Romans 6-7 & Galatians 2-3

Fred R. Coulter03/04/1989

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If we get through and understand this one, we will understand the Gospel even more. I think we're going to see that this is going to be, in some ways, the most difficult one that we are going to go through. But if you understand it, it's going to be like anything else; when you understand the complexity of something, then the principle of it becomes very simple.

That's what we're dealing with the simplicity that is in Christ. How can there be simplicity in Christ with all the complexity and difficulties that we have been going through to try and understand. We will see it, and we will understand it.

I want to read from this printout that I did. Romans 7:1-6 covers a very important principle concerning the marriage covenant. Not only the marriage covenant as it relates to human beings, but the marriage covenant as it relates to Israel and the Lord God of the Old Testament. So, we have a comparison here.

Does God keep His own laws? Yes, God keeps His own laws! Absolutely! This is a very primary thing to keep in mind with this section of Rom. 7.

Israel was married to Christ as Lord God of the Old Covenant—the Covenant with Israel. This, as we know, is a covenant based on promises of physical blessings in return for obedience in the letter of the law to the covenant and all of its commandments and laws (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 31:32; Exo. 24:8; Ezek. 16:54).

We know that God lives by His own laws. He decreed that marriage was binding until ended by death. Even if there was a divorce, it was still binding until death.

This is true even with God:

  • Did God give Israel a bill of divorcement? Yes, He did!
  • Did God then seek out to establish a covenant relationship with another nation? No, because a covenant relationship would have been another marriage!

You cannot marry until the death of one of the partners. Very important to keep in mind.

So, to end this marriage, the wife—that is all Israel; or the husband—the Lord God of the Old Covenant—had to die.

This was one of the main reason Christ came in the flesh. At His death the marriage covenant with Israel ended. Christ's death freed Israel from that marriage; it also freed Christ, as Lord God of the Old Covenant, from that marriage.

That marriage covenant ended with the death of Christ. God obeyed His own law. Now Christ was free to enter into a marriage arrangement with the New Testament Church called the New Covenant (Rev. 14:4; 19:7-9; Matt. 25; 2-Cor. 11:2).

We are washed and cleansed with the washing of the water by the Word (Eph. 5:26), by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ (1-Pet. 1:2). Christ is the faithful husband (Rev. 3:14). He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5; Rom. 8:30).

Now our works and fruits are the result of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 2:10).

Romans 7:1: "Are you ignorant, brethren… [That's not very nice of him to say, but Paul didn't write some things very nicely.] …(for I am speaking to those who know [understanding] law)…" Notice that there is not the definite article 'the' before law. So, this is for those knowing law, function of law; any law.

"…that the law rules over a man for as long a time as he may live?" (v 1). Are we subject to law all our life long in everything that we do? Yes, we are! Our bodies function according to law; we operate in this society according to law. The closer those laws are to the laws of God the better the society functions.

He's talking about a principle here.

  • The law is a broad statement in this case.
  • The law has to do with everything concerning all the Old Covenant.
  • The law has to do with the broad application of all laws that apply to a person as long as you live.

Then he narrows it down to the law of marriage, v 2: "For the woman who is married is bound by law to the husband as long as he is living; but if the husband should die, she is released [cleared] from the law that bound her to the husband. So then, if she should marry another man as long as the husband is living, she shall be called an adulteress…" (vs 2-3). So far, we all understand that.

"…but if the husband should die, she is free from the law that bound her to the husband…" (v 3). We are not talking about free from law—meaning the absence of all law—entirely. That's where people get all discombobulated.

"…so that she is no longer an adulteress… [with the death of her husband] …if she is married to another man" (v 3). We all understand that principle. There's no problem with that.

When we start into the next one then here is where the Protestants make their gross error. They come to v 4 and read it out of context. Verse 4: "In the same way, my brethren, you also were made dead to the marriage law of the Old Covenant by the body of Christ…" The Protestants stop there and say you no longer have to keep the Law of God or the commandments of God because you are dead to the law by the body of Christ.

Why is that an erroneous conclusion? We're dealing with the first covenant! But it doesn't say you don't have to keep any more laws at all—does it? You are dead to the law of the Old Covenant, which was a marriage between God and Israel.

