts God’s promise with man’s contracts.    When a contract is signed and notarized,  it is binding.  Woe be to the person who attempts to  break a human contract.   I encourage you to be  very, very cautious when signing a contract to buy or lease anything.  Read the fine print.  Once you sign, you are bound by that contact.  If you fail to fulfill your responsibilities, you could be wiped out financially.  


Let me point out from Galatians 3:15-22 how a promise is superior to a contract.


1. A promise is personal and heart-felt rather than legal and cold-hearted.  Consider this when it comes to marriage. In which kind of a marriage would you rather be?  One based on promise or one based on contract?  I think you would agree with me that a marriage based on promise has a better chance of enjoying  a loving relationship than one based on a pre-nuptial agreement, which is basically a business contract.  That stands as much chance of a loving relationship as a business contract.  A marriage based on a contract has more concern for self than the spouse.   In a marriage based on loving promise, we each live for the happiness and welfare of the other, rather than  ourselves.  So salvation based on God’s promise has an  infinitely greater chance of  a loving relationship with God, than a salvation based on God’s Law and my futile efforts to keep it.


2. A Promise or a covenant is irrevocable.  Even a human covenant or agreement, is irrevocable and cannot be changed, once it is signed and ratified.  God gave him assurance;  perhaps more than he really wanted to know. It’s recorded in Genesis15:8-18.  To give Abraham the confirmation, God asked him to take some animals and birds and kill them, cutting the animals in two and laying them in order for sacrifice.  Then Abraham went into a deep sleep and had a vision from God.  God, as a smoking lamp walked through the animals during the night, affirming that the covenant must be fulfilled on pain of death.  God also gave him some information about the future that, no doubt, troubled Abraham.  God told him that his seed would be slaves in Egypt for 430 years.  If you are familiar with your Bible, you know that is just what happened.  In spite of this, Israel will one day inherit the promised land and God’s blessings on them.  That is yet to take place one day, as the Bible prophecies.  For more on this go to our series on PROPHECY.


3. The Promise of Galatians 3:16  is better than a contract because it is based on Christ.  Paul makes a point of showing that Abraham’s SEED  is singular; not plural.  When God speaks of Abraham’s seed, he is not primarily speaking of all the Israelites who would come through the seed of Abraham, but He is speaking of Christ who is the promised SEED.  Christ is the one and only heir of every promise of God.  For us to inherit the promises of Abraham, we must be IN CHRIST.  The fact is that every true believer is IN CHRIST.  Romans 8:17 teaches us that we are joint-heirs with Christ.


4. According to Galatians 3:17 the Promise is superior to the Law because is came first. The promise to Abraham and to his Seed, came 430 years before the Law.  What the promise gave us, the Law cannot afterwards annul.


5. The promise is superior to the Law because it cannot be changed by the Law.  God made the promise and according to Malachi 3:6, God changes not.  According to Hebrews 10:23  He is true to His promise.  Salvation must be of promise; not law.

6. God gave (Greek  karizomai from the Greek word charis which is translated grace.)

In other words, God gave the promise to Abraham by His grace, just as He gives each of us salvation by His grace alone.   Salvation has to be either by grace or by law. It can’t be both.  Thank God that the promise is clear throughout the New Testament that salvation is by God’s grace alone.  Therefore salvation cannot be even 1% by our works.


May God settle this in your heart and mind once for all. Salvation is by grace and not by works.  Good works are the fruit of salvation; not the means of salvation.

Perhaps you are thinking, why then the law?  We’ll consider this in our next article as we continue our study of Galatians 3 beginning with verse 19.   

August 29, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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