"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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    The Gospel According to Galatians, Pt. 8 by C. R. Biggs


    In chapter 3 of Galatians, we approach Paul’s teaching of Law and Gospel and their biblical relationship one to the other.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of law and grace: “It is only when one submits to the law that one can speak of grace…I don’t think it is Christian to want to get to the New Testament too soon and too directly.” Letters and Papers from Prison, pg. 50.

    One theologian remarked: “Satan would have us to prove ourselves holy by the law, which God gave to prove us sinners.” (Andrew Jukes, quoted in Stott’s Commentary on Galatians, pg. 90).

    Summary statement of our study today in Galatians 3: “If you are Christ’s (that is, if you belong to Christ by faith and are in union with him), then you are indeed Abraham’s offspring (seed) too! Therefore, you are heirs according to the promises made to Abraham through Christ Jesus whether you are Jew or Gentile, Slave or Free, Male or Female!

    By this time in our Galatians study, I hope you can more passionately sing the great hymn ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing’:

    “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be,

    Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to thee.

    Prone to wander- -Lord, I feel it- -prone to leave the God I love:

    Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

    The Judaizers had cast a wicked spell on the Churches of Galatia (Gal. 3:1). The Apostle Paul is surprised and astonished that they so quickly are turning from the gospel of promise fulfilled in Christ back to the Law that condemns (Gal. 3:1-4; cf. 1:6-9).

    The Apostle Paul says that it was before the very eyes of the Galatians that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified (Gal. 3:1-2). This is a fascinating reference to preaching of the gospel of Christ crucified. The Galatians would not have seen “before their own eyes” Christ crucified, but they saw it with eyes of faith, placarded as Paul had preached to them the truth of Christ crucified for sinners. Unfortunately and sadly, it was from Christ they were turning away to another gospel (cf. Gal. 1:6).

    Because the Judaizers were teaching the Gentile Christians at Galatians that they must submit to Mosaic Law and be circumcised before they could be considered “fully Christian”, Paul sets up a pedagogical contrast between Law and Gospel in chapter 3 of Galatians in order to show the necessity of believing the gospel rather than attempting to do the works of the law.

    The Judaizers were teaching the Churches of Galatia that a person had to be “sent to Moses” and to be obedient to him before they could be “sent to Jesus Christ.”

    Paul is responding adamantly that it is true that sinners need to be sent to Moses, but not in order to cooperate with the Law, or to attempt to keep it. Rather, sinners should be sent to Moses in order to be condemned by the demands of the Law, so that they will desperately run to Jesus Christ for help!

    Paul responds to the Judaizers by saying that while Mosaic Law of circumcision was once the “way of the Spirit” at a certain time in redemptive-history (it was a sign that pointed forward to Christ’s circumcision on the cross, see Col. 2:11-14), now that Christ has come, the Mosaic ceremonial law is the “way of the flesh”- -and therefore no gospel at all (“of the flesh” literally and spiritually). Now it is baptism that is the sign of the New Covenant (Gal. 3:27), and the old way of doing things must be put away now that the new has come.

    Paul is saying something similar in Galatians 3 to Jesus’ teaching that you cannot put old wine in new wineskins - -they will burst!

    Paul explains to the Churches of Galatia that the promises were given to Abraham by faith, and that all who want to share in Abraham’s “faith-inheritance” are to be believers, whether Jew or Gentile, who believe in God’s promises as Abraham believed.

    In Christ Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but one Church, one people united to the heir of Abraham, his “Seed”, who are the sons and heirs of all that Christ, Abraham’s “Seed” accomplished in his life, death, resurrection and ascension.

    In order to better understand Paul’s contrast between Law and Gospel, let us trace the history of the gospel promises throughout redemptive-history.

    History of the Gospel Promises

    We should understand that both Law and Gospel are revealed in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2). God essentially said to Adam and Eve: “Don’t do this” but “believe me and my commands;” Adam and Eve were taught to be obedient to God’s commands and God had graciously made himself, and his commands known to them by his grace.

    In the Garden however, there was a failure to do the Law, or obey it, and Adam and Eve are condemned by it and sentenced to a life of sin and misery outside the Garden, away from the special presence of God. Yet God in his grace announces the “first gospel” sermon.