  • How are you dead to it? Through or by the body of Christ!
  • For what purpose?
  • To be free from law entirely? No! To be loosed from that law of marriage by death of the One Who was the Husband of the Old Covenant!

"…in order for you to be married to another, Who was raised from the dead…" (v 4). What Paul is saying very clearly is this: Those of you who know and understand law, understand that by law you are bound in a marriage relationship so long as the husband lives. In this case the husband was Christ—Lord God of the Old Testament. He came and died the death. What did that do with that marriage relationship? It ended that marriage relationship! His death did!

Now being resurrected, He then can legally, living by His own laws, enter into another marriage arrangement. Isn't that correct? Yes! I suppose that even in the law of the land—I've never heard of such a thing—the closest you come to it is someone is reported missing in action or lost at sea, and they issue a death certificate after so many years—7 years. And you've heard of very religious people who say, 'Until I have the death certificate I cannot marry again.' or People who would say, 'I cannot marry again until I have a legal definition that that person is dead. There have been cases where they've shown up 10-14 years later still alive, but before the law that marriage relationship ended.

I'm drawing the analogy here to show that that is why it is so futile for the Jews to continue in Judaism by saying they represent God and they are part of the relationship with God through the Old Covenant. It's like saying 'I am still married.' But there's no marriage because the marriage ended with the death of the Husband—Who was the Lord God of the Old Covenant.

That is why when you try and go back and exclude Christ and say, 'We are going to do this by circumcision and by law-keeping' that becomes a yoke, that becomes a burden, because God is not married to that system any longer!

That has nothing to do with doing away with the laws or commandments of God. Is Christ now bound by the law of marriage to the New Testament Church? Yes! Absolutely, He is! Is He then going to seek another? No, He's not going to seek another! He's still living by His laws. God could have ended the covenant relationship two ways:

  • either He die


  • all of Israel die

But God being a God of mercy He took upon Himself to die, rather than to exterminate all of Israel. What would have happened if He exterminated all of Israel? Then Abraham would lose his promise, and the promise to Abraham must always go forward, because God promised it! Unconditionally! No conditions!

God gave certain conditions to the descendants that they would be in good standing as long as they kept the commandment, loved God. However, God always said that He would never work through another people.

Let's look back at a couple of instances there with Moses. Remember when Israel sinned so bad that God told Moses, 'Let Me alone and I will destroy all of them and I will fulfill My promise through you'?

He could still fulfill His promise through Moses, he would be one of the descendants of Abraham—correct? But Moses, being the meekest man on earth, said, 'God, don't do that lest the heathen say You brought them out in the wilderness to kill them; and Your name be defamed by the heathen.' God said, 'Okay, for your sake I won't do it.' So, God destroyed 23,000 in one day, instead of all of them.

Did God still keep His promise to Abraham? Yes! He kept His promise to Abraham! So, we're learning an awful lot about the character of God—aren't we? Maybe this helps us a little bit more in understanding the relationship that we ought to have in marriage, too. That is up to a certain point, regardless of circumstances, there should not be any entertainment of dissolving the marriage.

There are extemporaneous circumstance that can happen with human beings that doesn't happen with God. A human being can go out and commit adultery and get a venereal disease or AIDS and, obviously then, that would be grounds for terminating a marriage and God has so stated that for the grounds of 'pornea' marriage can be terminated. But in this case with Israel and God, it could only be terminated with death. So, Christ died!

Romans 7:1: "Are you ignorant, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know law), that the law rules over… [lords it over] …a man for as long a time as he may live? For the woman who is married is bound by law to the husband as long as he is living; but if the husband should die, she is released from the law that bound her to the husband. So then, if she should marry another man as long as the husband is living, she shall be called an adulteress; but if the husband should die, she is free from the law that bound her to the husband… [or the law of marriage] …so that she is no longer an adulteress if she is married to another man. In the same way, my brethren, you also were made dead to the marriage law of the Old Covenant… [imposed by the conditions of the marriage contract at Mt. Sinai] …by the body of Christ…" (vs 1-4).

This reflects back to Rom. 6 that we are crucified with Him, conjoined into His death, so then we—as human beings—are saying by that our obligation now is to the living Christ. We're raised out of that watery grave.

