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Quits Sabio
Elder at Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church Inc. and President of Reformed Exegetes Society
User since 2013
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In sin we were dead but in Chirst we were made alive.
Ephesians 2:1-10
To be under the Mosaic law again is not only childish, but also devilish and damning.
Galatians 4:8-11
Beware of working for God! Instead, gladly obey God as our Father and not as our taskmaster.
Galatians 4:1-7
The Law cannot nullify the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
Law demands a life of perfect obedience, but Faith demands a life of faith in Christ's act of redemption alone
Galatians 3:9-14
Faith is the spiritual DNA by which our familial relationship to Abraham can be proven.
Galatians 3:6-9
We can't start with the Spirit and then end with the flesh
Galatians 3:1-5
What is dying to the law and living to God?
Galatians 2:15-21
Lead others to the truth of the gospel not just with propositions but also with our actions.
Galatians 2:11-14
How important that there is only one gospel?
Galatians 2:1-10
What are you hoping for?
Psalm 42:11
No other gospel that brings glory to God than the gospel of grace that transforms its messenger
Galatians 1:18-24
If you want to please God, seek what pleases Him, namely the preaching of Christ
Galatians 1:11-17
Want some peace of mind? So Pray!
Philippians 4:6-7
What brings understanding, our thinking or God's granting?
2 Timothy 2:7
What it means to be a slave of Christ?
Galatians 1:10
To desert from the Gospel is to desert away from God
Galatians 1:6-9
Seek God's approval and not the approval of men
Galatians 1:1-5
God gets more glory when more people rely on Him for contentment in times of need.
Philippians 4:10-20
Standing Firm in the Lord demonstrates itself in unity, peacekeeping, rejoicing in the Lord always and forbearance toward one another
Philippians 4:1-9
Resurrection is a means to lay hold of the prize who is Christ Jesus so strive to attain it since He already laid hold of you
Philippians 3:12-21
Jesus came into the world to exegete the Father
John 1:1-18
God is more glorified in us when we enjoy him than when we fear him
Luke 2:8-20
The supremacy of the worth of Christ outweighs all things, and that includes all human boastings!
Philippians 3:1-11
Risking for Jesus will yield greater returns
Philippians 2:25-30
Seeking the interest of Christ is seeking the interest of others above one's own
Philippians 2:19-24
What is the secret to a grumble free life and happy pastors?
Philippians 2:14-16
God is not wasting our suffering,  we shouldn't also
Philippians 1:12-18
How to work out your own Salvation?
Philippians 2:12-18
Motivations for Obedience
Philippians 2:12-13
Christ Emptied himself by Adding
Philippians 2:6-7
Christian unity delights itself in the interest of others
Philippians 2:1-5
To Know Christ is to have the will of the Father
John 7:17-18
Find your Joy in God in the joy of your leaders and the flock
Hebrews 13:17
The Law does not negate the Promise, it's the restatement of the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
The Church Abides to Chirst so should Wives to their Husbands. Christ never forsake His Church, so should Husbands to their Wives
Ephesians 5:22-33
Herald the word even if your life is at stake
2 Timothy 4:2
Any talk of gender roles and equality must be grounded on creation.
1 Corinthians 11:7-12
There is Joy in praying for the sanctification of our brethren!
Philippians 1:3-11
Since God is righteous, God must elect according to his own freedom
Romans 9:14-18
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The Law in Service of the Promise
Galatians 3:19-22
The law serves the promise until the coming of the seed
#galatians
#law
#purpose
Published May 5th, 2019; Updated May 13th, 2019
Author
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Main point summary
Discourse Analysis of 3:19-22
Exegesis
The Life and Death Importance of the Who and Why by John Piper
Introduction
Exposition
Application
Study Guide
notes
Main point summary
The law is not without a purpose and is not against the promise because it is meant to imprison everyone under sin until the seed to whom the promise was made would come, in order that the promise, by means of faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Discourse Analysis of 3:19-22
NT
Galatians 3:19-22
nasb
na28
mine
net
esv
a Why the Law then?
Τί οὖν ὁ νόμος;
Why then the law?
Why then was the law given? 39
Why then the law?
It was added 1 because of transgressions,
τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη,
On account of transgressions , it was added
It was added 40 because of transgressions, 41
g It was added because of transgressions,
having been b ordained through angels c by the 2 agency of a mediator,
ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα
until which the seed would come
until the arrival of the descendant 42
h until the offspring should come
until d the seed would come
ᾧ ἐπήγγελται ,
to whom the promise had been made,
to whom the promise had been made.
to whom the promise had been made,
ideaexplanation
temporal
to whom the promise had been made.
διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου .
having been administered through the angels by the hand of an intermediary .
It was administered 43 through angels by an intermediary. 44
and it was i put in place through angels j by an intermediary.
Now a a mediator is not 1 for one party only;
ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν,
Now an intermediary is not for one party alone,
Now an intermediary is not for one party alone,
Now k an intermediary implies more than one,
whereas God is only one.
ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν.
but God is one.
but God is one. 45
but l God is one.
negativepositive
actionmanner
questionanswer
Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God?
ὁ οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν [τοῦ θεοῦ];
Is the law therefore against the promises of God?
Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? 46
Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?
a May it never be!
μὴ γένοιτο.
Absolutely not!
Absolutely not!
Certainly not!
For b if a law had been given
εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος
For if a law had been given
For if a law had been given
For m if a law had been given
which was able to impart life,
ὁ δυνάμενος ζῳοποιῆσαι ,
that was able to give life ,
that was able to give life,
that could give life,
then righteousness 1 would indeed have been 2 based on law.
ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη•
certainly by law then comes the righteousness
then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 47
then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
conditional
But the Scripture has a shut up 1 everyone under sin,
ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν ,
But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin ,
But the scripture imprisoned 48 everything and everyone 49 under sin
But the Scripture n imprisoned everything under sin,
so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν .
in order that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe .
so that the promise could be given - because of the faithfulness 50 of Jesus Christ - to those who believe.
so that o the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given p to those who believe.
actionpurpose
ground
inference
na28
discourse
Exegesis
Τί οὖν ὁ νόμος; τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη, ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα ᾧ ἐπήγγελται , διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου . ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν. ὁ οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν [τοῦ θεοῦ]; μὴ γένοιτο. εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζῳοποιῆσαι , ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη• ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν , ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν . Why then the law? On account of transgressions , it was added until which the seed would come to whom the promise had been made, having been administered through the angels by the hand of an intermediary . Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. Is the law therefore against the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life , certainly by law then comes the righteousness But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin , in order that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe .
The Life and Death Importance of the Who and Why by John Piper
Saint Paul's mind is more like Rudyard Kipling's The Elephant's Child than Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Tennyson said of his "noble six hundred," “Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.” Many of us are tempted to live like that. We understand so little and see such a small part of God's purpose in things that we want to give up thinking and say, "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die." But not the apostle Paul. If I read Galatians and Romans correctly, Paul would have agreed more with Kipling when he wrote, “I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.” In a universe created by a personal God who does all things according to his purpose, the most important of those two "serving men" are WHO and WHY. There was no question who gave the law to Israel. The question was why. "Why then the law?" (Galatians 3:19)
Introduction
According to Paul, works of the law cannot justify (2:16; cf. 3:2, 5), the law brings not a blessing but a curse (3:10) from which Christ has released us (3:13), and that the inheritance comes by promise and not by the law(3:18). So the question in verse 19 was raised because the conclusion so far seems to suggest that the law was without a purpose. At least that's the objection that Paul expects from his enemies. Why then the law was added if it's not meant to annul or ammend the Abrahamic covenant? Verses 19b-22 as a unit serves as the complete answer to this main objection. I say complete because you'll notice that there's another question raised in verse 21. Paul asked, "Is the law therefore against the promises of God? " Now in answering this second question in verses 21-22, Paul completes his answer to the first question about the law's purpose. So we'll look at them one at a time.
