devotional

25MAY
2014

An Inheritance of Promise

Sorry for the delay! Afghanistan's internet isn't as good as the states.

“For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise,” Galatians 3:18. Around 1450 B.C. the law was added to the promise(s) made much earlier to Abraham around 2100 B.C. Now today, even much later, when schooled in the law, it reminds us why promise is our hope for salvation. I think this is precisely what Paul means when he writes, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith,” Galatians 3:24. The law does this, first for the Jew and then also for the Gentile. For whom precisely does it do it among men? Answer: for the one justified by the faith given in Christ. You could say this of the Old Testament as a whole or you could focus in on the Ten Commandments and be true to say such things as well. When I think law (as in this devotional article) I first think of the Ten Commandments, then I think of the whole of it, the Torah. The law serves many purposes. Yes, it is a guideline for right living. Yes, it did form the basis for the civilization of the Hebrews. Yes, it did reflect the very character of God in His holiness for man to behold. Yes, it much later showed the surpassing impeccability and inimitable holiness of the Son of God in that by it in its every facet He can be declared guiltless and good. It did all this and more.

     The major function of it today in the New Testament, which is again what's in view in Galatians 3:24 above, was its preemptory nature- it was to show us that mercy could be our only plea before the God of the law! We cannot hope to be granted clemency by God under its jurisdiction except by an act of His sovereign mercy. He must make provision. This was God’s plan all along. God gave Abraham a promise of that mercy to come through Jesus, his (according to the flesh) great great great great…great great grandson. The promises made to the man were made based on the coming of Christ. You could say that God promised Abraham and his descendants through Christ a promise that would later be delivered by the very hand of Christ. Vs. 16 of the same chapter says, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say,“And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ,” Galatians 3:16. Christ was there. God the Father essentially made the promises that He made to Abraham with His eyes on God the Son! The promise was made both on behalf of, and to, the seed. Christ was there when the promise was made, and would one day come to make good on it.  I can’t get beyond the simplicity of this. First there is the promise of mercy…but for what? How do I perceive the fall I have in Adam. I wasn't there. Without this knowledge, a promise of mercy isn't very much rooted for me. The law makes sense of it. First there is the promise of mercy. Then to demonstrate why that promise was so very needed there comes law. The law displays the necessity of perfection, then it shows the impossibility of perfection, then it later illuminates Christ who gives perfection, and that all by the first promise of mercy. Abraham was saved looking forward to the coming of that seed, just as I'm now saved looking back to the coming of that seed. Abraham knew less about this than the least in the kingdom today. 

     Has the law done its job in your life? Does it meet with the promises of God at the cross? Does it place hell at your heels, and Christ at your front? If so, then the promises God made to your father Abraham long ago are literally fulfilled in you, Romans 4:16. The law was added to that original promise only to make it more glorious and far reaching. The law illumines our invisible fall in Adam to illumine, to the living, our risenness in Christ. 

     If you're to inherit anything before God in the next life it's an inheritance based on this same promise.

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