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The Law versus God’s Promises

15 Beloved friends, let me use an illustration that we can all understand. Technically, when a contract is signed, it can’t be changed after it has been put into effect; it’s too late to alter the agreement.[a]

16 Remember the royal proclamation[b] God spoke over Abraham and to Abraham’s child? God said that his promises were made to pass on to Abraham’s “Child,”[c] not children. And who is this “Child?” It’s the Son of promise, Jesus, the anointed Messiah!

17–18 This means that the covenant between God and Abraham was fulfilled in Messiah and cannot be altered. Yet the written law was not even given to Moses until 430 years later, after God had “signed” his contract with Abraham! The law, then, doesn’t supersede the promise[d] since the royal proclamation was given before the law.[e]

If that were the case, it would have nullified what God said to Abraham. We receive all the promises because of the Promised One—not because we keep the law!

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  1. Galatians 3:15 The most ancient Aramaic manuscript has a different meaning for this verse. It could also be translated, “The covenant of the Son of Man that I reference should never be denigrated or changed in any way by men.”
  2. Galatians 3:16 As translated literally from the Greek. It can also mean “covenant.”
  3. Galatians 3:16 Or “seed.”
  4. Galatians 3:17 The concept of the “promise” is that all we need is faith to believe it. This is the revelation of grace that saves us, for the “promise” is enough.
  5. Galatians 3:17 This last sentence is the implied conclusion of Paul’s logic.

The Law and the Promise

15 Brothers and sisters,(A) let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.(B) Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[a](C) meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years(D) later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

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  1. Galatians 3:16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7