    Sometimes called the Protoevangelion or “First Gospel Announcement” in the Garden (Gen. 3:15), this was the beginning of God’s revelation of the gospel after the fall (along with God clothing Adam and Eve with coverings made by him from a sacrificed animal). The hope of this gospel promise was that the Seed of the woman would one day crush the head of the serpent:

    ESV Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

    God declares an ongoing war against the seed of the Serpent, and through the Seed of the Woman, God promises to redeem his people from their sins, thus the reason it is the “protogospel” or protoevangelion.

    Later in redemptive-history, God makes gospel Promises to Abraham (Gen. 12; 15; 17). The promises that God makes to Abraham are based solely on his initiating grace and favor that he chose to show Abraham (Remember, Abraham was a pagan from Ur of the Chaldees, and believed while he was still uncircumcised, cf. Joshua 24:1-4). Paul makes this point in Romans 4:8-12 that sheds more light on this passage:

    “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

    In our passage in Galatians 3 (as well as in Romans 4) Paul is concerned to show that the gospel was given in the Old Testament. Paul is confronting the Judaizers, and those of the false religion of Judaism, who were denying that the true gospel was justification by faith alone in Christ alone (see previous studies).

    Paul’s emphasis is on the fact that in the Old Testament, “Father Abraham” was credited as righteous based on his faith alone, and that this has always been the true and only gospel- -believing God’s promises by faith.

    Abraham believed God, or his gospel “good news” and was considered righteous (Galatians 3:5-8).

    ESV Galatians 3:5-8: Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith- 6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed."

    Paul explains that justification by faith alone was the gospel in the Old Testament teaching, and this is exemplified from the life of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful. Paul reminds them of the universal, global, extensive promise to Abraham by faith: “In you shall all nations be blessed.” God always had covenantal plans to justify the Gentiles by faith with the believing Jews.

    The truth revealed here in Galatians 3 is that all those who are truly Abraham’s children (whether Jew or Gentile) are those who believe God’s promises to Abraham’s Seed, who is Christ (Galatians 3:9).

    So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. - Galatians 3:9

    In other words, Paul is saying it is not your circumcision or ethnicity that matters any more, but a new creation in Christ Jesus alone. Paul says elsewhere in Galatians:

    And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. - Galatians 3:29

    “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”- Galatians 6:14-16

    Paul goes on to add in Galatians 3 that the promises to Abraham were not made to many (plural), but to one (singular) who is Christ. God made the Gospel Promises to Abraham and “His Seed” (Gal. 3:16):

    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.

    Paul continues his exposition of the Law of God, and shows that the Law did not make the promises to Abraham and “to his Seed” void or vetoed. The truth is that the Law came after the promises and the promises were ultimately made to Christ, the “Seed of Abraham” (singular).

    The gospel good news that Paul is communicating to the Churches of Galatia is that the promise was not to Abraham’s children according to the flesh, but to Christ, the “Seed of Abraham” and those who believe in him by faith, whether Jew or Gentile.

    In Christ Jesus, who is both the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of Abraham, all who believe are heirs along with Christ whether they are slaves or free (social position), male or female (gender), or Jew or Gentile (ethnicity), but all are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:29).

    Over 400 years after the Gospel Promises are made to Abraham and his Seed, the Mosaic Law is given to the Israelites in Exodus 20 after the Exodus from Egypt.

    “Why then the Law?”

    If you’re following Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:1-18, then you are probably asking yourself: “If promise was already given to Abraham and “his Seed”…

    “Why then the Law?” (if the promises were made to Abraham and to “his Seed”). Galatians 3:19-22:

    ESV Galatians 3:19-22: Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

    Why then the law?

    Indeed. If promises were given to Abraham, why did God reveal the Law to Moses after Abraham? If we are following Paul’s argument, we would now be asking, “Why the Law then?” What was the purpose of the Law to Israel, if all was based on God’s promises to Abraham given over 400 years earlier?

    Paul goes on to reply that the Law was added because of transgressions, until the Seed-offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

    Paul goes on to ask in Galatians 3:21-22:

    21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

    The Law is not contrary to the promises of God to Abraham Paul is arguing, but the Law had no Holy-Spiritual power to impart life to sinners; Law could only condemn sinners. The Law’s purpose was not given as a way of salvation, but as a way of condemnation, leading one to look to God’s Gospel Promises to Abraham by faith alone.

