Introduction: Of God’s Covenant With Abraham.
Paul continues to build his argument against the law. As we have already seen, the law cannot give the Spirit, sanctify, work miracles, or justify. The law is powerless to effect a change in our status before God. The law was never meant to change our status before God. 430 years before the law was given, all of those blessings previously mentioned; (the Spirit, sanctification, miracles, and justification), were promised to Abraham and his seed. This promise is described by Paul now as an immutable Covenant from God which cannot be annulled or altered since it has already been confirmed by God in Christ 430 years before the law was given.
I. The Immutability Of The Covenant Verses 15, 17
A. Irrevocable Document-Verse 15
Greek law of the day provided for a will that was irrevocable. The document could not be amended after being confirmed. In additon, all new documents to be confirmed had to be made sure that they would not interfere with the earlier document.
B. A Promise From God-Verses 16, 18
“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 6:11-20)
C. The Law Cannot Annul This Covenant Promise
1. Law Came Later-Verse 17
2. Covenant Confirmed In Christ
*Notice that the Covenant was confirmed by God in Christ before the law was given.*
3. Law Has Other Purpose-Verse 19
Purpose #1: To show sin to be sin.
Purpose #2: To serve as a deterrent to sin.
II. The Beneficiaries Of The Covenant
A. NOT National Israel-Verses 16, 7-9, 14
B. Abraham-Verse 16
C. Abraham’s Seed-Verse 16
1. Christ-Verse 16
2. Those In Christ By Faith-Verses 7-9, 14, 22
III. The Logic Of The Covenant
A. If By Law-Verse 18
B. Then Not By Promise
C. Given To Abraham By Promise
Conclusion: “O how I love Your law!” declared the Psalmist. The law was indeed glorious…
“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory,”
Paul has no problem giving the law the honor that it was due. But let’s read the rest of Paul’s statement.
“which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. ” (2Co 3:7-11)
No matter how glorious the law may appear to us, when brought side by side with the Gospel, the law has no apparent glory. Just as the moon appears bright at night, when the sun rises, the moon’s brightness is just a faint glow. Indeed, the moon can only reflect the brightness of the sun. Even so, the law can only reflect dimly the glory of God’s Covenant with, in, and by Christ.