"…in order for you to be married to another, Who was raised from the dead…" (v 4). For Israelites and Jews this became a particular problem, because of the transition between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. It didn't become a problem to Gentiles, because there was never that arrangement with other nations.

Now God is saying, 'I'm bringing all nations into this covenant, because that's what I promised Abraham. So, in order to do that He has to end the covenant relationship with Israel; so, He did with His death.

"…in order for you to be married to another, Who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God. For as long as we were in the flesh…" (vs 4-5). Before baptism; you're still in the flesh after baptism, but you are guided by the Spirit, hence you are not in the flesh as far as God sees you. That's nice to know—isn't it?

Verse 5: "For as long as we were in the flesh… [that is before your baptism and burial in the death of Christ and raised out of that watery grave] …the passions of sins, which were through the law… [by law, defined by law] …were working within our own members to bring forth fruit unto death." That is true. Without Christ you're walking around just as good as dead.

Verse 6: "But now we have been released from the law…"—which was binding us to the Old Testament; we cleared or freed from the law that holds the death penalty over our head, because 'the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life.' All of that is in there. That's why this section in Romans really is a very difficult section indeed. If you can understand it going through here, you're understanding a very difficult portion.

The word law is used back and forth, interchangeably so loosely, that unless you know the topic, unless you understand… That's why we have gone through the detail, to take step-by-step through all the covenants, so that when we get to this point you'll understand it. He uses the word law so interchangeably there that it is very confusing for people who don't take the time to build up and understand all the background of all of this.

"…because we have died to that in which we were held…" (v 6).

  • What held you to death? Our sins!
  • What makes us sin?
  • What causes us to sin? Our human nature as defined by the law of sin and death!

You are held in that; no escape. You may not be the most evil person in the world, but you can be as nice as you can be and that doesn't bring you eternal life, because eternal life is not through being as nice as you can be even though you have 'the law of sin and death' in you.

  • How do you receive eternal life? By grace, through Christ!

The function of the sacrifice of Christ is to justify sin! The function of the sacrifice of Christ is the only thing that can bring you into right standing with God. It's not something you do of your own initiative. Though you are pure white, like Job, you have the 'law of sin and death' in you, so technically, realistically, you cannot by your own works create eternal life because death cannot give you life! That's why you only have eternal life through Jesus Christ raised from the dead.

Again, let's review: Remember the operation of justification—which means to be put in right standing with God the Father in heaven above—is accomplished through the blood of Christ. We are justified by His blood! He was raised for our justification. He has to be raised from the dead. 'If Christ is not raised, Christ died in vain and you remain in your sins' (1-Cor. 15).

Not only is the death of Christ required to pay for the penalty of your sins, God has at stake the whole world. God was not only thinking of each one of us as individuals, but God has the whole world to think of. That's why the sacrifice of Christ covers all the sins of all humankind forever, once! He made and created all humankind.

Verse 6: "But now we have been released from the law…" [which requires our death]

Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death…" that is the law you are cleared [released] from. In effect, what has God done? God has removed the eternal death penalty! However, as in Adam we all die, because there's still the 'law of sin and death' in us. But we're going to be resurrected by the Spirit of God, so God views us—in our death—as sleeping!

That is a little complicated thought, or the thought is considerably complicated. However, it is true. God views you already—through Christ imputing to you and giving to you eternal life through the begettal of the Holy Spirit—as though you are already in the Kingdom of God IF you endure to the end, and IF you continuously remain in His grace and have your sins covered.

That's a fantastic thought—isn't it? I mean, that is a fantastic thought when you think of it, that God views us from that point of view. If God views us that way, do you want to sin? What did Paul say? God forbid! That's why you establish law. You establish it! Now there's the conversion and the change on the inside, that you love God, that you desire to serve God, that your desire is not to sin, so when the 'law of sin and death' in you makes you sin:

  • you are abhorred
  • you are repulsed
  • you repent

That's why God's Spirit works in you to point out the sins that you have so that you can repent. As long as we have the 'law of sin and death' within our members; as Paul said, 'With my mind I serve God, but with my flesh the law of sin. So, it's not me, it's not my desire and motivation and attitude to go sin, but I'm trapped in this wretched situation that only Christ can deliver me out of.'

