Todays’ reading: Gal 3
Today’s reading is a little complex and takes some understanding of the Jewish context for the meaning to be clear. Paul is continuing the refutation of the Judaizers premise that Christians must still follow the Mosaic Law to be saved. Paul’s point here is actually a simple one, but very powerful once you understand it. He points out the Galatians that God’s promise to Abraham was a unilateral promise – God promised Abraham that the world would be saved through his descendants; Abraham did not have to do anything in return. God made this promise to Abraham because he had shown faith. Since this was a unilateral promise from God it will be kept and therefore it has primacy over the Mosaic covenant.
The Mosaic covenant was different. It was instituted because the Jewish people had failed to keep the faith (primarily by worshiping other gods). Thus the Mosaic covenant is instituted to constrain the Jewish people. The Mosaic Law is created to keep them apart from the Gentiles and to help them keep the faith. God promised the Jewish people that He would be there God but the people had to keep the law. At this, the people repeatedly failed. Thus the Mosaic covenant was a lesser covenant because one side was destined to be unable to keep up their end.
Now, with Jesus, God is returning to faith as the basis of the covenant, not the keeping of the works of the law. Now, because faith is again the basis of the covenant with God, the covenant is not constrained to only the Jews. It is open to all, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, or man or woman. Thus, if you have faith in Christ you no longer have to keep the Mosaic Law for you are an heir to the promise made to Abraham.
Tomorrow: Gal 4