Paul has been making argument for his friends in Galatia concerning God’s promise to bless the entire world, not just Jews, through Abraham’s spiritual descendants. In this verse, he analogizes God’s covenant to unchangeable human contracts that we can rely on.
There are some contracts, some covenants, you shouldn’t or can’t break. Some homeowners association covenants are unchangeable. Some zoning regulations and covenants can’t be changed. Marriage covenants are supposed to be unbreakable, even though the curse of divorce too often shades and obscures them now. Our US Constitution is unbreakable; our ancestors fought a war to establish this.
Some agreements are so serious, so important, that they can’t be set aside, or at least easily, because to do so threatens so much more. And there are some covenants that are so desirable that nobody in their right mind would want to abandon them.
That’s how it is with God’s promise of redemption; that’s the point Paul is making. What God offers us through faith in Jesus is so good, so permanent, so serious yet wonderful, and forever, that we would be crazy to let go of it. Or to change it, not that we could. Indeed, when God promises something, He means it. And He always keeps it, even when we don’t recognize what that looks like. What God promises, what God wills, cannot be changed or negated by man or spirit.
Centuries ago, God spoke to Abraham and promised him that he, already a very old man, would have a son, and that his descendants would count as many as the stars. Abraham’s family and friends, even his wife, scoffed at this, thinking Abraham and his equally elderly wife were far beyond the childbearing years. Yet God used their advanced age – and then had them wait another generation – in order to prove to scoffers and skeptics that nothing was impossible for Him. His promise was golden, and His covenant would be unbreakable by mere men.
I’m thankful for that; how about you?
I’m thankful that there’s something beyond myself that I can count on. I’m thankful that God’s promises are reliable, that His words are always honest, true, and permanent. Even in our so-called modern world, we need permanence more than ever. Mankind’s tendency is to change, to always seek change so much that change itself almost becomes a constant. Yet it is God’s word that never changes. He took many, many years to prove out His promise to Abraham, and it’s still being proven to us today. Rely on that.
For further reading: Romans 7:1, Galatians 3:16
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your reliable word. For Your steadfast promises. For Your permanent ways.
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