Unfortunately, there are some people who—in having this presented to them or even being in God's Church—not understanding this, get so depressed and get so guilty, and feel so bad that they want to give up on God. That's a sorry state for people to be left in, in that condition.

  • Never give up on God!
  • God hasn't given up on you!

If you feel guilt over your sins, God is working with you and He wants you to repent of those sins. How bad can they get? God only knows! God is dealing with you as a person, as an individual. God understands your circumstances. What may be very difficult for you, may be very hard for someone else. What may be very easy for you, may be impossible for somebody else. God works it all out.

That's what it means: We are cleared from the law, which brought forth death. How? Romans 7:6: "…because we have died to that in which we were held… [through the operation of baptism] …so that we might serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (v 6). Do we serve God in newness of spirit:

  • to love God
  • to keep His commandments
  • to follow Him always

in newness of spirit—renewed spiritually.

Verse 7: "What then shall we say? Is the law sin? MAY IT NEVER BE! But I had not known sin, except through the law…." Now we get back into understanding that obviously this does not do away with mandating the obedience to the laws of God. It mandates them that they be kept in the spirit, not just in the letter. That's the closest the Bible will come to, saying the Spirit of the Law—to serve in the newness of spirit.

Did King David understand this? I don't think he understood it like we're understanding it now, because he didn't live though that time when Christ died. They prophesied of the grace to come, but did they understand it? Brethren, we're going through things that theologians have argued about for hundreds and hundreds of years.

We're understanding things that very few understand. The only reason we're able to understand it—not because we're great or anything—is because of God's Spirit and because of being able to sit down and really get into the Scriptures in a deep and continuous way.

1-Peter 1:9: "And are receiving the end of your faith—even the salvation of your souls; concerning which salvation the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you have diligently searched out and intently inquired, searching into what way and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them was indicating, testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and these glories that would follow; to whom it was revealed that, not for themselves, but to us they were ministering these things, which now have been announced to you by those who have preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven—into which things the angels desire to look" (vs 9-12).

That's a big breath—isn't it? That's saying awful lot! I can tell you that through the years have studied and re-studied and have gone over these sections here, and every time I do, what it does for me it frees up my mind to understand the greatness of God, how fantastic it is. It is marvelous! It is just almost beyond comprehension what God is doing for those that He has called.

  • To give us of His very Spirit!
  • To give us of His very own self!
  • To give us Jesus Christ—His Son—Who is sacrificed for us and apply that personally to us!

That is fantastic! But it's unfortunate that things have become so combobbled in confusion by men who want to create their own religion or following or whatever they want to do. It's a shame!

It's the Holy Spirit that reveals that to us. Yes, we understand what some of the Prophets didn't understand. What did Daniel say? The one who brought all the prophecies of the end-time? 'Oh, God, when are these things going to be? What do these things mean?' He was told by the angel, 'Daniel, go your way, for it's sealed until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.' Here we're sitting right in the middle of that, right now. We can understand some of those things now. We look at that and think it would be great to be a Daniel. I don't know if I would want to be a Daniel or not.

Even the salvation that Christ brought was not fully revealed or understood until way down into the lifetime of the apostles. You read about Peter's activities in the book of Acts and then you read nothing until after Paul has almost come to the end of his ministry—though they did have certain interchanges as we saw in Gal. 2—how that Peter speaks more of grace than any of the other writers of the New Testament, next to Paul.

Paul was confronted with the Jews and the Gentiles, and confronted with all of these nasty problems. Poor Paul, he just had a nasty life. It was something! You have to love and respect Paul and the work that he did fantastically. But through that suffering he was able to bring us the understanding that we need so that we can appreciate what God has done. How else are we going to fight our way through the maze of all of these religions in the end-time if we don't understand what Paul has written here and understand how these different religions operate.

Let's see some of the things that we commented on before, just in the way of review:

Galatians 2:14: "…I said to Peter in the presence of them all, 'If you, being a Jew, are living like the Gentiles… [Gentile is name created by the Jews meaning those of other nations; it's really kind of an unfortunate Jewish, racist term. It was not meant to be that way.] …and not according to Judaism, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize? We who are Jews by nature—and not sinners of the Gentiles—knowing that a man is not justified by works of law, but through the faith of Jesus Christ, we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ… [Christ's own faith] …and not by works of law; because by works of law shall no flesh be justified" (vs 14-16). You're justified by the sacrifice of Christ.