Exposition
Wh y then the law?( vv. 19-20 ) The answer Paul gave can be divided into answers addressing six more questions. What was the purpose of the law? Until when was the law enforced? To whom the promise has been made? How the law was added? Through whom and by whose hand the law was administered? What is the purpose of the law? (vv. 19b) The law was added because of transgressions. Literally for the sake of or on account of transgressions it was added(τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη). Paul, like in verses 15-18, emphasized the point that the law had a beginning. The law was added. But w hat does it mean that the law was added for the sake of transgressions ? How was it on account of or because of transgressions? Theologians debate as to what it means. There are at least four main options that buys for acceptance: First it can be construed as "because of". Meaning , because of the need to reveal and define what sin is. Similar to what's being said in Romans 3:20 and Romans 4:15. According to Thomas Schreiner: " The law provides the standard, the measuring stick, by which sin is identified. The law classifies sin as sin in a technical or legal sense. In other words, sin is identified as “transgression” when a specific law is violated." Second almost similar with the first one, but this time it is because of the need to restrain and deal with sin. The law deals with sin through the sacrificial system of the old covenant and restrains it or curb sins through punishments. The law acts as a deterrent. Third, it was added for the sake of showing the sinfulness of sin just like in Romans 7:8-11. The law shows how sin used that which is good to produce all kinds of transgressions. Fourth, related to the third one but the focus is on the increase of sin. That is, the law was added to cause more sins. Similar to Romans 5:20; "Now the law came in to increase the trespass." The problem with the first view is that it is difficult to see how the law defined sin only up until Christ came, according to some scholars. But that problem will immediately dissolve if what we meant by law is just the Mosaic Law. Because it is true that what defines sins as transgression in the Old Covenant is the Mosaic law up until the coming of the seed. But when it came, the seed, who is the Christ, ushered in the New Covenant and with it the Law of Christ which defines for us what sin is in this side of the redemptive history. Now I think this will only make the first view theologically sound but not necessarily demanded by the context. The second view is more problematic than the first one. Though I would agree that God from time to time used the law to curb sins, nevertheless the Scripture is quite clear that it doesn't have any inherent power to restrain and ultimately deal with sin. With or without the law, God restrains sin by mere act of sovereignty. Just look at how God sovereignly restrains pagan rulers even without the help of the law in the Old Testament. Also the main problem with this view is the context. If Paul will concede that the law can in fact restrain sin, then his whole argument will fall to the ground. That's why I agree with what Thomas Schreiner has to say; "Such an admission by Paul would support the view of the Judaizers who argued that the Galatians must be circumcised and keep the law. Surely the opponents must have argued that the law’s restraining function was desperately needed among the Galatian Christians. Instead, Paul has already argued that the law curses those who are under its rule since no one can obey it (3:10). Indeed, the law is unable to grant life, and all enclosed within its realm are under the power of sin (3:21-22). Furthermore, 4:5 speaks of those who were under law as redeemed or liberated from it, indicating that those who are under law are enslaved to sin. Hence, there is no reason to think that the law is envisioned as restraining sin here." Options three and four may in fact go hand in hand but the fourth one perhaps is more preferable within the context. Notice that in verse 22 the scripture shut up or imprisoned everything and everyone under sin. Paul’s argument at least in this context only, seems to hinge on the role of the law in the flourishing of sin and as a result the written law shuts up everyone to be under sin, but not on how sin take advantage of the law and that resulted to the flourishing of sin. So even though theologically correct, option three is not to be preferred. Again Schreiner gave support why the fourth view makes more sense in this context; "The idea that the law increased the reign of sin in Israel until the coming of the Christ, however, fits with the OT story of Israel’s life under the law. Furthermore, it was noted above that Paul links being “under law” (cf. 3:23) with being under the power of sin, and hence the upsurge of sin under the law is preferable. By showing that the law could not curb sin, God revealed that the only answer to the power of sin is the coming of the Messiah." One last thing, the fourth view is the only option that would result to the objection in verse 21. Because it would seem that by adding the law to increase sin, it becomes more evident that everyone is undeserving of God's blessing. So to sum it up, the purpose of the adding of the law is for the sake of causing sin to increase. Until when was the law enforced? (vv. 19c) The law was added or enforced until the coming of the seed. Literally until which the seed would come( ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα). Or until the time the seed would come. The Mosaic law was never meant to be in force forever. It was meant only to point hopeless, broken, and sinful people to the coming of the seed. This by implication also means that the Abrahamic covenant was a superior covenant than that of the Old Covenant and by extension the Mosaic law. Verse 19b shows how the law was in service only to the promise, while verse 19c shows the law's inferiority by the length of its tenure. According to Douglas Moo; "If the law has a definite beginning, it also—and this is more directly relevant to the Galatian situation—has a definite end: it was to be in force only “until the seed to whom it was promised came." To whom the promise had been made? (vv. 19c, 16) The promise had been made to the singular offspring of Abraham. It is significant that the seed that renders the law outdated by its coming is the same seed that the promise had been made. What this tells us is that the seed could never be any other than Jesus Christ himself. Among the "seeds" of Abraham, Jesus Christ was the only one