A Study of Galatians 3:15-18
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man’s covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise. [Gal 3:15-18]
Paul here reminds us of the way even man’s covenants are handled. While it is true that men are “covenant breakers” (Rom 1:31), we do know what is proper in a covenant. We do not always do what is right and we break the covenants we make, but we can be certain that God, the judge of all the earth, (Gen 18:25) that cannot lie (Tit 1:2), will not deal His covenants unrighteously. He is not a covenant breaker. It is also true that we generally do not allow a change to a contract or covenant after it has been confirmed. We do not allow that, because it would be wrong to change a contract after it has been signed so that the signer has his name signed to something he did not agree to. Why would we even bring this up? Because if we sinful members of Adam’s race know that this is a wrong practice, we must understand that God would call this a wrong practice, and the Righteous Judge will do right. He has made other covenants in addition to this one spoken of, but they do not do away with those that He has already made.
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, [there is] no transgression. Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all; [Rom 4:13-16]
The promises of God to Abraham are sure. God was very particular in His promise. Abraham would see the up close fulfillment: in Isaac shall thy seed be called (Gen 21:12). After Isaac was spared Abraham was able to see how that in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen 22:18). But the calling of the seed did not end with Isaac. The particular seed, Who is the seed by which all of the families of the earth will be blessed is Jesus Christ our Lord, and none other.
Now, it is also true that the multiplied seed would partake of the promise that God gave to Abraham. No one could read the Old Testament and just do away with God’s promises regarding Israel, especially in the Abrahamic Covenant and not see land and material blessing, but that is not the subject here in Galatians. Click on the link below and read the article below for some insight on this. It would move us too far off of the subject here to address this here. It will be enough to say here that even Israel, Abraham’s multiplied and redeemed seed, will only be blessed, and be a channel of blessing through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The point that Paul is making is that the law does not change the promises. The law added conditional blessings and curses, but it did not annul the promise. Those which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham, whether they are Israel, the natural seed, or whether they are gentiles: In thee shall all nations be blessed (Gal 3:8-9). It is not by the law, and it cannot be entered into by law.
And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. [Rom 11:6]
Let us not “frustrate the grace of God” by trying to attempt to make ourselves righteous or holy by the arm of flesh. Let us live by faith as we are called.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. [Gal 2:20-21]
And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: [Col 2:10]