If God loved the whole world and gave His only begotten Son that the world might be saved, and whosever believes on Him… What room is there for people to say, 'If we separate ourselves, we being Jews—the chosen people—separate ourselves for righteousness sake are better than other people,' what room does that have to do with the sacrifice of Christ? None! It has no room at all. It doesn't create any justification.

Verse 17: "Now then, if we are seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? MAY IT NEVER BE! For if I build again those things that I destroyed, I am making myself a transgressor" (vs 17-18)—not Christ!

Verse 19: "For I, through law, died to law… [We just covered that; the wages of sin is death'; the operation of law demanded it. Paul died by baptism.] …in order that I may live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, yet, I live. Indeed, it is no longer I ['ego']; but Christ lives in me. For the life that I am now living in the flesh…" (vs 19-20).

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"…I live by faith—that very faith of the Son of God…" (v 20)—'tou'—of, belonging to, possession. That means the very faith of the Son of God. The same faith that Christ possesses. When we ask for faith, that's why Christ said when the apostles asked: 'increase our faith' He gave the parable about the servant in the field.

When you've done everything you're commanded say, 'you're unprofitable servants' because you don't increase faith by works, you increase faith by belief. You increase faith with the measure of Christ. That's why I said it's the very faith of the Son of God!

"…Who loved me… [He's not excluding other people, but God's love is individual and collective] …and gave Himself for me." (v 20). When you get to feeling discouraged and down, remember that Christ give Himself up for you.

  • What can you do that's any greater than that? Nothing!
  • What work can you do that's greater than that? Nothing!

That's why Paul says, v 21: "I do not nullify… [frustrate (KJV)—go against the purposes of] …the grace of God; for if righteousness is through works of law, then Christ died in vain [for nothing]."

All God would have to do is make a law and say, 'You do this and you have eternal life.' But law defines the wages of sin—death—so there is no law ever created that can give life. There is no law ever created that can give right standing with God. God determined that would come through Jesus Christ.

I'm sure that we all understand that this is pretty heavy stuff, and we're going to move on into some pretty heavy stuff here.

Galatians 3:1: "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you… [In other words, you are being deceived] …into not obeying the Truth…" That shows that there has to be Truth; there has to be obedience. What is Truth? Thy Word is Truth! This grounds you solidly into knowing that you ought to keep the commandments of God, obey the commandments of God, which are Truth. But that does not bring you eternal life; that's a function of the operation of Christ.

"…before whose eyes… [your eyes] …Jesus Christ, crucified, was set forth in a written public proclamation?" (v 1). That's what Paul was preaching: the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

Verse 2: "This only I desire to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit of God by works of law… [The KJV says: by the works of the law. That's why it becomes confusing.] …or by the hearing of faith?"

  • What happened when you heard about Christ?
  • What happened when God convicted you of your sins?
  • What was your first reaction?

'Oh, God, what do I do?' You have to repent! Then you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!.

  • What law did you keep to do that? None!
  • By what works of law accomplished it? None!
  • Separating from other people, did that accomplish it? No!

If you want to know what separating from other people brings, it brings strife, death and ruination—right? That doesn't accomplish the righteousness of God.

Verse 3: "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected in the flesh?" By doing physical things you're going to be perfected? No! Christ died and all that physical stuff died with Christ.

Example: What if someone told you to put this meat in the freezer so it will be cooked? Impossible! So likewise, circumcision and law-keeping will bring you salvation. NO! You're excluding Christ. Salvation can only come with Christ. That's why the statement that you're going to be perfected with works of law is about as stupid as saying throw the meat in the freezer so it will cook.

It won't be accomplished! I know this is heavy. Bear with it. If you can get through this, and if you can understand this, it says there that 'we understand things that angels have desired to look into.' I imagine it's a mystery to the angels how God can take us, after putting into us 'the law of sin and death,' and save us. One of these days we'll have a conversation with the angels and find out.

Verse 4. "Have you suffered so many things in vain, if indeed it has been in vain? Therefore, consider this: He Who is supplying the Spirit to you, and Who is working… [performs, accomplishes] …deeds of power among you, is He doing it by works of law or by the hearing of faith?" (vs 4-5).

