#171 “THE NEED FOR FAITH” (GALATIANS 3:15-18)
- 15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant (last will or testament), no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. God promised to bless Abraham and all his future descendants. He would later be known as the “Father of many nations” (see Gen. 13:15; 17:8; 24:7). No one annuls it—This promise could not be broken because God declared it so. And to your offspring—In the Greek, seed, could apply to an individual or a group. Paul chose to use the singular to fit his case that the “seed” does not come from Isaac (a common Jewish interpretation) but from Christ, the Anointed Messiah, who will eventually come to save his people from their sins.
- 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. Paul references Ex. 12:40-42 to demonstrate that the Hebrews were in Egypt for app. 430 years. In Ex. 12:40-42, it reads, “The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.” In attempt to clarify Paul’s dating of 430 years, MacArthur writes, “From Israel’s sojourn in Egypt (cf. Ex. 12:40) to the giving of the law at Sinai (ca. 1445 B.C.). The law actually came 645 years after the initial promise to Abraham (ca. 2090 B.C.; cf. Gen. 12:4; 21:5; 25:26; 47:9), but the promise was repeated to Isaac (Gen. 26:24) and later to Jacob (ca. 1928 B.C.; Gen. 28:15). The last known reaffirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant to Jacob occurred in Gen. 46:2–4 (ca. 1875 B.C.) just before he went to Egypt—430 years before the Mosaic law was given.” Does not annul a covenant—The covenant to Abraham foreshadowed the Law given to Moses. Therefore, God giving Moses the Law didn’t nullify the promises given to Abraham (see Gen. 17:9-14).
- 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. God’s promised inheritance to Abraham were not based on whether he could keep the Law without fail. That is impossible. Which is why God placed Abraham in a deep sleep and it was God who passed through the animal sacrifices in order that His covenant with man will be preserved throughout the centuries (see Gen. 15:12-21). Thus, the Abrahamic Covenant was unilateral and irrevocable.
- Hebrews 6:13-18, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.