Gal. 3:21 "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for
if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily
righteousness should have been by the law."
Since the promises of God
were made long before the law was given, it makes no sense that God
would set up a law that would be in opposition to the promises that he
had made or that made his promises of none effect. This would have been
completely contrary to the very nature of God that cannot lie. God's
promises are sure and cannot fail.
Next, we notice that no law has been given
that gives life. This goes contrary to the belief system of many people.
Today it is common for people to believe that John 3:16 is the law that
is given to give life. Yet John 3:16 plainly does not give life. Some
say that if you will accept the Lord as your personal savior you will
get life. This is the law that they believe that will give you life.
Again, there has been no law given that gives life. Even others say that
if you will hear the gospel, believe the gospel, accept the Lord as your
personal savior, invite him into your heart, and be baptized that you
can get life. Once again, God has not given us any law which gives life.
Righteousness does not come by the law. Righteousness is given to us by
the promise of God and through the atoning blood of Christ. It is
imputed into us in God's work of regeneration. We do nothing to make
ourselves righteous before God. It is by the grace of God alone.
Gal. 3:22 "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the
promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
"But the scripture hath concluded all
under sin." Paul goes into a lot more detail on this in the third
chapter of Romans:
Rom. 3:9 "What then? are we better than they? No, in
no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are
all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not
one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh
after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their
throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16
Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have
they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we
know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are
under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may
become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there
shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the
knowledge of sin."
The law is all encompassing in its
condemnation of the entire human race. We are all under the law of sin
and death. There is none among either Jew or Gentile that is righteous
under the law. The law gives us the knowledge of sin and shows us that
we are all guilty before God and worthy of his eternal condemnation.
"That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ
might be given to them that believe." In contrast to the law, the
promise of God gives us great hope. This covenant promise is sure
because of the faith of Jesus Christ. Christ is the executor of the
covenant promise of God. Thus, because God cannot lie and Christ cannot
fail, we know that the completeness of the covenant promises of God will
These covenant promises are given into the
belief system of our heart to assure us that we are saved by his grace
through the preaching of the gospel and our belief in those covenant
Gal. 3:23-25 "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up
unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law
was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified
by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a
Paul is addressing the two covenants of worship that God's people have
been under. The first is the covenant of the law. The second covenant he
terms "faith." This is the New or second Covenant.
"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the
faith which should afterwards be revealed." Before the covenant of faith
came, the covenant of the law had been given to the children of Israel
at Mount Sinai. While the covenant of faith is prophesied of in several
places in the Old Testament, yet it was generally hidden from the eyes
of the people until God's appointed time to reveal it unto us. Until the
time appointed of God for the covenant of faith to come, all true
worship of God took place under the law covenant. As we have already
been told, this law covenant made no one righteous, but showed us the
exceeding sinfulness of sin and showed us that we were under the
condemnation of sin and in need of a savior.
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to
bring us unto Christ." A schoolmaster is one who takes the children to
school. The law was our schoolmaster. The Israelites were given the
oracles of God and were much versed in the letter of the law. The law
showed the exceeding sinfulness of sin. It also showed the people there
was a need for a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. The
great multitude and types of animal sacrifices had a common message.
There was a great need of a perfect sacrifice that would take away the
sins of the people. The animal sacrifices could never atone for sin, but
brought sin to remembrance and testified of the need of a sacrifice that
would atone for sin. Likewise, numerous prophecies of the Old Testament
pointed to the coming of one to redeem the family of God and to
establish an everlasting kingdom. Furthermore, the types and shadows of
the Old Testament testified of the one who was to come. In this manner,
the people were brought as a schoolmaster by the law to Christ.
Furthermore, in the heart felt experiences
of God's people whether they be by natural Jews or Gentiles, after they
are born of the Spirit and God writes his laws in their hearts and
minds, they experience the condemnation of sin in their hearts and minds
under the moral laws of God. This causes them to search for the answer
of how can they get right with God. Thus, the laws written in the hearts
and minds of all of God's elect is a schoolmaster also, to lead them to
see the need of a redeemer to justify them before God.
