Why Then The Law?, Part 3

August 29, 2010 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 3:19–3:22

Why Then the Law?

Part 3


Text: Galatians 3:19-22


August 29, 2010




I.       The Law was added to Reveal Sin. v. 19a


3 …being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,” (Romans 10:3-4).


II.       The Law was ordained through mediaton. vv. 19b-20




III.       The Law was temporary. v. 19b


A.       The Law was temporary in its duration. v. 19b


B.       The Law was temporary in its function. v. 19b


1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins,” (Hebrews 10:1-4).


5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” 8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” (Hebrews 10:5-10).


30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them,” (Deut. 4:30-31).


10 For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. 11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which He will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne,” (Ps. 132:10-11; cf. Ps. 89).


“Blessings in the possession of Canaan were promised to obedience, and curses and miseries to those who broke the covenant, and all to this end, that God might thus encourage their hearts in the expectation of the Messiah to come ... This subservient or old covenant is that which God made with the people of Israel in Mount Sinai, to prepare them to faith, and to inflame them with the desire of the promise and of the coming of Christ…,” (Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 95).


“God spoke the words, “Do this and live”, to show us our weakness and to stir up our hearts to seek Christ, who has fulfilled all righteousness for us, both positive and negative. He has undergone the penalties, and obeyed the precepts, borne our curses, and performed our services (Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 107).


“Carriers of the legalistic virus in Galatia and elsewhere were not faulted for having a positive view of the law, but for failing to recognize that its purpose was to lead God’s people to Christ,” (Michael Horton, God of Promise, p. 75).


“…it was temporary, and had respect to Canaan and God’s blessing there, if and as Israel obeyed. It had no relation to heaven, for that was promised by another covenant (i.e., Abrahamic- J.F.) which God made before He entered upon the subservient covenant,” (Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 99).




Does the Law have any place or role in our daily lives as Christians? If so, what?


“…the law, as it is considered as a rule, can no more be abolished or changed than the nature of good and evil can be abolished and changed…And for the substance of it, it is moral and eternal, and cannot be abrogated. We grant that the circumstances under which the moral law was originally given were temporary and changeable, and we have nothing to do with the promulgator, Moses, nor with the place where it was given, Mount Sinai, nor with the time when it was given, fifty days after the people came out of Egypt, nor yet as it was written in tables of stone, delivered with thunderings and lightnings. We look not to Sinai, the hill of bondage, but to Sion, the mountain of grace,” (Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, pp. 57-58).

“The law was given us as a glass to reveal our imperfections in duty, and for this purpose the law remains with us. Through it we perceive the imperfections of our duties, our graces, and our obedience. By this means we are kept close to Christ and kept humble. The law takes us away from reliance on ourselves and casts us upon Christ and the promises,” (Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 88).


“The Law must not rule in the conscience any longer than the predetermined time of that Blessed Offspring. Therefore, when the Law has disclosed my iniquities to me, has terrified me, and has revealed to me the wrath and judgment of God, so that I begin to blanch and to despair, then the Law has reached the prescribed manner, time, and purpose when it must stop exercising its tyranny, because then it has discharged its function by adequately disclosing the wrath of God and creating terror. Here one must say: ‘Stop, Law! You have caused enough terror and sorrow. Thou dost overwhelm me with all Thy waves; Thy dread assaults destroy me (Ps. 88:7, 16). O Lord, do not rebuke Thy servant in Thy anger, nor chasten me in Thy Wrath (Ps. 6:1).’ When these terrors and complaints come, it is time and the hour of the Blessed Offspring. Then let the Law withdraw; for it was indeed added for the sake of disclosing and increasing transgressions, but only until the point when the Offspring would come. Once He is present, let the Law stop disclosing transgressions and terrifying. Let it surrender its realm to another, that is, to the Blessed Offspring, Christ; He has gracious lips, with which He does not accuse and terrify but speaks better things than the Law, namely, grace, peace, forgiveness of sins, and victory over sin and death,” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, p. 317).


© John Fonville

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