By Brooke Holt
“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)
Paul continued to teach the churches in Galatia about Abraham, who was an example not just for the nation of Israel but for all people who would come to God in faith. In the Greco-Roman world, when Paul wrote, the law recognized a person’s last will and testament, much like ours today. Once a will was ratified, it was unchangeable.
Abraham was declared righteous by faith in the eyes of God, and God made a covenant with Abraham. That covenant did not change hundreds of years later when the law was given to Moses and the nation of Israel. The law could not and did not make them righteous. Instead, the law constantly exposed their sin and unrighteousness as well as their continual need for atonement. Under the law, daily sacrifices were offered to atone for the sins of God’s people. Paul wanted his readers to understand that the whole system—the law, the sacrifices, and the Old Testament prophecies—pointed to Jesus Christ.
Jesus was the Son (the offspring) promised to Abraham. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law, Jesus bore the punishment for our sins upon the cross, and Jesus makes salvation available to all people. Salvation was no longer for the Jews but for all who would trust in the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf.
The law did not make Abraham righteous in the eyes of God; faith did. The law did not make Moses or anyone in the nation of Israel righteous; faith did. And the law could not make the Galatians righteous. Only Jesus could do that.
Only Jesus. That is what Paul longed for the Galatians to know and believe, and his message has not changed for you today. There is one way to righteousness, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). May you hear, know, and believe today so that you may fully receive this righteousness in Christ!
What hinders you from receiving this gift of righteousness? Is it shame, guilt, or a sense of unworthiness? Today is the day to surrender those things unto the Lord, receive his righteousness, and live in the freedom of new life in Christ. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Recommended Resource:The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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