We have looked at Paul's argument about how the law and faith are incompatible when it comes to obtaining salvation. Now, he shows us how God's promise to Abraham cannot be changed or annulled by the coming of the Mosaic law.
The promise, received by faith alone, has always been God's way of saving His people; since the law plays no part, to make it essential to salvation is nonsensical.
Paul reveals that the Judaizers' position is based on a misconception or fallacy-that when God gave the law, His promise to Abraham was annulled. Paul uses ″an example from everyday life″ (Galatians 3:15)-something so simple that anyone could understand-to show how illogical their position is.
″Brothers and sisters″, he affectionately addresses his readers, ″it is common knowledge that once a covenant or agreement has been ratified (duly established), it remains in force and cannot be terminated or changed by anyone unilaterally, even if that individual is a party to the contract. Now, if this is true of human contracts, how much more true it is of God's covenants!″
Paul is talking specifically about the covenant-consisting mainly of promises-that God made repeatedly to Abraham (v. 16). The words ″covenant″ and ″promise″ are used interchangeably here. Referring to Scripture (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7), he points out that there are two recipients of God's promise: Abraham and his Seed, who is Christ. We will consider what role Christ the Seed plays in the next reading.
Paul argues that like all covenants, God's promise to Abraham and his Seed, once confirmed and ratified, cannot be changed. It continues to hold true until its fulfilment. Hence, it is illogical to believe that the coming of the law over 400 years later means that God has terminated, altered, replaced, or superseded His promise (Galatians 3:17).
Summing up in verse 18, Paul states that to believe God's inheritance (the blessing that God has promised) is based on the law is inconsistent with Scriptural revelation: God's inheritance was given to Abraham by a covenant. The promise, received by faith alone, has always been God's way of saving His people; since the law plays no part, to make it essential to salvation is nonsensical.
The law leads to condemnation, but God chose to bless us through the promise of salvation, which includes the blessing that God will justify us (our inheritance) through faith.
Do you sometimes doubt your salvation in Christ? As you observe the deep fellowship that other Christians have with God, does it lead you to feel like you're not part of God's family? Are you looking for some other means to help you earn God's acceptance? If that describes your situation, then let Paul's words sink deep into your heart. Our salvation is based on God's unchanging promise. He justifies and accepts us on the basis of faith alone.