Verses for the Day – Galatians 3:19-22

Note: To find out about the verses for the day, click here. And to read the other posts in the Galatians series, click here. (They appear in reverse order.)

Summer is officially over for our family. We’ve had the annual back-to-school picnic, the faculty in-service dinner for my husband, I started back to work this week, and my children are headed back to school.

I studied 1 and 2 Thessalonians this summer in a home Bible study with various women, many of whom I had never met, but who heard about the study and joined us. It’s amazing to see how God’s Word draws people together. One evening after the study, I was struck by the reality of what God can do when you are willing just to open the door to your home and invite people in.

After a wonderful summer of a slower pace, fascinating travel, and having time away from work and school, we return to routine and more structure to our days. We welcome this. My Galatians study had been put aside, but now I hope to daily study and complete this goal!

Today I pick back up with Galatians 3:19-22:

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Paul has been talking about the law and faith. What is the law? You know, the law given to Moses in the Old Testament? 

We had been looking at what it is not.

The law does not justify (make us right) before God. (3:11). (This happens by faith.)

The works of the law did not give them (or us) the Holy Spirit or accomplish the working of miracles among them (3:2, 5). (Again, this happens by the hearing of faith.)

In fact, the law actually brings a curse (3:10).

The law is not God’s covenant with Abraham and does not annul the covenant. God gave his covenant to Abraham by promise, not law (3:17).

The law is also not contrary to the promises of God (3:21), as we see in today’s text.

The law cannot give life, and righteousness does not come by the law. (3:21).

So let’s see two things, one today and one tomorrow, about what the law is:

  • Why then was the law given? (our question for today)
  • And what does the law do? (our question for tomorrow)

So why then was the law given? The law “was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” (3:19-20).

Basically, because of the sin of God’s people, the law was given through a mediator (Moses) until the Seed (Jesus) should come. The law then showed them clearly how they were to live – and how they were not able to keep this standard perfectly – and what therefore to do when they sinned. (Remember the sacrifices they made in the Old Testament?)

Ultimately, in this way, the law will then really lead them to God, to their need for a Savior because of their sin. Jesus, the Seed, would come and be the once for all sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:1-18). At his coming, the Mosaic law no longer would have the same force. More on this tomorrow.

PRAYER:Heavenly Father, thank you for a new day and a new school year. We look forward with anticipation to what you have for us in the coming year. We rejoice that you are a God who loves us and gave your Son for us so that we might know you. You have purposes and plans for our lives, even this year, even this day. We are not just meaninglessly existing. Let us live to follow you and bring you glory. Teach us this year your ways, that we might walk in your path and rely on your faithfulness. Give us undivided hearts to fear your name. Let us praise you with all of our hearts and glorify your name forever, for great is your love toward us (Psalm 86:11-13). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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