Thursday: The Superiority of the Promise
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“ ‘He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us’ ” (Acts 7:38, NIV).

In Galatians 3:19-20, Paul continues his train of thought about the law not nullifying the covenant of grace; this is important because, if the theology of his opponents were correct, the law would do just that.

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Think, then, what our position as sinners would be if we had to rely on our law-keeping, as opposed to God’s grace, to save us. We would, in the end, be without hope.

Although the details of Paul’s comments in Galatians 3:19-20 are difficult, his basic point is clear: the law is subsidiary to the promise, because it was mediated through angels and Moses. The connection of angels to the giving of the law is not mentioned in Exodus, but it is found in several other places in Scripture (Deut. 33:2Acts 7:53Heb. 2:2). Paul uses the word mediator in 1 Timothy 2:5 in reference to Christ, but his comments here strongly suggest he has Deuteronomy 5:5 (ESV) in mind, where Moses says, “I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD.”

As majestic as the giving of the law was on Sinai, with countless angels in attendance, and as important as Moses was in the presentation of the law at that time, the giving of the law was indirect. In stark contrast, God’s promise was made directly to Abraham (and, therefore, to all believers), for there was no need for a mediator. In the end, however important the law, it is no substitute for the promise of salvation through grace by faith. On the contrary, the law helps us better understand just how wonderful that promise really is.

Describe the nature of Abraham’s direct encounters with God. What benefit was there to such immediacy with God? Consider Gen. 15:1-6Gen. 18:1-33Gen. 22:1-18.

Think about some of the other encounters people in the Bible had with God — Adam and Eve in Eden (Genesis Chapter 3); Jacob’s ladder (Genesis Chapter 28); Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts Chapter 9). Maybe you haven’t experienced anything as dramatic, but in what ways has God revealed Himself to you? Ask yourself, too, whether anything in your personal life might prevent you from having the kind of intimacy and immediacy that Abraham experienced with God. If so, what steps can you take to change?
Amen!(38)

Comments

Thursday: The Superiority of the Promise — 9 Comments

  1. "In the end, however important the law, it is no substitute for the promise of salvation through grace by faith."

    To better understand about the promise that Paul is referring to in Galatians 3, it is necessary to read Gal 3:2,3,5 and especially Gal 3:14.
    Then if you want to understand better about the promise made to Abraham, it helps to read Heb 11:39.

    Amen!(11)
  2. Genesis 15:1-6
    God makes the promise to Abraham

    Genesis 18:9-15
    Promise
    V10) God makes the promise about Sara bearing a child
    Argument
    V11 - v13) we are too old. We don't have pleasure.
    Promise of God repeated
    V14) Is anything too hard for the Lord

    Sara argues with God in spite of her God keeps His promise.

    Genesis 22
    Abraham makes the promise to Isaac God will provide.

    Abraham experienced God's promise and he gives that promise to his son Isaac. We will comeback.

    Have you experienced the promise of God?

    Amen!(7)
  3. Jim, in reading: Hebrews 11:39. It sounds like we are left out of the promise, until we read: Hebrews 11:40. God intended for all to be apart of the promise, if we turn to Him. Hebrews 7:25. Isaiah 56. Isn\'t Galatians a wounderful study. Many of us may have the Galatian syndrome, unless we make our Rock of salvation in Him. Sometimes we think that it is todo that? By choosing to surrendering our will to Him. Sometimes we my think it is hard do. But not so hard if we don\'t trample on the Cross of Christ put in our path. How do we keep from trampling on the Cross? How, then, are we to be saved? \"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,\" so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. \"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.\" John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, \"I delight to do Thy will, O my God.\" Psalm 40:8. - {DA 175.5}

    Amen!(8)
  4. Galatians 3 is a continuation of chapter 2 and the arguments over circumcision. If one continues through Galatians 4 and 5 you will see the purpose of the entire scenario from Paul, Galatians 5:2-6. Probably more profitable than the law of Moses and promise of Abraham. Even though it is another means to an end, which is ultimately controversy over Jews and Gentiles.

    Amen!(4)
  5. Even by the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul in 2 Peter 1:4 and 2 Corinthians 7:1 they are both very clear about God's promises regarding overcoming and becoming like God in character etc. The focus is to be God's promises to us and not God's law for us.

    Amen!(1)
  6. If you sincerely believe that the Law is written on the heart of every believer, then the Sabbath is also written on the heart of every believer. Then TRUE WORSHIP is accomplished, according to Christ: “…But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for *such people* the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him MUST worship in *Spirit and Truth*(Jn 4:22-24).

