Gal 3:19-22 “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
If the covenant of God was established by promise (Gal 3:18), then of what use is the law? The law does not justify us before God, and it is a curse to us if we try to use it to do so. The law was added, after the promise, because of transgression.
As human beings, we have a difficult time with the concept that we are sinners. Sin is not so much about what we do as who we are by our carnal nature. The law was given so that we might have undeniable evidence before us that we are sinners. With the giving of the law, the idea of our sinful nature is no longer an abstract concept. Our actions under the law give concrete evidence that we are sinners. Transgression is not what makes us sinners; transgression proves that we are sinners.
Having tangible evidence of our sinful nature, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, we are now in a position to understand the depth of our need for a Savior. Being convinced and convicted of our lost estate, we hunger for the promise of God which is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God’s faithful messengers (angels – see Strong’s) declare in order (ordained) our hope in the hand of our mediator, the seed of promise.
Although Jesus is our mediator with the Father, He is still God, and God is one. Being the seed of promise in no way lessens His divine nature. Further, through the Spirit, we understand that the law, while it does not justify us, is not against the promises of God. The law, making our sinful nature evident, is used to teach us that we cannot rely on ourselves at all, but in all things must look to God and trust in Him.
If it were possible for a law to give us life, then righteousness would be by the law. Jesus would have had no need to become sin for us and die on the cross. He would not be the end of the law for righteousness, since the law could serve as its own end. The fact that God made a covenant promise is enough to show that the law could never be an end of itself.
The scripture has pronounced us all under sin: none of us are free of a sinful nature. We are conceived in sin (Psa 51:5), and Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2). The promise by faith of Jesus Christ is given to them that believe. This does not imply that our belief makes the work of Christ effective. The word of God (both preached and living) will accomplish that which pleases God and will prosper according to His purpose (Isa 55:11). Our belief, through the work of the Holy Spirit in showing us the things of Christ, causes us to have peace and joy in this gospel kingdom.
May the God of all grace convict us of our sinful nature and show us the infallible truth of His covenant promise in Jesus Christ!