The Superiority of God's Promise, Part 1
Scripture: Galatians 3:15–3:18
The Superiority of God’s Promise
Text: Galatians 3:15-18
June 27, 2010
“41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your PROMISE..”
“50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your PROMISE gives me life.”
“116 Uphold me according to your PROMISE, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!”
“133 Keep steady my steps according to your PROMISE, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.”
“God made promises to Abraham ‘of His own free and gracious will’. The subsequent giving of the Law does not alter this, for ‘once gracious, He is always gracious,” (Leon Morris, Galatians, p. 108).
“If, then, you want to divide the Word of truth rightly (2 Tim. 2:15), you must distinguish the promise from the Law as far as possible, both in your attitude and in your whole life. It is not without purpose that Paul urged this argument so diligently; for he saw that in the church this evil would arise, namely, that the Word of God would be confused, which means that the promise would be mixed with the Law and in this way be completely lost. For when the promise is mixed up with the Law, it becomes Law pure and simple,” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, p. 302).
I. The Promise is permanent. v. 15
Throughout Galatians he [Paul-J.F.] makes the case that the covenant of law (i.e., the Sinaitic Covenant with its ceremonial and civil legislation for life in Canaan) is different from the covenant of promise (i.e., the Abrahamic covenant with its promise of a seed through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed). Paul is saying here that the former covenant concerned earthly, temporary measures that served as types of the heavenly, eternal reality promised and confirmed in the latter covenant. The earlier (Abrahamic) covenant cannot be annulled by the later (Mosaic) covenant, he insists. Those who seek to be justified by law are under the curse (i.e., sanctions) of that law, because this covenant does not grade on a curve but requires absolute, perfect, personal obedience to everything in it,” (God Of Promise, pp. 37-38).
“A will is not a contract. It does not set terms that various parties are obligated to fulfill. Instead, it simply declares what one party intends to do. A last will and testament is a legal arrangement in which one party bestows his or her estate on someone else. It is a grant rather than a bargain,” (Phil Ryken, Galatians, p. 120).
“13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself… 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath…”
“Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant,” (Hebrews 9:15).
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…,” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
© John Fonville
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