The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 67 of 207
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Great stress is laid by the apostle, both in Romans and in Galatians, upon the fact that
the promise made to Abraham was addressed to faith, and that the law can have no place
in the promises except to make them void. Let us hear the inspired argument, first from
Rom. 4: and then from Gal. 3::--
"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 . . . . . Therefore it
is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed"
(Rom. 4: 13-16).
The word "it" in verse 16 refers, not to the promise but to the inheritance. It is "out of
faith" (ek) "with the object that" (hina) it might be "according to" or "in harmony with
grace" (kata), "to the end (eis) that the promise might be sure".
As it is not our intention in this series to go into detailed exposition, but rather to
minister the "comfort of the Scriptures" in a simple fashion, we turn to the passage
parallel to Rom. 4: that is found in Gal. 3::--
"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. 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" (Gal. 3: 15-20).
The exposition of this passage demands a very high standard both of critical and
exegetical ability and of spiritual appreciation. Such gifts are not, however, demanded of
us at the moment. The general trend of the apostle's teaching is sufficiently clear to
enable us to comprehend the thought expressed in Rom. 4: 16:--
"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure
to all the seed."
The argument, borrowed from the affairs of men, is that if a man's covenant or will is
inviolable when once it is confirmed, then it is most certainly true that the covenant made
by God cannot be nullified by the coming in of the law of Sinai some four hundred and
thirty years after. The conditional covenant of Sinai has no reference to the unconditional
covenant of promise made to Abraham.
The argument is rounded off by the enigmatic statement of verse 20:  "Now a
mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one." Alford's note to this verse is of