What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. Galatians 3:17-18 (NIV).
Out of all the discussions we’ve yet had in Galatians 3, these verses best capture Paul’s God-given idea in the fewest words. In doing so, it paints a beautiful picture of a how God loves us.
In our human understanding, an agreement is an agreement. In most agreements, both parties go into the agreement in good faith, intending to uphold their part. Even if we don’t like the terms, our dislike doesn’t negate or set aside the valid agreement. We are still bound by it, until something happens to change the agreement or its terms.
That all sounds so legalistic. Yet here’s a beautiful thought: God doesn’t operate that way. His law is both agreement and bond; His law is always for our best because His purposes are always for our best. And He meets us in our humanity, understanding our human need to have rules, boundaries, and laws to define our behavior. So, He gives us His law in a form we can understand, knowing we won’t be able to keep it; knowing we will misinterpret what He’s really saying, knowing we’ll want a way out. He then completes (for us) the requirements specified in those laws while also offering something supernatural that operates outside the bounds of them.
You and I can’t keep the law. No matter how we try, no matter what we do, the best we can be is a law-abiding citizen who can only hope that nobody with a microscope ever looks at our legal record too close. Somewhere, sometime there will be some kind of small law that we will break. According to God’s standard of holiness, that means we’re guilty of breaking all the law. Sure, human civil law has differences, but the intention is the same. Laws are boundaries we need and when we break one, we break into the criminal justice system.
Enter Jesus. Jesus crashes into our understanding of the law and says “not guilty” to us, standing in-between us and the police who are there to arrest us. He then says, “take me instead,” and they do, and they punish Him for things we’ve done. He does that because, long ago, He promised Abraham to bless all humanity through him. That blessing is undeserved grace, unmerited redemption. It’s more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
For further reading: Genesis 15:13, Exodus 12:40, Acts 7:6, Romans 4:14, Galatians 3:19
Lord Jesus, what You did for we underserving people is beautiful, the most amazing event in all history. All praise and thanks to You for it.
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