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Heirs According to the Promise (Galatians 3:15-29)

Galatians 3:15–29 - 15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 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. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 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. 19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. 


What does today’s passage say?

In today’s passage, Paul explains that the promise God made to Abraham still stands unchanged (vv. 15-18). The law God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai hundreds of years later does not void or add extra conditions to that original covenant. Though the law makes people aware they are sinners; it was never intended to be the way of earning salvation. Instead, it points to humanity's need for a Savior (vv. 19-25). But now that Christ has come, the true children of God are all those who have faith in Jesus. This free gift of acceptance into God’s family obligates us to no law and is available to all equally (vv. 26-29).


How can I apply Galatians 3:15-29 to my life?

While intended for first century believers, the liberating principles found in these verses still hold great significance for Christ-followers today. In contrast to the faulty thinking of the many in the church, Paul presents the true nature and role of the law alongside the beautiful freedom found in Christ alone. He reminds readers new and old that trying to merit salvation by rule-keeping only leads to bondage, frustration and spiritual bankruptcy. Therefore, may we rejoice in the sufficiency of the cross and rest as beloved heirs in the gift of righteousness by faith alone in Jesus. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.    God's Promises Never Change (vv. 15-18): In this passage, Paul highlights a vital truth - the covenant that God unconditionally made with Abraham stands unchanged. The law which came hundreds of years later does not nullify or add extra stipulations to God's original promise made to Abraham long ago. We can take great comfort in the fact that when Almighty God commits to something, He will bring it to pass no matter what happens. Followers of Jesus today share a similar blessing as Abraham. Even though we live thousands of years later, the same gracious and unchanging God has made promises to us. He has declared over us life, hope, purpose, freedom, and belonging through faith alone. No one can thwart or dismantle what our Heavenly Father has spoken over those who trust in Christ! This is incredibly liberating because our salvation and security rely solely on God's trustworthiness, not our personal effort. Because God's sworn oath to Abraham still stands, we too can stand confidently in His commitments to lead, bless, and keep us both now and forevermore. No matter what storms or trials we face, His covenant word remains steadfast. Let's determine to place our full weight of trust on the unshakeable pillars of Almighty God's flawless promises. As we do, faith will rise up and overcome all doubt or fear. We serve an awesome and faithful God who always keeps His word! (Romans 4:20-25, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 10:23).

Food for Thought: What specific promise from God's Word is especially meaningful and assuring to you today? In what areas do you need to surrender more fully to God's care and authority based on the wonderful assurance that He will fulfill every one of His good promises to you without fail?

2.    The Law Showed Us Sin and Our Need for Christ's Forgiveness (vv. 19-25): In this passage, Paul gives us a vital insight into God's purpose for the Old Testament law which came hundreds of years after His covenant with Abraham. Contrary to what many believed, the law was never meant to be a means to earn righteousness before God. Rather, it was given to consciously expose the darkness of sin in man's heart and his desperate need for spiritual redemption. Much like a teacher in a school, the holy requirements of the law strictly govern and instruct us, making no excuses for our innate human corruption. When God commands "be perfect as I am perfect," the law reveals how hopelessly short we fall from His standard of flawless holiness. It awakens us to the severity of our guilt before a Judge who sees it all. The law serves to prepare hearts for the only means of salvation - trusting in the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Even followers of Jesus today must continually revisit the law of God and allow it to spotlight the depravity still active in our fallen nature. As we examine our lives in light of commands that tell us to love supremely, worship purely, and serve selflessly, we quickly realize how desperately we need a Savior to redeem us. Like a faithful schoolmaster, may the law turn our eyes upon Christ - the Lamb of God who takes away the sin, shame, and condemnation of all who call upon His Name! (Psalm 119:29-30, Romans 3:9-26, Galatians 3:10-14)

Food for Thought: What specific sins or struggles does God want to reveal in your life so you can turn from them and be washed clean in Christ's forgiveness? How does a proper understanding of God's perfect law highlight your need for Jesus today and lead you into a place of humble dependence on Him alone?

3.    We Become Children of God through Faith (vv. 26-29): In this passage, Paul reveals an incredibly beautiful truth - when anyone puts their faith in Christ, God spiritually adopts them as His very own child. Followers of Jesus have the highest honor and privilege of intimately calling Almighty God "Abba Father." Those who were once far off as condemned sinners have been brought refreshingly close to God without any merit of their own. What astounding, radical grace! The Creator of the cosmos looks with delight at those who trust in His Son and warmly declares, "You are my beloved son, my treasured daughter whom I love." We need not futilely attempt to earn divine acceptance through rule-keeping and good behavior as the Galatians once thought. Our righteous standing and access as dearly loved children is freely given through faith in Christ's finished work alone. As recipients of this lavish adoption, our lives should radiate with security, purpose and profound gratefulness. We can enjoy relationship with God based on beloved-ness rather than performance. And loving obedience flows freely from those who already know they are safe in their Papa's embrace. As His heirs, we serve God not cowering as slaves under law but as sons/daughters resting in our forever home (Romans 8:15, 2 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 4:5-7)

Food for Thought: How does seeing yourself as God's beloved, chosen child heal feelings of unworthiness, inadequacy or insecurity? What areas of legalistic rule-keeping do you need to surrender in order to live freely as His cherished son/daughter today?

We should continually rejoice in the unchanging promises of God that provide an unshakable foundation for our faith. Neither human efforts nor our failings can ever nullify His sworn covenant to make us heirs in Christ. As His beloved sons and daughters, we have the unmerited honor of intimate access to Almighty God. Freed from striving, we carry the purpose of sons and daughters - to walk in the security of our Papa’s delight and spread His goodness wherever we go. My prayer is that through this passage, we as God’s children would be strengthened in faith and renewed in devotion to our faithful Heavenly Father.



Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would anchor my heart in the certainty of Your promises, that I may withstand every storm or trial without wavering. Reveal any areas of legalism or self-effort that prevent me from resting as Your beloved, adopted child. Replace all striving with profound gratefulness, security and purpose in who I am in Christ alone. As your child, make me a conduit of Your love and grace. Use my life to echo the Good News of salvation by faith alone to those needing rescue from sin’s grip. I long for many more to gain the privilege of sonship that I have received from Your gracious hand.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.


Galatians 3:26 - For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.



With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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