Let's put it another way: With all of the Jews down by the Wailing Wall, how many columns of fire have been coming down from God to heal, to cure, to do? None! They had works of healings; they had works of understanding God's Word, because the works were through the power of God's Holy Spirit and it wasn't because they were out doing this, doing that and doing the other thing.

Now we get back to Abraham, v 6: "It is exactly as it is written: 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.' Because of this, you should understand that those who are of faith are the true sons of Abraham. Now, in the Scriptures, God, seeing in advance that He would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed'" (vs 6-8). At the time He was speaking to Abraham He was announcing the Gospel and was a prophecy of the justification by faith for all nations.

Verse 9: "It is for this reason that those who are of faith are being blessed with the believing Abraham."

Verses 10-19 becomes the perhaps the most difficult spot in the entire New Testament. I think that you'll find it not that hard to understand because of the background of the things we've gone through.

Verse 10: "For as many as are relying on works of law are under a curse…" People who are depending on obedience to law alone are under a curse. Why? Because the law brings death and not life! Even if you keep the law, with no Savior you're going to die! Death is a curse, which came beginning with Adam. That doesn't say that anyone who keeps the commandments of God in faith in Christ is cursed. Please keep that in mind. If you depend on salvation by works of law, you're bringing a curse upon yourself, because the law cannot bring salvation.

"…because it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that have been written in the book of the Law to do them'" (v 10). That means all the laws of God.

  • Is the Law a curse? No! The law is not a curse!
  • What is the curse of the Law? Sin is the curse of the Law!

"…Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that have been written in the book of the Law to do them." sin is the curse of the law; the Law is not a curse!

  • Can anyone perfectly keep all of the laws of God on His own? No!
  • What does that bring? An automatic curse of death!

Verse 11: "Therefore, it is evident that no one is being justified before God by means of law…" Law is not a substitute for the sacrifice of Christ. How are we justified?

  • by His blood
  • by His resurrection
  • by His appearance before God the Father

Very important to remember: No sacrifice—even the animal sacrifices—were accepted until it was brought into the presence of God. So likewise, the sacrifice of Christ; if His sacrifice was not brought into the presence of God, there was no justification. That's why He had to be raised.

"…because it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" That's

  • believing God
  • believing in Christ
  • believing in His sacrifice
  • believing in His death and resurrection

That's what you live by.

Verse 12: "Now then, the Law is not based on faith… [there's no faith in the law; it's right there written out for you] …but, 'The man who practices these things shall live in them.'" He's saying, 'That's okay, that's acceptable, and anyone who does them lives in the virtue of them.' That's fine! But that doesn't bring you to Christ.

Verse 13: "Christ has [ransomed] redeemed…"—paid the price; to buy back. All have been sold under sin. Who buys them back; that is ransom, bought back (1-Cor. 6:19—'you are bought with a price and you are not your own.') That price was the death of Christ.

"…redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us…" (v 13). Notice that He didn't ransom us from keeping law; He ransomed us from the curse of the law. What is the curse of the law? Law-breaking or sin!

The Protestants read this as though the Law is a curse. Not so! Sin is the curse. "…having become a curse for us…"

2-Corinthians 5:21: "For He [God the Father] made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us…" That ties right in with the Gal. 3:13 that He was made a curse.] …so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

You talk about unfair just from a human perspective. For someone to take that upon himself, it would be like some other citizen walking down death row and saying, 'Let him live, put me in electric chair and kill me.' Someone would say, 'You've done no murder.' I know that! 'You haven't done anything wrong in the law of the land.' I know that, but I want to die for him!

That's powerful stuff—isn't it? That's what God has done for you! He knew no sin! Let's thank God for all that He has done. You talk about love! Does that take love? You talk about the statement that God so loved the world. Now you can understand those simple verses even more, because you understand the magnitude of what God has done. That's something! He became a curse for us!

Galatians 3:13: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law… [bought us back from the wages of sin, which is death—curse of the Law] …having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree') in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles… [not just the Jews; not just the Israelites, but all people] …by Christ Jesus and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (vs 13-14)—and not through law. That's what we're learning here.

