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Grace vs Law
Transcript of Grace vs Law
What God Provided
What God Demanded
It was added because of transgressions...(v.19a)
In Rom. 5: 20 the word for "came" (
) means literally, "came in by a side road".
Ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator...
you who have received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it [Acts 7: 53]
Until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made
The Promise: Genesis 15: 17-21
God ordained the law through angels by the hands of a mediator, Moses. Put otherwise, God used angels in the passing of the law to Moses.
smoking firepot with the flaming torch
" symbolize the presence of God as it passed between the animal parts.
Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one [Gal. 3: 20]
The main road is the covenant of promise, involitate, and irrevocable. The Law has the character of something additional, a side road, designed not to lead to a separate destination but to point its travelers back to the main road, the Promise.
Three-Fold Function of the Law:
the Law was given because of transgressions until the Seed come [v. 19-20]
the Law was given to confine people under sin until faith in Christ should come [v. 21-22].
the Law was a king of paidagogues that was in place until Christ should come [v. 23-25].
Three-Fold function of the Law [v. 19-25]
But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law (v. 23a).
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3: 24)
In the Graeco-Roman world, a guardian,
, accompanied the children in his care, instructing and disciplining them when necessary.
For you are all sons of God through
in Christ Jesus [Gal. 3: 26-28].
THE CHANGLESS PROMISE [v. 15-18]
Gen. 15: 17-21
Ex. 20: 1-17
"To give a human example, brother: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified, Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to your offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ (Gal. 3: 15-16)
"This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward,
annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise (Gal. 3: 17-18).
When was the covenant ratified?
When the sun had gone down, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram
, saying, 'To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates"...(Gen. 15: 17-18).
The Seniority of the Covenant (v. 17-18).
WHAT PURPOSE THEN DOES THE LAW SERVE [v.19-25]
"Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom. 5: 20).
From Paul's perspective them, and this is not his whole view of the law, but it is an important component of the law. Because God's law is given to sinful people, it did not make their situation better, it made it worse!
First, God wanted to codify or define sin against Him as transgression (Rom. 4: 15). God gave the law to His people Israel to spell out in considerable detail what God considered to be sin. In this sense, the law brings wrath because Israel is accountable to obey the law.
Second, the Law created even more sin in the sense that that would reveal to mankind how much they needed a redeemer, how much they needed to depend on some other means to finding a relationship with Him that would go beyond the what the law could promise them.
Law is of limited duration...
The law is not on par with the covenant of Promise not only because it was chronologically limited but also because of its administration and mediation. It was handed down or delivered by angels with a man acting as a go-between.
Now when God made His promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He sword by Himself, saying, 'Surely I will bless you greatly and multiply your descendants abundantly" (Heb. 6: 13)
And he brought me outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be," (Gen. 15: 5)
Abraham understood this promise as more than just a promise of many descendants, but as a
promise of One Descendant
, one who would bring justification from sin to the whole world, and that
one descendant is Jesus Christ
Once a covenant is ratified, it cannot be altered, annulled, or rescinded.
"For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you" (Heb. 6: 13-14).
"And he believed in the Lord, and He
it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15: 6)
Sense: to be credited. To be or become attributed or reckoned as an asset in someone's financial report.
Why is Abram's belief in God counted to him for righteousness in Genesis 15?
It is obvious that Abram was a believer when he left Chaldea, but his faith is not there (Heb. 11: 8) mentioned in connection with his justification.
The Holy Spirit singles out Genesis 15 as the occasion when Abram's faith was counted for righteousness. Why?
What did Abram believe?
The teachings of Paul found in the books Romans and Galatians gives us greater insight into
exactly what Abram believed
God said to Abram, "So shall your offspring be" (Gen. 15: 5b).
The literal translation of "offspring" is "
" and it is not in the plural, but in the singular.
"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
" (Gal. 3: 16).
Therefore, it is not that Abram here "believed God" for the first time, but that here God was pleased to openly attest his righteousness for the first time, because he believed the world would be saved through his Seed, Christ!
Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad" (Jn. 8: 56).
Covenants were very common in the ancient Near East. They were made between parties for the purpose of defining the nature of the relationship that was being entered into. The covenant defined the responsibilities and the obligations of both parties entering into a covenant together.
God directs Abram to bring a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, each three years old, also a turtledove, a young pigeon, each being three years old (Gen. 15: 9-10).
The covenanting parties passed between the sacrifices with a view to dramatically indicate that they themselves would rather be torn in two like the animals than renege on their agreement.
This is a covenant of grace, based on the character of God. God undertook all the obligations, while Abram received the benefits!
Point of orgin at Mt. Sinai
Point of Termination...Mt Calvary
The Promise was not given to Abram in the context of obedience to the Law!
Abram faith's is "
accounted for righteousness
" 430 before the Law came into existence.
The Law does not annul or countermand the Promise.
Not only does the law declare us guilty before God, placing us under the curse, but it also locks us up in prison, preventing our escape.
'Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law,' "And all the people shall say, 'Amen!'" (Deut. 27:26).
The Irrevocability of the Covenant (v. 15-16)
Many pedagogues were known for the kindness and held affection for their wards, but the dominant image is that of a harsh disciplinarian who frequently resorted to physical force and corporal punishment as a way of keeping his children in line. The accomplished their task by tweaking the ear, cuffing the hands, whipping, caning, pincing, and other unpleasant means of applied correction.
In a proper sense the law does lead us to Christ by cleansing our sins but rather reveling them clearly and causing them to be multiplied and increased to the point where we stand before God utterly void of and hope of salvation.
What God decreed in eternity, what Abraham glimpsed from a distance, what the patriarchs and prophets hoped for, and what the law was powerless to do; not because it was defective in any way but because it was "weakened" by the flesh (Rom.8:3), God himself has in fact done.
We are all the children of Abraham and heirs of the promise, by
and not by works.
"And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Gal. 3: 29),
Chapter 15 is a pivotal chapter both in the narrative of the life of Abraham as well as God's plan of redemption for all humanity. Why is chapter fifteen a pivotal chapter in the life of Abram?
It is important to the narrative because it transitions the narrative of Abram from
focusing on the promised land
focusing on the promised Seed
. After chapter fifteen, the focus is on the promised Seed or heir of Abraham.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance (Heb. 11: 8a).