Galatians 3:15

Abraham, Moses & Christ


I enjoy golf – not very good – but a hard thing to get used to in golf is that you don’t have to swing hard

A)You get out there on a par 5 – 600yrds – 6 football fields – I have got to kill this thing – Pull out your Driver – Big Bertha / Big Ben / King Kong


B) Swing with all my might – Not true – let the club to the work – Reality is a good golfer will swing the same: 600 yards / or 100


C) Same principles that you putt with are the same principles that you use to drive – Off the Tea – same as in the Hole

1)   Same is true in the Christian life – How you begin is how you finish BY GRACE – THRU FAITH


D) That truth is really at the heart of Galatians Ch. 3 – theme verse 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?



Some of the church members in Galatia had been bewitched into thinking that you start the Christian life by faith but you complete yourself by works. A)The Spirit is sort of a booster rocket to get you going, but then your own engines kick in and the flesh completes what the Spirit began.


B) Paul says, 1,000 times No! That nullifies grace and dishonors Christ.

1) Same way that you start is the way that you finish!!! – By grace thru faith


C) We saw in our last study that Paul turned to Abe & the Cov that God made with Him to MAKE His point

1)   Abe was Justified the same way that we ARE – By Grace thru faith – all who put their faith in Christ – Sons of Abe – Sons of Faith




Well as we pick it up in v. 15 it seems that Paul anticipates 2 Questions

A)1st – Since the law came after Abe – Doesn’t that mean that the law IS greater than the promise & nullifies the Promise ?


B) 2nd If that is not the case – then what pre tell is the purpose of the law


C)Paul deals with the first of those questions in v.15-21  RD


Paul begins by using an an example they were  familiar with,’ to draw a lesson from the Abrahamic Cov.- to show the priority of the Promise :

A)When a covenant was struck between two parties, the men would gather a series of animals & slice them in half from head to toe,


B)Separating the pieces to  - create a corridor, a walkway between the two halves of the animals.


C) Then both men would walk side-by-side down the path through the animal parts.

1)   Standing between two halves of one animal was a symbol of agreement and oneness.


D) It meant they were both committing themselves to carry out their part of the covenant.

1) It was an agreement that was binding & could not be Broken !!!


Well in Gen 15 – God makes this promise to Abe that He was going to make him a great nation / from his seed all the world would be blessed

A) When Abraham finished slicing the beef he sat down. He fully expected God to appear and walk w/ him through the animal halves - sealing the Cov


B)Well Abraham waited all day and into the evening –for God to show up but he didn’t – Abe chased away the vultures

1)   Finally Abe exhausted fell asleep – that is when God showed up & walked between the animals – They were burnt up  

C) Listen  the way God signed the covenant is intended to show us that the work is His. This is not a tag-team effort.

1) God didn’t meet Abraham halfway. He did the whole thing, saying, Abraham, this promise I’m giving you is not based upon your agreeing with Me and doing your part. No, I’m going to do it ALL, and I’ll even do it while you’re asleep.’   While you are at Rest !!!!


D)APP: Your salvation, the blessings which are poured upon you, the work of the Spirit which flows through you in ministry — it’s ALL God.


‘Don’t I have any part to play’ you ask.

A)Yes. Your part is to shoo away the birds of unbelief that will invariably come and pick at the promises of God’s Word.


B)Whatever God said He will do is an accomplished fact — yet vultures of doubt, and buzzards of cynicism will come and say, ‘God’s not going to use you. He’s not going to bless you. You haven’t been praying enough


C)Your part is to chase away those birds by saying, ‘Lord, You told us You would supply all our needs according to Your riches.

1)You told us You would never leave us or forsake us. You told us You’re preparing a place in heaven for us.


D)You told us You would give the Holy Spirit to Help us. Thank You, Lord I am going to live & walk on the basis of those Promises


So Paul is taking that Picture to show that the promise has priority over the law

A)Note 5 ways how the Promise made to Abe has priority over the law

1st notice in v.17 – The law cannot nullify the Promise


B)Once two parties conclude an agreement, a third party cannot come along Years later and change that agreement. { Binding


B)The only persons who can change an original agreement are the persons who made it.

1)   To add anything to it or take anything from it would be illegal.


C)So first of all we see the Priority of the Promise over the law because – the law could not change the promise


2nd  the Promise has priority because it is  a Gift not a Reward (v. 18).
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

A)Paul says look a promise is a promise, a gift is a gift, you don’t make someone pay for a gift.

1) And God hasn’t asked us to earn salvation as a reward for following a rulebook--that would make it a matter of human effort and not God’s Grace.

B) Thirdly, Paul shows the Priority of the Promise by showing that it is fulfilled in Christ !!!  V.16

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.


C)The word seed can be used to describes descendants as in plural or Descendant as in one – Here the HS makes it clear the seed is Christ

1) All the promises that God made to Abe – are applied to Jesus

                 Thru Christ the world would be Blessed


C) In fact in 2 Cor 1:20 – All the Promises of God are yes & Amen in Christ

1)   All of God’s Promises find their fulfillment in Jesus – And we have been placed in Christ – So those Promises apply to us


4th Reason the Promise has Priority is it is Eternal while the law is Temporary

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made;


A)The LAW WAS TEMPORARY – It was given until the SEED should come

1)   Between the Promise to Abe & the fulfillment of that promise was the period of the law


B)The Purpose of the law was to Show the Expectations of a Holy God
1) Phrase : Because of transgression here means to help us understand what transgression is.


C) It was given To help us understand something about the nature of God. We get a glimpse of His holiness in the law.

