“To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.”
… I’m sorry, …what?
Honestly, this is one of those passages that makes my eyes gloss over, like when I fully intend to read the legal agreement for an iPhone upgrade that goes on for 200 pages, and I only make it about 2 sentences in before scrolling to the very bottom and hitting the agree button. “Sign away my rights and privacy? Yes please, just don’t make me read that!”
Since, Paul is writing this to a group of people he just called “fools” a few verses back, I have to assume that this would have made sense to someone in the group! So let’s break it down.
Just like any type of contract, once it’s been made and verified, you don’t add to it or declare it invalid. And the contract (covenant) Paul is referring to is the one made to Abraham and his descendant (singular) – referring to Christ. So the contract God made with Abraham (and it’s promise of blessing) was made 430 years before the law ever came about. Therefore, the law couldn’t cancel or change the covenant God had previously made with Abraham. This was just further evidence that the law didn’t bring the promise of blessing and inheritance.
There is even more you can dig out of this passage and I encourage you to do so! But if you’re only scratching the surface today, you can just hit “I Agree” and be confident that the blessing of God’s grace is available to you just as it was to Abraham, and nothing is going to change that.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Do you ever have a hard time understanding scripture (or is it just me)? If so, what are some different ways you go about trying to figure it out? (consider sharing in the comments below)
- What is the illustration of a ratified contract supposed to do in encouraging the Galatians (and us)?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you respond?