    God does not have a law written somewhere which He consults in order to conform His life. God IS Love. When He “writes” His law on the heart, He makes the believer HIS SON by giving him/her His Spirit (1 Jn 3:1,24; Jn 1:12; Rom 8:2,4,9-11,13-17; Gal 4:4-7; 3:25-29; 1 Pt 1:14-19; Eph 1:4-7; 2 Cor 6:18; 2 Th 2:13,14; Isa 43:6,7; Rev 21:7) etc. As God is Love so are His Sons born of Him by the Spirit. The Spirit is “the Law written on the heart.” Rom 8:2. There is no literal writing. As everything else in Christ’s kingdom, the last and eternal, writing is Spiritual.

    How, then, does Sabbath “written” in/on the heart affect the life of the children of God? It cannot be like that written on stone tablets to be observed ritually like Israel of the flesh.[redacted] Then compare your response to Col 2:15-23; Gal 4:8-11; Rom 14:1-9. We judge others who observe another day as lawless and lost, and make Sabbath as the last great test. Which rest do you think is the last great test - Ex 20:8-11 or Matt 11:28-30; Heb 4:3-12.

    I am a Seventh Day Adventist, more than 64 years, who, since the ‘80’s, believes the Bible alone is the Word of God, as Sis White did, and every Christian does. Truth is of God and God gets His Truth to His people some way or another. He so loves them.

    Amen!(1)
    • Although I do not quite understand your concerns, Kenny, I'll attempt to address what I see as some of your concerns.

      For starters, I see that your first paragraph and most of the second paragraph affirms what the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches. I see confusion beginning with

      The Spirit is “the Law written on the heart.” Rom 8:2.

      Seventh-day Adventists teach that the Spirit is a the third Person of the Godhead (see lessons of the first quarter of 2017), and the Spirit writes the Law in human hearts.

      There is no literal writing. As everything else in Christ’s kingdom, the last and eternal, writing is Spiritual.

      Indeed, this is our teaching. This spiritual writing in the heart is far more powerful than any outward compliance. The "writing in the heart" changes the heart, which results in a new and changed life. (2 Cor 5:17)

      For those who understand the significance of the Sabbath and accept Christ as Savior, the Sabbath is an integral part of their experience with Jesus - a result of the Law being written in the heart. The Sabbath signifies freedom from our own works and our rest in Jesus Christ, which is implied in today's lesson of "The Priority of the Promise."

      If you include yourself in the "we" below, I would urge you to re-assess your attitude:

      We judge others who observe another day as lawless and lost ...

      The Seventh-day Adventist Church has never taught and does not currently teach that those who observe another day are "lawless and lost," although individual Seventh-day Adventists may have had mistaken ideas on the subject. While the seventh-day Sabbath is God's special day for this planet, as a memorial of creation, promise of redemption and a symbol of the rest in Jesus, not all Christ's followers have been convicted on the subject and are not held responsible for whatever the Spirit has not seen fit to bring to their attention. We are all saved by the grace of Christ alone - irrespective of which day we keep.

      We ... make Sabbath as the last great test.

      Again, I am sorry if that describes you. That is an unfortunate distortion of Seventh-day Adventist teachings. We understand that the "last great test" will be a matter of choosing between a man-made way of salvation or God's way of salvation by His grace alone. The first allows room for pride and boasting. The latter can be had only through humility.

      As we see events unfold, we understand that eventually the line of demarcation between those who trust in manmade systems and those who trust in Christ alone will become very clear. At that time, all of Christ's followers will unite in keeping God's Sabbath - the sign of complete faith and rest in Him - whereas the rest of the world honors the manmade rest day, symbol of a manmade religion. At that time, the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath will become an outward sign of the inner change of heart brought about by the Holy Spirit. The Sabbath itself is not "the last great test." Loyalty to God is the last great test, and the Sabbath is only a visible outward evidence of heart loyalty.

      While this may seem like a small difference to some, the difference is crucial. No one ever was or ever will be saved by an outward "keeping" of the seventh-day Sabbath (even if that were possible without Christ). Salvation is through Christ alone, and people will be lost by rejecting the only way to be saved.

      Amen!(1)
  7. A person can focus on the law all day long. It is like looking in the mirror and just staying there looking at it and not going anywhere else but that mirror. The mirror will do absolutely nothing to that person to straighten their hair or remove a blemish from their face etc. The mirror is a good thing and so is God's law a good thing like that mirror is. But only God's grace is like soap and water to do what the mirror is absolutely useless to do. God's promises are his soap and water for us and there are over 3,000 of them in his word for every specific problem of life as their solution for us.

    Amen!(2)
    • Pete

      I agree. That "soap and water" is the work of the Spirit and never the work of law.

      It's unfortunate that we have an inordinate reliance on the law, the works of the law, and the keeping of the law, as opposed to total submission to God, through His Holy Spirit, and not through law to make and keep us holy.

      He wants to do a complete work in us. Let's allow Him to do it!

      Amen!(1)

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