who came and died and in dying terminated the reign of the Law. Not Isaac, nor Jacob, not even the whole ethnic Israel, only Christ. How the Law was added? ( vv. 19 d ) It was added through the angels and by the hand of an intermediary. The ultimate agent of the verb διαταγεὶς refers to God, though not stated. This is what some scholars refer to as the "divine passive". The verb is in the passive voice not because God is passive but rather the subject of the verb, namely the law, was the thing being acted upon. This is actually an argument to further support the superiority of the Abrahamic covenant over the Mosaic Covenant. The argument goes something like this: The law was mediated by angels and by the hand of an intermediary but by contrast the promise was given directly by God to Abraham therefore the promise must be prioritised. With this interpretation in mind, verse 20 makes much more sense. I think Paul is implying the conditional and inferior nature of the law because m ediation also implies a contract between God and Israel. Therefore, the promises of the covenant were dependent on both parties fulfilling their responsibilities. The Mosaic covenant failed because Israel did not do what was demanded and broke the stipulations of the covenant. The promise given to Abraham, by contrast, is dependent on God alone. Is the Law then Against the Promise?(vv. 21-22) Paul then expects his opponents to raise this issue; "Is the law then against, that is oppose to the promises of God?" and as I mentioned earlier, this objection is to be expected because of the very purpose of the law. But Paul still answered with an empathic no. May it never be! In my exposition of verses 15-18, I argued that there must be a disjunction between the law and promise in order for the argument from chronology to stand. Because if the law is a mere restatement of the promise then it doesn't really matter which came first. But here, if we're not careful, we might find ourselves pitting Paul against himself. So we must understand first what Paul meant by his denial of the incompatibility of the law and promise. That is, Paul affirms that the law does not contradict the promise and that the two are compatible. To address this seeming contradiction, we must take note of in what sense are they incompatible and in what sense they are compatible. When I(and I think Paul also) argued that the law and promise are incompatible from verses 9-18, what I meant is that they are of different categories. One is subordinate to the other. So in that sense they are incompatible because they will never cross paths. The promise is operating in a different plane way above the plane of the law. On the other hand, they are compatible and complementary in the sense that the law rightly understood is serving the way of the promise. It's meant to drive those who are under the law to Christ. Schreiner virtually is saying the same thing; "When Paul says that the law and the promise do not contradict one another, he is not suggesting that they have the same function. The law and the promise fit together in the economy of God’s plan, but they play different roles." Now that this seeming contradiction is out of the way, let's see how Paul argued that the law and promise are in accord. Paul gave the grounds for his answer in the last part of verse 21. For if a law had been given that was able to give life, certainly by law then comes the righteousness( εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζῳοποιῆσαι, ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη). A second class, contrary-to-fact condition is used here to explain that the law did not and cannot produce life, because if it did then it would have been by the law that one would attain righteousness. But instead verse 22 shows that the law serves a functions quite differently from the promise but its very purpose is the receiving of the promise through faith in Christ Jesus. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, in order that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe( ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν, ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν). The first clause is the function of the law, and ultimately the last clause is the aim or goal of the law. Therefore to sum it up, the law is not without a purpose and is not against the promise because it is meant to imprison everyone under sin until the seed to whom the promise was made would come, in order that the promise, by means of faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Application
Are Christians without Law then? In light of what we've seen so far with the temporary nature of the Mosaic Law, are we without any law then? Does Paul promote lawlessness? After all we are now living in this side of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, therefore should we continue in sin that grace may abound? Like the apostle Paul, I will say by no means! We are no longer under the law of Moses but we're under the law of Christ(Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:21). When we died to the law(Galatians 2:19), we also died to sin, so how can we who died to sin still live in it(Romans 6:2)? You can't have one and hate the other. The very purpose of the abrogation of the law is so that sin might be disarmed and be rendered powerless. So why continue in sin? Don't Repeat the same Error Just as the law of Moses was meant to be obeyed looking forward with faith to the promise, even more so the law of Christ must be obeyed flowing from faith as you look back to the fulfillment of the promise in Christ death on the cross. In both cases obedience is necessary, and it always flows from faith. For whatever is not from faith is sin(Romans 14:23) whether in the old or the new. So don't repeat the same error of legalism! But if you do, repent and trust only in the finish work of Christ for your acceptance and righteousness.
Study Guide
Study Questions 1. What seems to be the conclusion that the Judaizers might have drawn from verses 15-18? 2. What are the possible interpretations of the phrase for the sake of transgressions or because of transgressions? 3. What is the most likely interpretation among them and why? 4. Until when was the law in force? 5. In what sense does the law compatible with the promise and in what sense they're incompatible? Going Deeper 1. Why is knowing the who's, when's,what's, why's and the how's of the Scripture important? 2. What does the Law of Christ means and how is it the same and different with the law of Moses?
Comments
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.