    The Scripture (Law) was like a sentence of imprisonment Paul is saying here (condemnation: opposite of justification as we learned in previous studies), and so it was only by faith in Jesus Christ that we could be set free from the Law and its holy demands upon us. As Paul summarizes similarly elsewhere:

    ESV Romans 8:1-4: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    The Mosaic Law was to be kept by the Israelites in order for the temporal promises to be realized and continued for ethnic Israel, but they constantly failed to keep God’s Law given through Moses. Paul quotes Moses and the Prophets to show that the Law and the Prophets testify that a person could not live by or according to the Law because of sin.

    Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5, Habakkuk 2:4, Deuteronomy 27:26-28:1:

    ESV Deuteronomy 27:26-28:1: "'Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'28:1 "And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

    ESV Leviticus 18:5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

    ESV Habakkuk 2:4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

    In Galatians 3:10-13, Paul quotes these Old Testament passages to show that attempting to live by the law was to be condemned and cursed before God’s holy throne. No sinner could live by the Law, so the Law was to point us forward to Christ, the Seed of Abraham, the only hope for both Jew and Gentile!

    ESV Galatians 3:10-12: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."

    Paul is saying that the way of law and the way of faith are mutually exclusive ways of seeking one’s salvation.

    In contrast to the Mosaic Law that condemns, the Gospel is this:

    Galatians 3:13-14: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"- 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

    The Law brings a curse of condemnation and death on sinners; the gospel promise brings life, justification, and blessing to those who believe in Christ crucified: he was cursed, condemned and died on the cross- -this was what was publicly placarded through the preaching of the gospel to the Galatian Churches (cf. Gal. 3:1b) !

    “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.”

    Christ redeemed us by becoming a curse for us on the “tree” or on the cross by taking God’s just wrath for sinners upon himself in our place. This is substitutionary atonement made for those whom Jesus loves.

    In order for us to better grasp the Law in Paul’s theology and its relationship to the Gospel Promises, let us look at a few texts from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Sometimes the Law is misunderstood in the writings of Paul, so it is important to take a look at what Paul has to say also in Romans.

    The Law in Paul’s Theology

    A Look at Paul’s Doctrine of the Law in Romans: Rom. 3:20, 31; 4:15; 5:13, 20; 6:14; 7:6-12.

    Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    Romans 4:15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

    Romans 5:13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

    Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

    Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

    Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    Here is what we learn clearly from Paul’s teaching on the Law:

    The Law is good, righteous and holy (a reflection of God’s character)- Rom. 7:6-12.

    The Law is a Revelation of God’s Requirements for Man

    Through the Law comes a knowledge of our sin (Romans 3:20).

    We are to uphold the Law (Romans 3:31).

    The Law reveals sin in all its sinfulness (Romans 4:15; 5:13,20).

    The Law is Impossible for Sinners to Fulfill.

    Therefore, the Law condemns (Romans 3:19ff)
    Therefore, the Law points us away from ourselves to a substitute (Romans 3:22-24; 8:3-4)
    Therefore, the Law is a tutor, guardian, schoolmaster (teacher/ Gk. paidagwgo.j) (Galatians 3:19-24)

    In contrast to the Law, the Gospel good news is that the Law is Fulfilled “in Christ” for sinners who believe as Abraham believed many years. The only hope for both Jew and Gentile is found in Christ’s law-keeping or righteousness alone!

    We should remember that every human being who is ever born is in one of two categories: “under law” and condemned (“in Adam”), or “in Christ” and justified (“in Christ”)- -this is all whether you are Jew or Gentile (cf. Adam and Christ in Romans 5:12-21).

    What does it mean to be living, or being “Under Law” according to the Apostle Paul:

    a. “Under Law” is a state of “being in the flesh” or condemned in Adam (Romans 5:12-21).

    b. “Under Law” is “fleshly” as Paul contrasts the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians 3:

    ESV Galatians 3:1-4: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain- if indeed it was in vain?

    Important to notice the contrast between flesh = Law and Spirit = Faith in Galatians 3:1-4. At one time in redemptive-history Law served its important purpose as Paul explains in Galatians 3:19-24, but now that Christ has come and righteousness has been fully and clearly revealed in him, trying to keep the Law, and failing to understand the condemnation of God’s holy Law, is to live to the flesh, not the Spirit by faith (cf. 2 Corinthians 3-4: Spirit written on human hearts and received by faith, not like the Law written on external tablets of stone).