That we might be justified by faith."
Experiential condemnation takes place in the courtroom of the heart and
mind of the child of God. Isaiah related his experience of grace to us
in the 6th Chapter of Isaiah when wrote about the condemnation he felt
in his heart: Is. 6:5 "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because
I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of
unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
After experiencing this condemnation of heart, he experienced God's
deliverance: Is. 6:6 "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a
live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the
altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched
thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." Christ
is in type that live coal from off the altar. The seraphim is in type
the gospel minister delivering the gospel message. Notice that the
lesson was not that Isaiah does something to get his sin purged, but
rather the message was that the live coal (Christ) had already purged
his sin. Upon hearing the message of the seraphim, Isaiah was satisfied
that his sin was purged. This is justification by faith. Believing in
the gospel truth of salvation by grace brings an assurance of salvation
(justification) into the heart of the believer.
"But after that faith is come, we are no
longer under a schoolmaster." Christ fulfilled the law to a jot and a tittle. Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of the law. Christ made the
atoning sacrifice for our sins. There is no longer a need for animal
sacrifices. Further, all the prophecies of his work and his kingdom are
fulfilled. There is no longer a need of a schoolmaster to bring us unto
Christ. Now we worship God in a new covenant of worship that Christ has
established for us. This is the faith that was "once delivered unto the
saints." We are not to go back under the law and bring elements of the
law into our worship or mix them with the doctrine of salvation by
grace. There is no place for the "grace, but" doctrine.
Gal. 3:26 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
The scriptures speak of us being children
of God in several different ways. First, we are children of God by
1. Heb. 2:13 "And again, I will put my
trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given
2. Eph. 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation
of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in
Second, we are the children of God by Spiritual birth:
1. 1 Pet. 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
2. John 3:3
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say
unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he
enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus
answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water
and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which
is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is
spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The
wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one
that is born of the Spirit."
Third, we are the children of God by
1. Eph. 1:5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by
Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved."
2. Rom. 8:23 "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Fourth, we are manifest children of God by faith and good works:
1. John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which
were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
of man, but of God."
2. Matt. 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children
of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the
evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
Notice that being manifest children does
not make us children, but rather it manifest what we already are. By
faith and good works, we manifest the inner spiritual nature of our
spiritual birth to the praise, honor, and glory of God. In this manner,
we are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal. 3:27-29 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put
on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ
Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise."
"For as many of you as have been baptized
into Christ have put on Christ." While there are many baptisms taught in
the scriptures, this baptism is the ceremonial baptism of water baptism.
Water baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
Christ. When someone submits to water baptism, he is saying that he
believes that Jesus died for him and that Jesus arose the third day
having justified him. Further, he is proclaiming his desire to turn from
the former lifestyle to walk in newness of life as the disciple of the
Lord Jesus Christ. He has put on Christ as his redeemer, master, and
king. He has put on Christ with the desire to be the disciple of Christ
in His kingdom.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there
is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." In the
kingdom of God, there is no distinction between a persons nationality,
his earthly position, or his sexual makeup. Thus, we do not observe one
thing if we are a Jew, or another thing if we are a Gentile. We do not
occupy one position in the church kingdom of heaven if we are a master
and another if we are a servant. We come into the kingdom of God as a
little child of God desirous to serve our redeemer, lord, and master.
All class distinctions disappear in the kingdom of God. The church is
the body of Christ and has many members. The many members make up the
body of Christ. Thus, we are one in Christ Jesus.
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye
Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Being Christ's
precedes being Abraham's seed. We are Christ's by covenant election
before the world began. The promise was made to Abraham over two
thousand years after the world was created that Abraham's seed would be
multiplied as the sand upon the sea shore, and as the dust of the earth.
Abraham's seed is defined for us as being Christ. Thus, we are first
Christ's and then we are Abraham's seed. Our inheritance is based on
covenant promise before the world began and that covenant promise was
confirmed in Abraham. Our inheritance is not based on the works of the
law. It is by promise.