Brothers, 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. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:15-24)
I have included this large passage today because it is nearly impossible to break things up for our purposes. It reinforces two points about the Law that have already been stated in our study of Galatians: 1) The Law is good because it was given by God and 2) The Law was not end-all (or the “promise”), but rather the schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
You will find these principles throughout this passage. Just because something is not the foundation of our hope doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a purpose. Such is the case with the Law. God gave it to Moses, many years after His original Covenant with Abraham, to provide a system of conviction and confession for mankind. One day, Christ came to erase our guilt. He was synonymous with the “promise,” and like it we receive Him by faith.
Today I had an “aha” moment. I remembered an old hymn from my childhood with these words:
One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
Dwelt among men, my example is He!
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!
This hymn “One Day” wasn’t based on this passage. In fact, it almost wasn’t published at all because the author and song writer had a big fight over the copyright. But the term “one day” jumped into my head like a light bulb. Abraham lived for “one day.” Moses and Israel lived for “one day.” Then that day came. The promised was fulfilled in Jesus, and the darkness of sin was washed clean by the light of grace.
I love the Law and the way it provided a vehicle for the “promise” to be carried forward. And then, the beautiful Law humbly moved aside to make way for the beautiful Savior.
I love it when a plan comes together!
Dear God, thank You for the “one day” in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.