    Although the Law was a good thing in that it was a righteous revelation of God and his holiness, if it was used in order to try and gain the righteousness of God apart from his promises then it was “flesh”.

    In other words there is a contrast between Gospel and Law, Spirit and Flesh. The Gospel or Work of the Spirit is believing by faith in God’s promises through a realization that the Law condemns the sinner, and ultimately looking to God’s promises fulfilled in Christ.

    Law or Work of the Flesh is having a misplaced faith in one’s striving to keep the law, nullifying God’s promises and the ultimate realization of those promises in Christ Jesus! (cf. Galatians 2:21).

    c. “Under Law” is a state of slavery or imprisonment because the Law is powerless to change us (Gk. evfrourou,meqa sugkleio,menoi/ “held captive” “imprisoned” or “guarded” as a prisoner).

    ESV Galatians 3:23-24: Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

    Paul calls the Law a tutor, guardian, or teacher until Christ would come in the fullness of the times (Gal. 3:24-25). Part of the Law’s “tutoring” aspect that we do not always appreciate and understand clearly is that Israel’s temporal blessings in the land were meant to show forth God’s eternal blessings of dwelling in the midst of his people, both Jew and Gentile for eternity (not merely in the land, but in the New Heavens and the New Earth).

    Israel was to live by faith in the land, looking to God’s promises to Abraham in order to attain and inherit the entire world, the New Heavens and New Earth, not merely the land here on this terrestrial ball. The land and other types in the Old Testament were to point to the greater reality of eternity in the presence of God!

    Israel never kept the Law, and were constantly stiff-necked lawbreakers who needed a law-keeper on their behalf (…and this was Christ! Cf. Matt. 5:17-20, Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.) Only by faith in Christ alone, the Seed of Abraham, could Israel inherit the promises made to Abraham, and inherit the earth. As Jesus says, “the meek shall inherit the earth.”

    d. “Under Law” is a state of bondage for those who are condemned and cannot keep it as God requires (perfection!).

    John Stott in his commentary on Galatians writes: “[The Law’s] purpose was to shut us up in prison until Christ should set us free, or to put us under tutors until Christ should make us sons.” –pg. 98.

    Being and Living “in Christ”

    But Being “In Christ” is the opposite of being “under law”! This is the Gospel hope! If you are a believer by faith alone in Christ alone, you are not “under law” but “in Christ”! This is our only hope of right standing before God- -our only hope of salvation!

    Paul says that all who believe are no longer imprisoned slaves, but sons, united to Christ by faith:

    ESV Galatians 3:25-26: But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    Being “in Christ” or united to Jesus Christ is a state of being one, or unified whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.

    Paul is teaching in Galatians 3:23-29 that now that “faith has come” (that redemptive-historical objective faith in Christ has come), we are no longer under a guardian, but we are full adopted sons or children of the living God through faith (alone!).

    Those who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. –Galatians 3:27

    Because of this, there is neither social identity (slave nor free) that should be emphasized over our identity in union with Christ, nor sexual identity (male or female) that should be emphasized over our identity in union with Jesus Christ, nor ethnic identity (Jew or Gentile) that should be emphasized over our ultimate identity in union with Jesus Christ.

    Being “in Christ” is a state of “being in the Spirit” or “Spirit filled” and of having the Law written on the heart.

    Being “in Christ” the Law goes from being our “Guard” to our “Guide”. In Christ” the Law is no longer a prison guard, imprisoning us all to condemnation and God’s wrath, rather the Law is a friend and guide for the Christian “in Christ”

    The Gospel as Fulfillment of Law

    As Christians, we must be reminded daily of the “Badness” of the Law for the Christian as a way of salvation or cooperating with God. The Law is God’s revelation of his righteousness and perfect will to sinners so that they might get out of themselves, repent of their best works, and turn to Christ alone for righteousness.

    One theologian remarked: “Satan would have us to prove ourselves holy by the law, which God gave to prove us sinners.” (Andrew Jukes, quoted in Stott’s Commentary on Galatians, pg. 90).

    Luther in his commentary on Galatians wrote: “The principal point…of the law…is to make man not better but worse; that is to say, it shows unto men their sin, that by the knowledge thereof they may be humbled, terrified, bruised and broken, and by this means may be driven to seek grace, and so to come to the blessed Seed.”- Luther, pg. 316.

