Introduction: In Genesis 15:6 it says that “Abram believed the Lord,
and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Paul tells us that this
is the model God has in mind for us. We need to believe and trust
God. If we do, that is sufficient for us to be in a right
relationship with Him. That is our ticket to heaven. But, is this
correct? What about the fact that God gave the Ten Commandments to
His people through Moses? What about the fact that Jesus made
obedience even more difficult by saying that looking “lustfully” was
“heart” adultery and just getting angry subjected you to judgment
just like murder subjects you to judgment(Matthew 5)? Talk about
making the standards more rigorous! Paul discusses the impact of the
law in our study this week. Let’s dive into the Bible and learn more!

    1. The Promise


      1. Read Galatians 3:15. What do you think is a “human
        covenant?” (A covenant is a contract, an agreement between
        two (or more) people.)


        1. Think about the last time you signed a contract. Did
          you promise to do anything? Did the other party
          promise to do something? (Lawyers call these promises
          “consideration.” Each party to the contract makes a
          promise to do something.)


      1. Look again at Galatians 3:15. What does Paul say cannot
        be done to a signed contract? (You abide by its terms. You
        cannot ask more, and you cannot do less than you


        1. Is that your experience? (Paul is talking about what
          can be enforced. He is talking about the ideal. If
          you give your promise in a contract, you should keep
          it. If you agree that the other person should do a
          specific thing, you should not expect them to do


      1. Read Galatians 3:16-17. How would you fit the Ten
        Commandments into the discussion we just had about
        contract promises? If the contract is that God considers
        you righteous if you trusted Him, what would be your
        reaction to adding the Ten Commandments? (I would complain
        about a breach of contract. I would complain even more
        loudly if God told me that those rules would be construed
        in the strictest way possible! I would argue that God was
        asking me to do a lot more than the original contract.)


        1. What is Paul’s point here? (God would not do that.
          The law was not been given as part of the original
          contract between God and humans. It was given for
          some other purpose. The original contract stands.)


    1. Seed


      1. Read again Galatians 3:16 and focus on the discussion
        about “seed” and “seeds.” Is Paul saying that this
        contract was not between God and Abraham (and his
        descendants), but rather between God, Abraham and Jesus?


        1. How could God make a contract with Himself? God the
          Father made a contract with God the Son?


        1. Is there any doubt that the “seed” is Jesus? (Paul
          specifically says that the seed is Christ.)


      1. Look again at the beginning of Galatians 3:17. Does Paul
        anticipate that we might not understand this? (He says,
        “What I mean is….” I don’t understand this supposed
        contract with Jesus, so we need to continue to see if Paul
        clarifies it later on.)


      1. Read Galatians 3:18. Paul now introduces another legal
        term, “inheritance.” What does inheritance have to do with
        what we are discussing? (A person can inherit contractual
        rights. Let’s say that your father agreed to rent land to
        someone else for ten years for $10,000 a year. If your
        father died, and you inherited the land, you would take
        the land subject to the contract – which means that you
        continue the promise and you continue to benefit from the
        promise made by the other person. I think Paul tells us
        that we inherited Abraham’s interest in the contract made
        between God and Abraham.)


      1. Read Galatians 3:19. How does this clarify the prior
        confusion about the Seed? (Instead of saying that the
        “Seed” is a beneficiary of the contract, it says the
        “Seed” is the subject of the contract. That makes perfect
        sense to me!)


    1. The Law


      1. Let’s look at that part of Galatians 3:19 that talks about
        the “purpose” of the law. What does it state is the
        purpose of the law? (It was added “because of
        transgressions,” and it has a limited time of


        1. If Jesus obeyed the law on our behalf, and we are not
          subject to the penalty of the law, why would there be
          a need for the law to fill in the gap until Jesus
          came? Why would they need anything? (Think about the
          bigger picture. Does God want us to sin? Obviously
          not. Jesus came and kept the law in part to show that
          Adam could have kept the law. Keeping the law is a
          good thing. When Jesus came, He not only showed us
          how to live (showed us “more than the law” was the
          ideal, just keeping the law was aiming too low), He
          also sent the Holy Spirit to help us live a life in
          accord with God’s will. We needed a guide.)


      1. Read Galatians 3:19-20. I’ve included verse 19 because I
        want to focus on the reference to a “mediator.” Who do you
        think is this mediator? Moses? (Read 1 Timothy 2:5-6 and
        Hebrews 9:15. These verses clearly call Jesus our Mediator
        – especially because of His death on our behalf.)


        1. Look again at Galatians 19:19. Did Jesus put the law
          into “effect through angels?” How was the law part
          of the mediation? (Read Romans 5:10 and 2 Corinthians
          5:17-19. God is holy and we are not. God’s people,
          during their Egyptian captivity, had apparently lost
          sight of God’s goal for their lives. To help them to
          come into better conformity with God’s will, He gave
          them the law. Thus, I think that Moses is the
          original “mediator.” However, Jesus is the true
          Mediator when He lived and died and paid the penalty
          for our sins.)


        1. What is Paul’s point by writing that “God is one?”
          What does this have to do with Jesus being the
          “Mediator?” (A mediator does not represent either
          party. In current American law, a mediator tries to
          bring the two opposing parties into agreement. Jesus
          is fully God and fully human. He is One with God.
          Thus, Jesus has, in the most extraordinary sense,
          brought us together with God.)


      1. Re-read the first sentence of Galatians 3:19 and then read
        the first sentence of Galatians 3:21. We will study
        Galatians 3:21 next week, but right now I want you to look
        at the two questions posed in these two verses. Are both
        questions asking us the same thing? (Yes. If we can
        understand the purpose of the law, then we can tell
        whether it is opposed to the original contract between God
        and Abraham.)


        1. Considering God’s overall goal for us, is the law in
          conflict with the contract?


        1. What did God want Abraham to do? (Trust Him!)


        1. Why would God want humans to trust Him? (They would
          live in harmony with God. We would trust that God’s
          way and God’s will were the best thing for our


        1. What does the law do for us? (Read Romans 7:7. The
          law reveals God’s will for us. Want to know how to
          live a life in harmony with God’s will? Read the Ten


        1. What about Jesus’ comments on lust and anger being
          problems on the level of adultery and murder? Is that
          direction something that helps us to be in harmony
          with God? (Read James 1:13-15. Humans do not
          accidentally stumble into adultery or murder. The act
          begins with a desire, a plot in the mind, to do these
          deeds. I think Jesus’ point is that if you do not
          commit adultery or murder simply because you do not
          have the opportunity, your life is not in harmony
          with God’s will. If you are planning to commit
          adultery or murder, then your life is not in harmony
          with God’s will.)


      1. How then, should we live? (If we accept Jesus’ life, death
        and resurrection on our behalf, we have assurance that the
        penalty for sin does not apply to us. We are saved. At the
        same time, when we lead a life directed by the Holy
        Spirit, we realize that the whole point of what Jesus did
        was to bring us into harmony with God. Through the aid of
        the Holy Spirit, we choose to direct our thoughts and our
        lives in a way that is consistent with God’s revealed
        commands. We do this because we trust God. We know that
        this will make our lives better, and we know that this
        will bring glory to God!)


      1. Friend, will you accept what Jesus has done on your
        behalf? Will you agree to trust Him in all that you do?


  1. Next week: The Road to Faith.