Galatians 3:19-22
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19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. - Galatians 3:19


Why the Law then?” Paul is asking a question to himself on his audiences behalf, as if he expected such a question. After giving a discourse on how salvation and justification is inherited based on a promise and not inherited based on the law, it's as if Paul can hear his audience ask why did we receive the law at all then, what benefit do we derive from it? “because of transgressions” Paul answers.


An employer who owned an I.T. firm hired two employees. The first employee, out of his heart's desire to do good for the boss and serve the customer, dressed professionally as to represent the firm well when going out into the public and also to instill confidence in the customer. This greatly pleased the employer. The second employee did not have it in his heart to want to do good for the boss, nor did he regard the customer, but was simply there to get a paycheck. This employee did not concern himself with what the employer or customer might want, and dressed in a way that reflected poorly on him and the firm. This greatly displeased the employer. Therefore, the employer, who's desire was the benefit his customers and ultimately his firm, because of the second employee, enacted a dress code with a set of rules on what employees are allowed and not allowed to wear and violation of those rules would result in penalties and/or termination.


Question: Why did the employer make the rules? Because the actions of the second employee were contrary to the good of the firm and the firm's customers and he desired to correct that to everyone's benefit.


Question: Which employee do you think was impacted greater by the new dress code? Of course the second employee. Why? Because the new dress code pointed out his shortcomings as to what the boss required. The first employee however was not impacted because he was already doing what was right in the sight of his boss.


8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, - 1 Timothy 1:8-10


realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person” Similarly to the employer, God enacted the law not for those who are already doing what's right in His sight but for those who are doing what is evil in the eyes of God.


In our employer parable the first employee, without the rules, because of what was in his heart, was already doing the things the rules required even having never known what the rules were.


For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, - Romans 2:14-15


I tried to illustrate the purpose of God's law with something we can relate to, being the employer parable, to better understand the intent of the law given us from God. The old testament law contains over 600 commandments. However all of these commandments can be fulfilled with the keeping of the greatest of commandments as explained by Jesus.


36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40


On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”. If you love God and your neighbor as described in the above verses, even though you may not know all 600+ laws you would be keeping them even though you did not know the specifics. Why? Because you wanted to. Because it's in accordance with what the love you had in you demanded.


15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. - John 14:15


That is the formula. Your love for God will bring about in you obedience to God's commandments. Funny how some of us read this and feel like we need to keep God's commandments to show Him we love Him. That is not what He is saying here, this is an evidential verse pointing out that the second part will result because of the first part. In this case, your keeping of God's commandments will give evidence that you love God. It's not the other way around as if we need to make up the evidence as if we can somehow fool God as to what is in our heart.


The second part of Galatians 3:19 states “until the seed would come to whom the promise has been made.” Jesus, who is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham has also brought us the new system of righteousness by faith in Christ (Gal. 3:25). This is the new wine in new wine skins as we discussed at the beginning Galatians chapter 3.


20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. - Galatians 3:20


A mediator by definition is a person who works on behalf of all sides of a contract representing all parties involved. They act as a go-between. In regards to the giving of the law, Moses was a mediator between the people of Israel and God. In this mediation came the Law. On the contrary to a mediator, as Paul states,“God is only one” The promises of God to Abraham and His seed did not go through mediation. That means that nothing can negate it (Gal. 3:17). God's promises are entirely one sided, His. This means they are unconditional, not depending on anything with man but solely on the authority of God (Rom. 9:16). This is actually a good thing as the promises of God to Abraham and his seed mean a blessing for those who would receive them by means of his Seed, that is Christ. These blessings are also not dependent on man's works but entirely on the promises of God. Salvation from God is not swayed by whether we work or we do not work (1 Cor. 3:7), but it is received by God who credits it to us on the basis of faith (Rom. 4:5).


Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. - Galatians 3:21


Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!” The law was not revoked when Christ came, on the contrary, the law was actually working even beforehand to lead people to Christ. One intent of the law was to convince people of their need for Christ (Gal. 3:24) and to persuade them to believe in Him who can actually impart life. Christ Himself stated that His coming was not for the purpose of abolishing the law but rather fulfilling the requirements of the law (Matt. 5:17) which He has done on our behalf (Rom. 8:4, 1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21).


For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on the law.” Similar to the employer who enacted rules regarding a dress code in the workplace, the law was our rules regarding our actions in life. The employer made known the dress code required of the employees and made known the consequences for failing to meet those requirements. Likewise, the law points out what is required of us in regard to our actions in life and makes known the consequences of failing to meet those requirements (Gal. 3:10). The law was never given with the intention to impart life, as Paul puts it (Gal. 3:21). Similarly the first employee, while he was a good employee, was still just an employee. Because the employee did well it did not earn his way into the bosse's family, and certainly not as one of his children. The employee, even when he does all that is required of him is still an employee (Luke 17:10). His status doesn't change. If an employee were going to become adopted into the family it would be done so entirely as a gift, not as something earned. This is what God does for us!


5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. - Ephesians 1:5-6


Why does God do it? Not because we've somehow earned it but “according to the kind intention of His will”. God does it because God wants too! “He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” For the law one works per what is required of them. For sonship in the Beloved God gives freely! Notice nowhere in these verses do works come in to play. God's adoption of us depends entirely on His character. While we can do nothing to earn it, for those in the Beloved (Christ) we can also do nothing to lose it because it is not based on the law, it is not based on works, but it is entirely based on God who has mercy.


16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. - Romans 9:16


Salvation is 100% dependent on God and God is 100% for you (2 Peter 3:9, Isa. 30:18, Rom. 8:31-32).


22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. - Galatians 3:22


Scripture (the law) has jailed everyone who is under sin (which is all of us [Rom. 3:23]). Why? “so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” In this verse lies the intent of the law. If we had not been imprisoned then what would compel us to seek Him who sets the captives free (John 8:32, Luke 4:18, Gal. 5:1).


The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
- Luke 4:18



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