    The “Goodness” of the Law for the Christian is that it no longer condemns, but is written on our hearts and in our redemption “in Christ” we are learning to keep the Law, being obedient by faith to God’s commands. As stated earlier, the “goodness” of the Law for the Christian is that we have Holy-Spirit power to uphold the law of God (although imperfectly, and we still do not in any way look to this obedience as meritorious).

    Only in Christ’s perfect law-keeping do we find life! In Christ’s sending forth his Spirit into our hearts, we are being changed into his likeness day by day. Although this can be an extremely slow process, it is one in which God is working in us to do his Law, or that which is good and pleasing to him (cf. Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; Eph. 2:10).

    Never forget that the Gospel is about Christ and His Law-Keeping. Even though we do have the Spirit and the Law written on our hearts, our only hope is still in Christ’s law keeping for us. The more you grow in sanctification or Christ-likeness and understand the deep and perfect demands of the Law (Matt. 5:48), the more you should be driven into the arms of Christ, our loving and merciful Savior.

    Christians need to hear the demands of the Law as a guide for living, and they need to continually hear the Gospel Promises of God in Christ for their failure to keep the law in word, thought and deed as they should. Christians will still struggle as Romans 7 says wanting to do good, but sometimes doing evil. Our hope, as was the Apostle Paul’s in Romans 7:25: “Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our Lord!”

    Remember that our assurance of salvation is found in Christ alone- -in his perfect law-keeping for us. Remember that God sees us as if we have never sinned, and as if we have kept the law perfectly, moment by moment, day by day, in word, thought and deed because we are “in Christ”. This is not of our own doing- -it is the work of God’s grace for us in Jesus Christ!

    Those who do not know Christ need to hear Law and the perfect demands of the Law in order to understand the sweet Gospel Promises of God! As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in his quotation earlier, we must understand the demands of the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament before we go to the New Testament.

    As one of my former pastor-teachers used to say: a sinner needs to realize he is lost by the Law before he will ever be found by the gospel! As the hymn ‘Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched’ puts it so eloquently:

    “Not the righteous, not the righteous, not the righteous;

    But sinners Jesus came to call…”

    Let us strive to make know the Law and the Gospel, and look forward to the day when God will dwell with man in a world without sin and misery in the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is the eternal destination and hope of fellowship with God, and the cessation of any tension between Law and Gospel!

    We shall end our study this week with one of the Church’s richest hymns and gospel treasures from Horatio Bonar (1857):

    Thy pains, not mine, O Christ,

    Upon the shameful tree,

    Have paid the Law’s full price

    And purchased peace for me.

    To whom, save thee, who canst alone for sin atone, Lord, shall I flee?

    Thy cross, not mine, O Christ,

    Has borne the awful load of sins

    That none in heav’n or earth could bear but God.

    To whom, save thee, who canst alone for sin atone, Lord, shall I flee?

    Thy righteousness, O Christ,

    Alone can cover me.

    No righteousness avails save that which is of thee.

    To whom, save thee, who canst alone for sin atone, Lord, shall I flee?


    Sermons available at

    © 2006-2007 A Place for Truth.

    Bibliography for Further Reading

    Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free.

    _________. The Epistle to the Galatians (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

    Calvin, John. The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, trans. T. H. L. Parker.

    Fung, Ronald Y. K. The Epistle to the Galatians (New International Commentary on the New Testament-New Edition).

    Gaffin, Richard B., Jr. By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation.

    Hendriksen, William. Galatians and Ephesians (Baker New Testament Commentary).

    Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians.

    Lightfoot, J. B. The Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians (A Zondervan Commentary)

    Luther, Martin. A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.

    Machen, J. Gresham. Notes on Galatians (Edited by John Skilton).

    Morris, Leon. Galatians: Paul’s Charter of Christian Freedom.

    Ridderbos, H. N. The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia. (New International Commentary on the New Testament).

    ________. Paul: An Outline of His Theology.

    Seifrid, Mark A. Christ, our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification. (NSBT: New Studies in Biblical Theology).

    Stott, John R. W. The Message of Galatians (The Bible Speaks Today)

    Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 20: On Christian Liberty.

    Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Volume VIII: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (edited by Mark J. Edwards).

    Posted by Charles Biggs on November 8, 2006 12:51 PM


    This is outstanding.

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