GRACE: NOT BY MAN
The Law and the Promises of God – Galations 3:21-29
Verse 21 – Since the gift of God is “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-10), what is the purpose of the law (v. 20)? Does the law nullify the promise? Is law and faith in competition?
The purpose of the law was never to save, but to guard (“kept under the law” v. 23), and to tutor (“our schoolmaster” v. 24). If righteousness could have come by the law, then there would be no need of the promise or grace. To work to earn God’s favor nullifys grace.
Verse 22 – It is true, according to Scripture, that, all have sinned and come short of God’s glory (Ps. 14:3; 53:3; Rom. 3:23). The Scripture of which Paul speaks is the Old Testament, including the Law, the Prophets, History, Poetry; all which testify of Jesus Christ and His grace.
“3:22 The OT showed that all men are sinners, including those under the law. It was necessary that man should be thus thoroughly convinced of sin, in order that the promise of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. The key words in verse 22 are faith, given, and believe. There is no mention of “doing” or “law-keeping.”” BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY
Verses 23-24 – The law is like a prison guard; “we were kept under the law” and thus we are condemned by the law. However, it was with the expectation of faith that was to be revealed.
The law is also like a “schoolmaster” that was to bring us to Christ. The absence of law concerning a wrong does not make it any less wrong, or any more right. Law only informs of the wrong, but can do nothing to right the wrong done. Only grace through faith can make one right before God.
In these verses on faith Paul is not negating the faith of Abraham, but rather showing the fulfillment of the Old Testament faith.
Verses 25-26 – The “Justifying faith” that comes through Jesus takes us from under the “schoolmaster”, and makes us full blown “children of God by Christ Jesus”.
Verses 27-29 – Those who are in the faith of Christ Jesus “have put on Christ”. Those who are in the faith have been baptized into the body of Christ; that is, immersed, washed, cleansed, overwhelmed. The person who is in Christ has first put off the garments of sin; and put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, thus putting on Christ.
The declaration of verse 28 is not a disclaimer against race or gender, or one’s situation in life, but rather stating the equality of all who are in Christ.
When we have the faith in Christ that means we are heir of the promise of Abraham, thus Abraham’s seed.
See Romans 9:6-12
-Tim A. Blankenship