Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Devotional - Promise vs Law

Good morning my friends. A fine, beautiful morning it is this morning. God is on his throne and the earth is well established, salvation is still free, and we have been granted another new day. What more could we hope for? We are continuing with Galatians 3.

I hope you take the time to read the chapter at the beginning of each blog entry as I do not have the time nor the space to record all the scripture to which I refer. Today is especially important as Paul explains the reason for the law as compared to the promise. It is important to establish that the promise to Abraham was given 430 years before the law was given. We are children of the promise and so need to understand the origins of that promise. Abraham established the type of faith that would be required in order for us to receive the promise. So why then does the law exist? Paul explains:

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. v. 19

This should be easy for my students to understand this morning. It happens both at home and at school. Sometimes the school and parents have to add rules due to the actions of the students and children. An example: in the winter students play on the large hill of snow created by the snow plow. There is some shoving; a student falls down the hill and gets injured. The school then creates rules to govern the actions of the students in relation to the snow mountain. The Israelites proved that they needed a law to govern them so they would understand that their actions were wrong. No rule or law will prevent determined people or students from doing what they want but it does help in establishing a clear consequence for their actions. God's law made it clear what the consequences were for the actions of his children. But Paul explains that this law was only in affect up to the arrival of the seed of the promise; Jesus.

It is impossible for this law to provide freedom when its intention was to bind the offenders. Paul writes:

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. v. 22

"Who believe" requires the same faith of the original receiver of the promise, Abraham. It is a belief without proof. More than a belief it requires faith which is more than belief because faith causes us to live according to the promise. We do not wait to receive it but act as if we have already received it, as Abraham did.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

The Spirit through Paul makes this clear for us today so that there will be no confusion on how we received salvation:

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. vs. 23-25

We cannot be saved from the penalty of the law by our actions. None of us is perfect enough to live the law. If we try to live the law then we will be judged and condemned by the law. The law is perfect and we are not. This is the reason the Scriptures tell us that there is only one way to be saved from God's judgment: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His pain is our gain. Let us not waste his sacrifice but instead live a life that will honour this great act of love. Oh how he loves you and me!

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