Galatians 3:19 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.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21 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.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
God is good. He destroys all arguments against the truth. God wants people to know the truth and to believe the truth. Salvation is not of works. There is nothing that man can do to save himself. Man must turn to God in repentance and he must put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can pay the penalty that man owes to God. Jesus Christ presented His blood to His Father and his Father was satisfied, “propitiated” in Jesus’ sacrifice.
In verse 19 we noted that the law was given because of transgressions. The law was there to remind O.T. Jews that they could not please God in the flesh. There was no way to be forgiven of sin in the O.T. As we noted, the blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sin. It can only atone, “cover for” the sin. The O.T. saints needed to wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and for His shed blood to have their sins removed. Only His blood can take away sin.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus Christ came to fulfil the demands of the law. He was and is perfect. He is the eternal Son of God and He took upon Himself flesh in order to take our place and die on the cross and shed His blood so that repentant sinners could be saved. He fulfilled the demands of the law.
The promise made in the O.T. was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
God gave the law to Moses in the presence of the angels. They witnessed the giving of the law to Moses.
In order to make the law binding there needed to be a witness to the giving of the law. It had to be proven that the law was given. The angels were there to ordain, to arrange things properly in the giving of the law. God chose to do it that way.
In verse 20 Paul was directed by God to show the superiority of the promise. A mediator is not a mediator of one. A mediator is a go between for two parties. Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and men. Paul wrote that God is one. Paul is referring back to the promise given to Abraham. There was no mediator there. God was there and Abraham was there. God is one. Abraham needed to believe in God. There was no need for a mediator there because God gave His promise directly to Abraham.
The law was given to Moses on mount Sinai to be given to Israel. Moses was the mediator of the law. However, when God gave Abraham the promise, there was no mediator. It was given directly to Abraham.
God directed Paul to remind the saints in Galatia and us, that the promise He gave to Abraham was greater and took precedence to the law that was given 430 years after. As we have noted, the promise was a direct promise to Abraham. The law was given by God to Moses to be given to the nation. The law does not override the promise.
Abraham believed God and He, God, counted it for righteousness to Abraham.
In verse 21 God took away any suggestion that the law was in conflict with the promises of God. The answer is: “God forbid”. God knew what He was doing then and He still knows what He is doing now. The law was not given to save anyone. Abraham was justified by faith. If the law could somehow give life, then righteousness should have been by the law. The O.T. Jews should have been saved by law keeping if the law could save them. No one would then have been saved.
In verse 22 Paul stated that the Scripture has concluded all under sin. That happened when Adam sinned. The promise was given by faith in Jesus Christ to them that believe. We come again to that word “believe”. Abraham believed God. He proved that belief by his actions. He did not work to gain the promise. He accepted it by faith.
In verse 22 Paul spoke of the promise by faith of Jesus Christ. We noted earlier that Abraham looked beyond his son Isaac in the promise of God. He knew there was someone else in mind. Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham received Isaac in a figure after God tested him on mount Moriah. Abraham knew there was more to God’s promise than he could see with the naked eye.
Paul tells us that the ultimate faith is the faith of Jesus Christ. That was Abraham’s hope and that must be the hope of the Galatian saints and it must be the hope of all who are saved today. The Galatian saints were not saved by works. They were saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Judaizers were wrong and their heresy needed to be rejected. The Galatian saints should not entertain that lie for a moment. They needed to follow the truth.
The same is true for us today. We must believe the truth and reject the lies that are so prevalent. In verse 23 Paul used “we” to speak of the Jews. They were given the law. Jesus Christ was not on earth in the Old Testament times. He was promised, but He was not here. They were kept under the law until Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law.
Thus in verse 24, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. Paul wrote in the past tense here. The Jews were under the law until Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law. The law showed them they could not keep it. They were not able to keep it. There were some like the young man who came running to Jesus in Matthew 19. He wanted to justify himself before Jesus. Jesus knew this man’s heart. He knew the man was a liar. Jesus told him what he lacked. When Jesus told him what he lacked, the man went away sorrowful. He was a rich man and he did not want to give up his riches. He was trusting in that.
Paul stated that the law was our schoolmaster. There are still many people today who claim to live by law keeping. The Seventh Day Adventists are such a group. There are many others who claim to live by law keeping.
Verse 24 of our text shows us that the faithful, like Abraham, are justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 25 we read that after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Paul was saved and he was no longer under the bondage of the law. He was given life and Jesus Christ was the end of the law to him because his righteousness was found in Christ.
The saints in Galatia were not under the schoolmaster any longer either. Circumcision could never save anyone. It was foolish for the Judaizers to go around and try to deceive people into believing a lie. It was also foolish for the Galatian saints to put any credibility to the lie of the Judaizers. They had been delivered. They needed to live in the light of the liberty they were given in Jesus Christ.