Wednesday: The Duration of God’s Law

Does Paul’s statement about the law being added at Mount Sinai mean that it did not exist previously? If not, what was the difference before and after Mount Sinai? Read Gen. 9:5-6Gen. 18:19Gen. 26:5Gen. 39:7-10Exod. 16:22-26.

The Word of God Endures Forever

Image © Mark Lawrence

God did not need to reveal His law to Abraham with thunder, lightning, and a penalty of death (Exod. 19:10-23). Why, then, did God give the law to the Israelites in that manner? It was because, during their bondage in Egypt, the Israelites had lost sight of God’s greatness and His high moral standards. As a result, they needed to be made aware of the extent of their own sinfulness and the sacredness of God’s law. The revelation at Sinai certainly did just that.

What does Paul mean when he says the law was added “until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made”? Gal. 3:16-19 (ESV).

Many have understood this text to mean that the law given at Mount Sinai was temporary. It entered 430 years after Abraham and then ended when Christ came. This interpretation, however, conflicts with what Paul says about the law in Romans, as well as other passages in the Bible, such as Matthew 5:17-19.

The mistake readers often make with this passage is to assume that the word until always implies a limited duration of time. This is not the case. Describing the person who fears the Lord, Psalm 112:8 (ESV) says, “His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.” Does this mean that when he triumphs he will become afraid? In Revelation 2:25 (ESV) Jesus says, “Only hold fast what you have until I come.” Does Jesus mean that once He comes we no longer need to be faithful?

The role of the law did not end with the coming of Christ. It will continue to point out sin as long as the law exists. What Paul is saying is that the coming of Christ marks a decisive turning point in human history. Christ can do what the law could never do — provide a true remedy for sin, that is, justify sinners and by His Spirit fulfill His law in them (Rom. 8:3-4).

Have you ever thought to yourself, If only the Lord did this for me, or that, or the other, then I would never again doubt or question Him? Think, though, about what happened at Sinai, about how powerful a manifestation of God’s power the Israelites saw — and yet, still, what did they do? What should this tell you about what true faith is and how we get and maintain it? (See Col. 2:6.)


Wednesday: The Duration of God’s Law — 4 Comments

  1. The main text for the day's lesson appears to be Gal. 3:16-19. The author's intent seems to be to affirm the perpetuity of the Law in view of this passage. However, in considering this passage, we must not forget the context within which Paul is arguing. He is arguing for the primacy of the gospel promise. In this context, he argues that the Law/Torah which the Judaizers were so intent on promoting as being part of the gospel, was given 430 years after the gospel promise. It does not invalidate the promise. The eternal nature of the Law of God is not at issue here.

    It might help to point out that the Jews recognized that the whole Law could be summarized as supreme love to God and loving one's neighbor as oneself, as verified by Jesus. Mark 12:29-31.

    Adding to that Paul's teaching that love fulfills the Law (Ro 13:8,10; Gal 5:14) and that the essential character of God is Love (1 John 4:7-21), we can see that the Law of God is as eternal as He is and not a temporary measure - even without the evidence cited above.

    Paul then goes on to deal with the purpose of expressing the Law in the form it was given at Mt Sinai.

  2. "Christ can do what the law could never do — provide a true remedy for sin, that is, justify sinners and by His Spirit fulfill His law in them (Rom. 8:3-4)."

    This statement is the essence of the gospel. The gospel is the good news where God forgives & fixes cooperating guilty & depraved Earthlings by grace.

    Jesus can justify, pardon, forgive & reconcile humans by his death and those who by faith accept this can receive the PROMISE (Gal 3:14) of the Holy Spirt and be SAVED....restored, decriminalized, rebellion cessation , sin eradication, character transformed, mind renewed (fixed) to the image of God in man.(TIT 3:5) See Rom 5:9 & 10

    The PROMISE for Galatians & us mentioned in Galatians is the Holy Spirit.
    Paul uses the story of Abraham to give the clue on how it is received and is upset at them trying to be made PERFECT in the flesh..because they only can be made perfect by cooperating with the Holy Spirit.

  3. At the same time we seem to fade away with God's presence in our lives, we humans do not explain quite right where we came from and where we are going to. Perhaps there were times where all the possible "miracle" imagery and sound were necessary, but not today. We've got our own special effects! The time now may call for real feelings of rational love - being that no contradiction! God still exists as in the past, but we easily fail to recognize Him! He continues to perform wonders in people's lives, but we just seem to be blind to that! When fire and thunders were here we did not pay attention. When the best of God's demonstration of pationate love for humanity came we killed Him! We certainly have a personality disruption... Rsrsr! And still, God continues to love us all! Now that's a real miracle I cannot explain!

  4. So, what promise was made to "The offspring," (Jesus,) in Galatians 3:19? I think that the answer to that is found in Hebrews 7:21. The promise to Jesus from his Father was and is that he (Jesus,) would start reigning as king, priest, and sacrifice, after the order of Melchizedek for all of humanity from promise made at Genesis 3:15 till promise fulfilled at John 19:30 and that from that time onward salvation that has always been by faith in him and not by works of the law would go on in him and by him until he comes in power and great glory, soon and very soon. Amen!


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