The Seed And The Promise

Galatians 3:19-23

The promised Seed is Christ. The promise is the promise God the Father made to God the Son before the world began. That promise was the promised gift of grace, salvation, and eternal life by the Holy Spirit to his elect. It was a promise made on condition of Christ’s obedience and death, upon condition of righteousness established by him for us as our Substitute. The law given at Mt. Sinai was given to Israel in the hands of a mediator who was but a man. But the promise was given to Christ our Mediator from God our Father; and these two are one God. Look at the Scriptures. That is the meaning of Paul’s words in verse 20 - "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one." God the Father promised eternal life to his elect before the world began. But he made the promise to Christ his Son as our covenant Surety and Mediator (Tit. 1:1-3). We who believe have obtained this promise of eternal life in Christ because the Lord Jesus Christ purchased it and effectually obtained it for the seed of Abraham, Abraham’s true, spiritual seed (Gal. 3:13-14; Heb. 9:12; 2:16).

Galatians 3:21  "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." What a plain statement this is. It is utterly irrefutable. The law which was given by Moses cannot be contrary to the promise of eternal life to God’s elect before the world began. It is monstrously absurd to imagine that God would sacrifice his darling Son for nothing! If righteousness could be obtained by us doing something, God would never have sacrificed his Son at Calvary to bring in righteousness for us.

Galatians 3:22-23  "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." The law of God was not given to make us righteous, but to shut us up to Christ. Being set forth in Holy Scripture, it concludes all under sin. We are all under sin by birth, by nature, by choice, and by practice (Rom. 3:19-23). We lived in spiritual death in sin’s corruption,  under sin’s dominion, under its curse, with its penalty hanging over our heads.

Here’s the reason -- “That the promise (the same promise he has been discussing throughout the chapter, the promise of grace, salvation, and eternal life) by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Grace, salvation, and eternal life come to chosen sinners upon the ground of and because of the faith, faithfulness, or faithful obedience of Jesus Christ as our Substitute. It was Christ who alone brought in everlasting righteousness for us. It was Christ alone who redeemed us. It was Christ alone who put away our sins. It was Christ alone who made atonement for us by satisfying the justice of God with his own blood. It was Christ alone who, with his own blood, obtained eternal life for us! Our faith in him has no part in the accomplishment of these things!

What does faith do? Not a blessed thing! Faith receives! Believing God, we have grace, salvation, and eternal life by God the Holy Spirit, because God the Father promised it and God the Son purchased it! “Salvation is of the Lord!” Before faith came, that is before we came to trust Christ, before God gave us faith in his Son, “we were kept under the law.” We were by nature children of wrath, just like everyone else. Though we were justified from eternity by God’s decree and justified at Calvary by Christ’s blood atonement, we knew nothing about it. We lived under the curse and condemnation of God’s law. Our first convictions, our first thoughts toward God, filled us with terror. When the law came, sin revived, and I died. (Rom. 7:9). That is what every believer has  experienced. Thus, by the terror of God’s holy law on our consciences damning us, we were shut up to Christ. “Shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed.”

Don Fortner