Keeping Our Promises - Galatians 3:15-18

Keeping Our Promises

I can think of countless times when I’ve promised my children something just to break that promise later. What is a promise, and how binding is the ‘contract’ we make with someone else through that promise? When you sign a loan to buy a house, immense paperwork and signatures are required. You are making a contract with the bank.

Galatians 3:15-18
15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

Paul tells us that the inheritance of God’s grace and mercy was given to Abraham as a promise. He tries to give an example that makes more sense to us through an example that we, or the Galatians, may understand. As humans, we make contracts and sign the dotted line. We see these as absolute. Those contracts remain in place until they are fulfilled and completed.  Did God break His contract to Abraham and his offspring by allowing salvation to be by faith alone? Paul is telling the Galatians that the promise and contract were not nullified. It is through Christ that God ‘continued’ to fulfill the covenant made with Abraham. But what was the promise that God made to Abraham? 

Genesis 22:17-18
 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

The best part about God’s promise of blessing Abraham here in Genesis 22 is that this is right after God sends the ram and stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. God calls Isaac the only son of Abraham. In previous chapters, before Isaac was born, God promised Abraham that he would multiply the offspring of Abraham. Now, we see Abraham’s complete trust in the promise of God through Isaac. Yes, Abraham disobeyed and tried to fulfill God’s promise in his own ways, hence the birth of Ishmael. But Isaac was the son that God blessed Abraham and Sarah with. It is through Isaac that we have the promise of hope. The hope of salvation through the Messiah that would come from the lineage of Abraham. Even though God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham trusted in God’s promise and knew it would be fulfilled, so he proceeded to do as God called and sacrifice Isaac. 

Furthermore, the law was brought into place 430 years after the covenant made by God to Abraham. Paul says that the law's introduction did not make the promise made by God null and void. The law pointed out our flaws and condemned us to death. But the law wasn’t the promise. 

God made, or gave, the promise and covenant with Abraham. God gave, or gifted, him a promise. It was a free gift of grace. If we are the offspring of Abraham, then God also made that promise to us. We, as Christians, can use Abraham as an example of trusting wholeheartedly in the promise of salvation through Christ. Additionally, we can trust in God's plan for our lives. Abraham knew God would fulfill His promise, so Abraham stepped out in faith and was obedient to God. We saw earlier that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Let us trust and submit wholeheartedly to God's promise in our lives. 

We have hope because God keeps His promises.
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