“Unfathomable grace.” This line from the hymn Light Of The Anxious Heart kept coming to mind as I was reading this week’s text from Galatians in preparation for the worship service. True, the word “grace” doesn’t actually occur in this passage, but the concept saturates it entirely. Abraham was saved by God’s gracious promise, not through the law of Moses which followed (Galatians 3:18). We too “rest upon His promise,” and ask for “grace to trust Him more (Galatians 3:29; ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus). When the Law convicts us, we follow the Psalmist in offering up a “plea for grace” (Galatians 3:22; Turn Your Ear And Answer—Psalm 89). Even Paul’s famous declaration in Galatians 3:28 (“There is neither Jew nor Greek… there is no male and female”— so often wrenched from its context to justify a whole host of positions) occurs in a discussion of God’s grace: Gentiles become “chosen seed of Israel … by His grace” (All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name). As we go out this morning singing Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, I pray that this morning’s service will help us to tune our hearts to sing His grace. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Covenant, Promise, Law, Guardian, Heir, Adoption
Keystone Verse: The law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.