Monday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 3:15-22

Imprisoning Everything under Sin

Having shown through Scripture that the law brings not salvation but curse, and that Christ Jesus himself became that curse for us, Paul now anticipates the question, “Why then did God give to us the law in the first place?”  This is a very legitimate question and one he must answer in the face of those who are troubling the church by insisting on the keeping of the law through circumcision and ceremonies.

Paul has already alluded to Abraham, the father and beginning of the Israelites.  God made a promise to Abraham and his “offspring,” Paul making much over the fact that the word is singular, though it certainly has a corporate meaning, and Paul himself used it in a corporate sense in Romans 4:18.  Regardless, Paul’s point is that the offspring (in both the singular and corporate senses) to whom the promise was made was Christ himself, through whom those who believe receive the promises.  Christ is the intermediary between believers and the Father, the Father being one with His Son.  But Paul’s main point here is that this promise which was given to Abraham and his offspring long before the law was given to Moses by some 430 years cannot be annulled by that law.  That promise constitutes a sacred covenant and testament of the Father to His Son and those who believe in His Son and is thus inviolable.

So the question rises again, “Why then the law?”  Paul answers, “It was added for transgressions.”  What does that mean?  Let us look to what Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Through the law comes knowledge of sin” (3:20), and “That sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure” (7:13; also see notes in ESV Study Bible, 2250).  Paul goes on to argue that had there been a law that gave life then righteousness would have come by the law.  But this cannot be the case with fallen human beings whose sinful nature cannot abide the law.  The problem is not with the law; the problem is with us.  So God does us a favor: He imprisons everyone under sin.  But how is this a favor to us?  So that “the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

So you see, the promise came first; the law only came to show us how much we needed and still need the promise.  So don’t cling to the law; cling to the promise which was fulfilled in our Lord’s coming and his passion and resurrection on our behalf.  Cling, I say, to the Lord.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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