Human behavior placed under the scrutiny of a law of works? That is NOT good news! Why, that is lethal to human beings and an absolute perversion of the message Paul preached. Anyone so distorting the Christian gospel, even an angel straight out of heaven, must be eternally condemned!

Why such strong words? Because law keeping can never be the source of human justification, it’s just that simple. And, by the time the reader has reached Galatians 3:18, Paul has established that proposition beyond all doubt (unless one is willing to deny the inspired authority of the Apostle Paul!)

But, believe it or not, Paul is not done. He will add to the already devastating jabs he has taken at law these equally pejorative comments:

  • Principles of law are weak and miserable, 4:9a.
  • Going back to them will enslave you all over again, 4:9b, 5:1.
  • Returning to law as a basis for your relationship with Yahweh makes Christ worthless, 5:2.
  • Returning to law means you have fallen from grace, 5:4.

So, Paul anticipates the only logical response to his tirade against law: “If the Law is so terrible, why did God give it to the human family in the first place?” Paul answers the question with five emphases:

  • It was added: the Law was added to God’s promise.
  • Because of transgressions: literally, because of overstepping.
  • Until the Seed: the Law was temporary and incomplete but completed and eliminated by Christ.
  • Ordained through angels: Deuteronomy 33:2, Psalm 68:17-18, Acts 7:38, Hebrews 2:2.
  • By a mediator [Moses]: his somewhat obscure point in these last two emphases seems to be that the Law was not something given directly by Yahweh to the human family as was the promise.

And so, Paul says, the Law was merely a temporary babysitter given by Yahweh because of overstepping on the part of human beings. Now that Christ (the Seed) has come, it is time for God’s people to grow up. Faith in Christ forms the basis for human justification as well as the basis for living out a justified life—not rule keeping!

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