Verse 15: "Brethren, (I am speaking from a human perspective) even when a man's covenant has been ratified, no one nullifies it, or adds a codicil to it."

If you buy a car, which is a contract, and the payment calls for $150/month. Six months down the road no one can come and give you a bill and say, 'Now you're going to pay $500/month or you surrender your car.' They can't do that—can they? Everybody has signed that it's going to $150/month. That is a law! No one can add to it; no one can take away from it. You, on the other hand, cannot go back to the one you bought the car from and say, 'Oh, $150 is too much, I think I'll pay you $25/month for this car.' They will come and get your car—right? Yes! Very clear!

The KJV says, 'disannul, but that is a contradictory term. Disannul means to set aside the set aside, which means reinstate. It's kind of a confusing word. No one is going to annul that or set aside or add thereto. From that Paul launches to the next statement:

Verse 16: "Now, to Abraham and to his Seed were the promises spoken…." Do you think God is going to change what He promised to Abraham? God forbid! Absolutely not! Never happen! He's going clear back to the authority of Abraham to establish the promises that were given by God to all nations; not just the Jews; not just the Israelites, but all nations. This was done before Abraham was circumcised (Rom. 4).

"…He does not say, 'and to your seeds,' as of many; but as of one, 'and to your Seed,' which is Christ. Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand… [ratified; confirmed] …by God to Christ cannot be annulled by the law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect" (vs 16-17)—which means the Law which took place 430 years after the promise given to Abraham does not annul, so as to make of no effect the promise given to Abraham. What are we talking about here? Two things:

  • the promise given to Abraham—which comes down to Christ
  • the Law given to Israel 430 years after the promise

It seems more complicated because of the way it's listed. But those are the two things we're talking about. If we keep that in mind, we can wade through the next verses without very much difficulty at all.

So, what Paul is saying here: The Law, which was given 430 years later, does not annul—as to make of no effect—the promise.

Verse 18: "For if the inheritance is by law…" of eternal life in the Kingdom of God; He didn't give it then—did He? He did not give them the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God through the Law given at Mt. Sinai—did He? No! Absolutely not!

If it be by law "…it is no longer by promise…." (v 18). If He gave the promise to Abraham, He cannot change His promise, so it cannot be by law. And furthermore, it cannot be by law because there's no law that will affect the sacrifice of Christ.

"…But God granted it to Abraham by promise. Why then the Law?…." (vs 18-19). What are we talking about? Which law? The whole thing concerning the Old Covenant! That's included in the term, in this case, the Law. What did God give at Mt. Sinai? He gave everything in the Old Covenant!

The Church of God Seventh Day wrongly believes that, and interprets it this way: Why then the law of sacrifices? It was added to the Law given to Israel. So therefore, anything to do with sacrifices we have nothing to do with, including the Holy Days, so they get all confused. This is where I first really started getting into this, because when you narrow it down to the two things you're talking about, you're not talking about law and law—are you? You're talking about promise and law:

  • promise given to Abraham
  • law given to Israel

—which is the whole Old Covenant

Verse 19: "Why then the Law? It was placed alongside the promises…" It was not adding the sacrifice laws to the law given; that's an incorrect interpretation and understanding, because we're not talking about law/law, we're talking about promise and law.

…for the purpose of defining transgressions, until the Seed should come to Whom the promise was made, having been ordained through angels… [that is the Law given to Israel] …in the hand of a mediator. Now then, a mediator does not act on behalf of one; but God is one" (vs 19-20).

Summary of Romans 7:1-6:

Now let's bring the full weight of everything here in Gal. 3:19: Why then the Law? That is the purpose of the Law, which is the Old Covenant in relationship to the original covenant and promise given to Abraham.

That is all implied in that statement.

It was appointed. The Old Covenant was ordained in addition to and placed alongside of the promises given to Abraham for the sake of transgressions. That is to point out clearly what sin is until the Seed should come to Whom the promise was made.

Unfortunately, the term the Law means everything contained in the Old Covenant. Everything! It is the whole of the Old Covenant, referred to as the Law, called to this day the first five books of the Bible called by the Jews Torah, which means law.

What purpose then did that serve, since God gave the promise to Abraham? Why then the Law? That is the Old Covenant given to Israel? That was a temporary covenant given placed alongside the promise given to Abraham until Christ should come!

