Sermon: “The Law and The Promise” (Galatians 3:15-29)
The Apostle Paul contends throughout Galatians 3:1-14 that right standing before God (i.e. righteousness) can only be attained through faith in Christ. A person isn’t justified (i.e. declared right) by faith + law observance. If you add anything to Christ for righteousness, you forfeit the essential message of the gospel, compromise the sufficiency of Christ, and put yourself under the demands of the law. Righteousness has always come through faith alone. This was true with Abraham before the law was codified, and this is true after the institution of the law.
In the second part of Galatians 3 (3:15-29), Paul argues that ‘the promises’ were made to Abraham and to his offspring before the law was given. Paul then labors to clarify that the offspring in whom all of these promises were ultimately realized is Jesus Christ. Jesus in the thread who holds together the entirely of the Scriptures. Jesus is the offspring of Abraham to whom each stage of the OT looks. Herein lies the problem: the Judaizers (Paul’s main opponents in Galatians) have far too low of an evaluation of Christ and as a result, they misread the scriptures and how the law functions in relation to the promise.
In the same way that Christ holds together the entirety of the scriptures, so too Christ holds together the various pieces and components of our lives. Both Christ’s present reign and rule, and his promise to come again, animates and directs our work, and injects purpose into our suffering. When we see our sin and we hear the demands of the law, Paul reminds us in this passage that both are designed to uphold Christ. And when we consider the beautiful diversity in the church, we’re reminded that this is the fruit of the promised seed of Abraham Jesus Christ, in whom all the peoples of the earth are blessed.