1) In a nutshell what Paul says here is this – the purpose of the law is not to bestow salvation upon people but to Convince men of their need of it !!!


Paul elaborates on this in the book of Romans : Rom 3:20

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


Rom 7:7

I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."


A) See Paul had it  together in his flesh – but there was this one issue that he struggled with – Covetousness – he couldn’t over look it !!! –

1) I sinned I need a savior


B) For most of us it is not one issue that we wrestle with it is 1,000 – My heart is capable of being so wicked / so selfish –

1)   If left to myself I know that I am doomed – that is the point of the law – prior to salvation – Make us feel doomed –

2)   feel guilty because we have sinned – the law makes it close.


C) Purpose of the law is not to make men feel better but worse!!!!

1) But it was Temporary – waiting for Christ


I ran across a collection of laws that are still on the legal dockets, yet the passing time and changing culture have made'm obsolete.

A)Here's a sampling: "In San Jose, California sleeping in your neighbor's outhouse without permission is a violation of the Law.


B)Its also illegal to eat peanuts in church in Massachusetts.  In Atlanta, smelly persons are not allowed on streetcars.

1) And singing out of tune in North Carolina is prohibited." Perhaps the North Carolina statue is the only one that still has validity.


C) My point though is its possible to have laws on the books that have become irrelevant and unnecessary.

1)   Paul is saying when Jesus came the Law of Moses became obsolete- It was Temporary – Waiting for Christ


The 5th way that the Promise has priority over the law – is in how it was given !!!

A)The Promise is greater because it wasn’t given thru a Mediator

V. 19b –20 and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.


B)When God gave the law, the setting was awesome and forbidding. God warned the people not to come near the fiery mountain, "lest He break forth upon them" (Ex 19:24).


C) God was the Author and Giver of the covenant of law, and He was present with Moses on Mt. Sinai when it was given

1) But in a way not fully explained, the law was given by God to Moses through angels (cf. Acts 7:53; Heb 2:2).


D) But when God made this Cov with Abe there was no Mediator – no go betweens – God himself showed up & walked thru the animals

1)   God made the Cov – Friend to friend



The Judaizers were impressed by the incidentals of the Law - glory, thunder, lightning, angels, and other externals.

A)But Paul looked beyond incidentals to the essentials. The Law was temporary, and required a mediator.


B) The covenant of promise was permanent, and no mediator was required. 1) There could only be but one conclusion: the cov was greater than the Law.


C) 6th & Finally v. 21 The Promise has Priority it is greater because the law couldn’t give life -

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.


D) It wasn’t given to give life – Because it was impossible to keep it – leaving all mankind under it’s curse


Well it is here that Paul begins to give some detail about that 2nd Question  = What then is the purpose of the law?  V.22-25 Note 3 things

A)1st the law was meant to be a Jailer V. 22 But the Scripture ( The Law )  has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.


B) Paul paints a picture of imprisonment.  The bars of the cell are sin, keeping us confined. 

1)   The Scripture ( THE LAW) put us in the prison, because it pointed out our sinful condition. 


C)So we sit imprisoned by sin, and the law can not help us, because the law put us in the prison!


D)Some protest, and say “I’m not a prisoner to sin.”  There is a simple way to prove it: stop sinning. 

1)But if you can’t stop sinning, then you are imprisoned by the law of God.


Only faith can break us out of our confinement to sin. 

A)The Law of Moses can show us clearly our problem and God’s standard, but it cannot give us the freedom that only Jesus can give. 


B)And The freedom is given to those who believe.


When the Law drives you to the point of despair, let it drive you a little farther, let it drive you straight into the arms of Jesus who says: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’” (Luther)


2nd Purpose of the Law: To Guard us v. 23  But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.


A). Before faith came: Before we were saved by faith; before we lived our lives by faith, we were kept under guard by the law.


B)Here, Paul uses a different word and a different idea than when he wrote the Scripture has confined all under sin in the previous verse. 

1)   The idea behind confined is imprisonment; the idea behind under guard is protective custody. 


C)There is a sense in which we were imprisoned by our own sin under the law; but there is also another sense in which the law guarded us in protective custody.


How does the law protect us?  It protects us by showing us God’s heart.  A)It protects us by showing us the best way to live.  It protects us by showing what should be approved and disapproved among men. 


B)It protects us by providing a foundation for civil law.  In these ways and more, we were kept under guard by the law.

 1) Kept from utter Hedonism -


C)We were kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 

1)   The Law of Moses prepares us to come to Jesus by the way it reveals God’s character and the way it exposes our sin. 


D) So the law was a Jailer / the Law was a Guardian – a protector / Protecting us from ourselves


Finally the law was a Tutor: v.24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

A)Some suggest that Tutor = School master – teacher – but that is not a very good translation: Teacher but also a  DISCIPLINARIAN -


B)Morris translates tutor as custodian.  “The custodian was not a teacher, but a slave whose special task was to look after a child. 

1) He exercised a general supervision over the boy’s activities, and it was his responsibility to bring him to the teacher who would give him the instruction that befitted his station.”


C)The real purpose of the Law was to keep Israel's nose clean, teach'm right and wrong, keep'm out of trouble - until the time came when Jesus could save'm, and change'm, and give'm a new heart.


V.25 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

A)When the child has grown, he doesn’t do away w/ the discipline & lessons he gained from the tutor; but he also doesn’t live under the tutor any longer. 


B)This is our relation to the law of God.  We learn from it; we remember our lessons from it, but we don’t live under the law