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Parables And Promises

Galatians 3:15

God knows that human beings cannot easily understand what we cannot see. So, throughout the Bible, God uses examples from everyday life to help His people to grasp eternal truths. For example: the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament help us to appreciate the sacrifice of Christ; the tabernacle and temple of the Old Testament help us to grasp how sinful people can worship the holy God. In the same way, Jesus used parables to explain how to enter His kingdom and grow as a disciple.

Blessing Only Comes Through Christ

Galatians 3:16-17

Over 4,000 years ago, God promised Abraham that through one of his descendants (seed) all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3; 12:7 ; 13:15; 24:7).

Covenant Versus Law

Galatians 3:18

Jewish-background Christians found it difficult to believe that the Law given to Moses was not God’s ultimate authority: they could not see how Jesus had greater authority. Paul explained that God’s promise to Abraham was an unconditional covenant which would be fulfilled by Jesus, whereas the Law came about 500 years later and was a conditional covenant. The condition was that God would bless His people if they were obedient, but would curse them for disobedience.

Why Have God's Law?

Galatians 3:19-20

The Law given to Moses was temporary. It could never make bad people good; or nice people perfect. Although the Jews claimed that God loved them because they loved His Law, the problem was that none of them could ever keep it – and therefore they were excluded from fellowship with God. So, what was the point of the Law? It defined sin and made it clearly punishable. Christ is the Saviour who redeems us from the punishment of sin: but first, sin and its punishment had to be defined.

Only One Way Forward

Galatians 3:21-22

Religion loves rules. The adherents feel that they are earning God’s favour, and the officials have power over the people by demanding that they keep the laws or face punishment. But faith in Jesus Christ is different. He is the focus of God’s promises which came before the Law was given to Moses. However the promises and Law are not in conflict; the Law is an instructor to show us how bad our sin is. The Law cannot give life, but faith in Jesus Christ does. The Law stipulates punishment for sinners, but Jesus offers forgiveness to sinners. So what is the point of having the Law?

From Childhood To Maturity

Galatians 3:23-25

Paul’s readers would have seen slave-guardians in their cities. They were slaves, owned by their masters, but were trusted to have the responsibility of preparing the children of the house for adulthood. They were not family members but were given authority over the children, even to the point of disciplining them. However, when they reached maturity, the young people no longer needed their guardians, and they took their full role as adult members of the family.

The Family of Faith

Galatians 3:26-27

What makes a person a child of God? Paul’s Jewish readers would have answered by saying that circumcision and keeping the Old Testament Law had secured their place in God’s family. But Jesus Christ had put the Law into second place: only faith in Jesus would bring people into His family. That meant that Gentiles (non-Jews) could be welcomed by God as equals with Jewish-background believers; but Jews who refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah would now be excluded from God’s family.

All One In Christ Jesus

Galatians 3:28-29

Religious people love hierarchy. They delight in being somewhere on a ladder which they can climb by their own efforts. They also think that there are some people higher than them and some who are lower. In Jesus’ day, the Jews considered the priests to be higher, and the chief priests to be very high; they also considered women and children to be much lower than the men. The Gentiles were the lowest of all.

The Slave And The Son

Galatians 4:1-5

The young heirs of a wealthy estate in the Roman Empire had no power or authority; they could not manage the estate or benefit from it directly. Even though they would inherit it all one day, as children they were under the authority of their father’s servants. They had as much say in what happened as the lowest slave. In the same way, Paul says, God’s people were under the authority of the Law before Christ came. They had no freedom to be true heirs of the Kingdom until they received Christ and grew up spiritually.

The Sons And The Spirit

Galatians 4:6-7

The gospel is unique. It announces that people who believe in Jesus are made sons of God. They have a privileged and intimate relationship with their Maker; He allows them to come very close to Him, as children to their father. They are like former slaves who have been ransomed and adopted into their Master’s family. That radical change of status is a result of the Father’s deep love, the Son’s sacrifice and the Spirit’s indwelling presence.