"How Strong Is A Promise?"
The remainder of this chapter focuses on the word “promise.” God made a promise and the Law didn’t change the promise. What is the promise? God blesses me through faith.
How Strong Is A Promise?
A. There are some people who get frustrated when reading their Bible. They look at the division that we call the OT and the NT and see two different Bibles with two different Gods. In the OT they see a God who was dictatorial, demanding, and harsh. Often punishing with death those who did not obey Him. They see Him as rule driven and how those 600 plus laws given through Moses enslaved a nation. Then they come the NT and read about a different God. This is the God of love who through rules out the window and loved people who others wanted to kill. This God was nice this is the God they want – not that OT God whose mean.
B. Did God change somewhere along the line? Did God get nicer as the got older in human years? Did he change His plan and mind about how to treat mankind and what His goal was for His creation? The answer is, “No!”
C. From the creation of all that was good, God wanted His creation to be in relationship with Him. When His creation chose to break that relationship, God – who knew that would happen – had already planned a way for His creation to continue the goal of living forever in a spirit world with Him. From the curse given to Satan in the form of a serpent, there would come from woman an offspring that would bruise or crush the head of the serpent (Satan), but God knew that in that process Satan would inflict harm upon that offspring (he would bruise his heal).
D. When God call Abram, He made a promise to him. A promise that is directly related to what I have been sharing with you. (READ Gen. 12:1-3) The end result of the promise is that through Abram all the nations of the earth would be blessed. A promise of one yet to come who would heal the nations. When Isaac was born, he was not the chosen one who would bless all the nations. Isaac was not the promise, but a part of the seed from whom the promise would come. So we come to our text (READ Gal. 3:15-16).
I. How Strong Is A Promise?
A. In Paul’s day a covenant was binding and could not be annulled or changed once it was ratified. While we can make some changes, for the most part, the idea is that when a legal agreement is made, little can be done to change it. When we moved here we bought our first home. It was an exciting time and a scary time. It was scary because up to that point the longest contract I had signed with another person was for 10 years – it was my student loan. But this time, I was signing a contract for 30 years. According to that original contract I did not have the right to simply say to the bank that I don’t want to pay interest on my mortgage. They don’t have the right to tell me I have to pay it off in 20 years. We made a legal, binding contract.
B. Paul uses a contract as his illustration. The contract was that God made a promise to Abraham. That promise would be fulfilled in the seed or offspring of Abraham. We know the promise, because we read it, “that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.” But the Jews decided that what it meant was they were the blessed, and the only blessed. Paul says, you can’t change the covenant. You don’t have the power to do that. It was clear that promise would come from the seed of Abraham and that seed that blessed all nations was Jesus, not Isaac. The promise is binding, and Paul is “standing on the promise of God.”
II. Why The Law?
A. Paul continues (Gal. 3:17-18). The Law was given 430 years later, after the promise and the Law did not annul the covenant so as to make the promise void.
B. Paul looks that promise and the Law and answers the legal question that the Jewish teachers were asking. (READ Gal. 3:19a) The Law was not Plan A and Jesus as Plan B like many people want to think. The God of the OT is the same God of the NT. He calls people the same way and to live by the same faith. The Law was given because sin became our “go to choice” as humans. It would remain in effect until the promise came: Jesus.
C. Paul knows there will be another question that has to be answers so he tackles it (READ Gal. 3:21-25). The point was, and is, simple. The Law was given as our guardian, our “babysitter,” until Jesus came. It was how we learned how to behave, how to live, how to see the holiness of God and the desire He has for us to live transformed lives. Yet the Law kept us bound because the promise, Jesus, is all that could set us free.
A. Look at this sign. It not particularly impressive. It simply is a statement, “No fishing from the bridge.” What you don’t know is where this sign is located. (next slide) It is located on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado. It is 1260 feet long and 18 feet wide. The sign” No fishing from the bridge” is placed where the bridge is about 1000 feet above the Arkansas River. Why would you put that sign there? Isn’t it obvious that you can’t fish from there?
B. Why does Paul have to remind people that Law was not the promise of salvation? Wasn’t it obvious that Law could not save? Yet sometimes we need a sign to remind us of the obvious. In Galatians, the sign reads, “Only Jesus Saves.” He is the promise that all the nations of the earth will be blessed. READ Gal. 3:26-29.
C. You are that heir according the promise. Now go live it. Live like you are saved. Live like Jesus has set you free. Live as a child of God. If we can encourage you to live out your faith, then come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister