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No.67. (25) GALATIANS.
Galatians 3: 13 - 20.
The super-added law.
pp. 108 - 112
We commence, as promised at the close of the last article, an examination of
Gal. 3: 19, especially on four counts. (1) What was "the law"? (2) Why was it that
this was "added" and to what? (3) What is the true significance of charin translated
"because"? (4) Who is intended by the Mediator?
"Wherefore then serveth the law?" This is a legitimate question. For while we grant
that the promise given to Abraham cannot be invalidated by the law subsequently given,
yet the law is the law of God and it cannot be lightly set aside. It must have a purpose.
Under the one category ho nomos "the law" we must allow three great subdivisions
(1) The Moral Law, (2) The Sacrificial Law, (3) The Political and Civil Law. These
Galatians were being induced to make their salvation secure by grafting on to the
gracious plan of salvation revealed in the gospel the ritual of the law of Moses. "Except
ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved" (Acts 15: 1); and
although they may not have been sensible to the implication, the Apostle assures them
that if they submit to this rite of circumcision Christ shall profit them nothing; they
become debtors to do the whole law, they are fallen from grace (Gal. 5: 2-4).
When the Apostle asked the question:
"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the
flesh?" (Gal. 3: 3),
the words "by the flesh" can well refer to the carnal observances of the ceremonial law.
It is to this particular association with the ceremonial law that the Apostle refers in
Gal. 4: when he likened their retrograde movement as parallel with a return to paganism,
"Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years, I am afraid of you" (Gal. 4: 10-11).
Whitby has a comment on this passage which says:
"The Galatians are said to return to those elements, not because they before observed
Jewish ceremonies, but because the ceremonies of the law being in matter mostly the
same with those the Gentiles used to their heathen deities, by returning to them, they
returned to those elements."
This "law" the Apostle said was to continue "till the Seed should come". In one
sense, this is true of the whole law, whether it be the moral law, the ceremonial law, or
the burdensome statutes and laws that governed the political life of Israel when in the
land. All law, all the works of law, all ideas of ever attaining to righteousness and life by