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.
Galatians 3:17-18, English Standard Version
The Judaizers were teaching the Galatians the necessity of keeping the law because the law replaced God’s promises to Abraham. Although the Law was instituted by Moses some 430 years later, the Apostle Paul explained that God’s promises to Abraham was irrevocable and sure.
This promise was made to Abraham’s singular offspring, Jesus and all who put their trust in Him are guaranteed inheritors of the blessings that come from that promise.
When the Law was given to the Jewish people, they were obligated to keep it in order to receive blessings and avert curses. The Old Covenant however had nothing to do with God’s promises to Abraham. The Jewish people were not keeping the Law in order to fulfil God’s promises to Abraham but if they had to as Paul says it, “if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise”. Since it was God who made the promise, He has obligated Himself to keep it and bring it to fruition. God did so, in and through the sacrifice of His one and only Son Jesus Christ for all of humanity.
Like the Galatians who cannot make a distinction between a promise and a law, we can foolishly fall into a false gospel of works under the guise of grace. It is about hearing and believing a message that we are saved by grace but still living under the law. If we do so, then we are trying to earn what God has freely given in Christ. It will lead to a life of many man-made sacrifices but never a life of total surrender and obedience to Christ.
Our daily Christian walk is about relating to God on the basis of His grace by faith. We are not just saved by grace but we are also sanctified by grace. Grace cannot work for the self-righteous. God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Put simply, to be humble is to let God save you from yourself and rely on his abundant grace in every part of our lives.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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