Now let's go back and we'll review v 17: "Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand by God to Christ… [in Abraham] …cannot be annulled by the law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect." In other words, the promise of God to Abraham down to Christ stands all alone and is an obligation by God. The covenant called The Law given to Israel—which was 430 years later—does not take away from that promise. It does not set aside that promise. It was added to and placed alongside until Christ would come.

He's talking about the promise of the covenant given to Abraham, that through his Seed—Christ—all nations would receive salvation. We know that to Abraham were given many promises.

  • he was given the promise of Israel
  • he was given the promise that his seed would grow into a multitude

Those are all different promises, and God is fulfilling each one. One of the fulfillments of the promises given to Abraham was the giving of the Law to Israel, which is the Old Covenant called The Law, but the giving of that covenant to Israel with those laws did not alter the promise of the coming Christ.

That's what the Jews were arguing about because they didn't accept Christ! We go back to the other promises of God, which are the promises of law. So, Paul is saying, 'Look, you go back to the promise given to Abraham of the coming of Christ and actually the giving of the Law was 430 years after that promise. There's no way you can do away with that promise and reject Christ, and say, 'We don't take the Law'—though it was 430 years later.

That's part of the problem that you're dealing with. This whole section—Gal. 3—are the toughest Scriptures in the New Testament by far, because all of the Scriptures must bear in on these verses. This is where so many Protestants and other people make a mistake. They go there and read that Scripture first without knowing the rest of the Bible. That's where they get so lost. That's where they come up with that you don't have to keep the Law, the Law is a curse, and anyone that tries to keep the Sabbath is Judaizing. Everything gets all confused.

Comment: This is understandable because the promise was the forgiveness of sin and grace through Christ; and you have to understand the book of Romans first before you can understand Galatians. If you recall, one of the first things I said, if we start this it's going to be long and difficult. But we have to start in Hebrews, then Romans, then Galatians.

Most people try to understand it the other way around. They try to go to Galatians and you're lost, and you're going to come up with the wrong conclusions because you have to bring all of those to bear on these verses. This is a very educated, very highly sophisticated bit of writing by Paul. He's assuming that they know everything that he's told them in the past. It's highly sophisticated for us because it's complicated because we're removed by generations and hundreds of years and languages to be able to understand this.

This is why this section is so difficult to understand, because there are so many different factors, which must be brought to bear on this verse—v 19. I remember one of the very first things I tried to understand when I was reading the Bible were these things. I couldn't understand it. It didn't make a bit of sense to me. Now it does, and I hope it does to you.

Verse 19: "…having been ordained through angels… [that is the Old Covenant, the Law, 430 years later] …in the hand of a mediator…. [Moses was the mediator; later it was the high priest] …Now then, a mediator does not act on behalf of one; but God is one." (vs 19-20).

Can a mediator take sides? No! If you're going to mediate a dispute you have to be neutral—correct? The mediator cannot be of one side or the other. That's what he's talking about here. That's why with the Old Covenant, in the hands of the mediator—the high priest—ordained by angels, never went higher than the temple, because it was sort of angelic rule. It was not God's rule with His Holy Spirit. The priest had to mediate. Hopefully he was serving God. Hopefully serving the people. Even his sins had to be atoned for through sacrifices.

"…but God is one" (v 20). Now we are not having to come to a mediator to do it for us. Christ has done it for us, and He and the Father are one. That's what it's really talking about. The operation is totally different than anything that was designed under the Old Covenant. Those things were only a type.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 7:1-4, 1-6
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 7:6-7
  • 1 Peter 1:9-12
  • Galatians 2:14-21
  • Galatians 3:1-13
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Galatians 3:13-20, 17-20

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Isaiah 54:5
  • Jeremiah 31:32
  • Exodus 24:8
  • Ezekiel 16:54
  • Revelation 14:4; 19:7-9
  • Matthew 25
  • 2 Corinthians 11:2
  • Ephesians 5:26
  • 1 Peter 1:2
  • Revelation 3:14
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • Romans 8:30
  • Galatians 5:22
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • 1 Corinthians 15; 6:19
  • Romans 4

Transcribed: 1-6-13