What’s it all about? Paul continues his defense of justification by faith by demonstrating that the promise to Abraham preceded the Law and, therefore, is superior. Consequently, the inheritance of the promises are not received by works but through the promised seed: Jesus Christ.
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 (Galatians 3:15-18 ESV).
So what? The superiority of the promise made to Abraham resolves any alleged contradiction between law and grace. The promises to Abraham were not nullified nor replaced by the Law. God’s provision of grace, as promised to Abraham, is fulfilled through Jesus Christ.Thus, as Christians, we must realize that we no longer live under the condemnation that was illustrated by the Law. Instead, we live in the victory and freedom that were promised to Abraham and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Questions from the Text:
1. Why is it important to understand the connection between Abraham and Jesus (3:15-16)?
2. Why was the promise made to Abraham superior to the Law given through Moses (3:16)?
3. What was the promise made to Abraham and how is it applied to believers (3:16-17; cf. Genesis 12:1-3)?
Now, what? We cannot rely upon good intentions, righteous deeds, or religious rituals to receive eternal life. No amount of merit, effort, or religious activity will provide release from the curse and victory over sin and its consequences. Every day we must remind ourselves that the freedom and victory we have over the curse was made possible only by Jesus Christ.
Small Group Questions
Scripture: Romans 5:12-21; 8:31-39; 1st Corinthians 15:56-58
1. How has all of humanity been affected by the actions of Adam?
2. How have all believers been affected by the actions of Jesus?
3. What is the basis of Paul’s claim that nothing can separate believers from the love of God?
4. On what basis does Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:56-58 assert that the Christian’s life and labor for the gospel are not in vain?