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I saw other people walking on the grass, and did not realize that there were certain sections where this was not allowed. I did not know that it was forbidden in that particular place. If men disobey God, they transgress. It is impossible to be justified by the law, for to be justified is to be cleared from every charge of guilt.

The law brings the charge home, the law convicts me of my guilt, and the law condemns me because of that guilt. Three times those words are quoted for us in the New Testament. And here we have them in the epistle to the Galatians. How do men become just before God?

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But if justified by faith, how is one maintained before God in that position? Is it not now by works of their own? The trouble is, man does not do right.

  1. Lectures on Galatians | Plymouth Brethren Archive!
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If one commandment out often has been violated that man has forfeited all claim to life. Suppose a man falling over a precipice reached out his hand as he went over, and caught hold of a chain fastened to some stump in the cliff, and there hung on to the chain. The chain had ten links.

1. Exegetical Issues

How many would have to break to drop the man into the abyss below? Only one. The law is like that chain; when you sinned the first time you broke the link and down you went, and you are in the place of condemnation if not saved. You never can fit yourself for the presence of God by any works of righteousness that you can do. Now see the glorious message of reconciliation! But if He Himself has violated that law, He is subject to its penalty and never can redeem us; but how careful the Word of God has been to show that He never came under that penalty.

He was holy in nature from the moment He came into the world. His life was absolutely pure as He went through this scene. He magnified the law and made it honorable by a life of devotion to the will of God.

Paul's Theology of the Law in "Galatians"--by Maria Grace, Ph.D.

He against whom God had nothing, voluntarily took our place, went to the cross, and there paid the penalty that we should have paid. If I had to pay, eternity would be too short for it, but He, the Eternal One, hung on the cross, settled to the utmost farthing every claim that the offended law had against me, and now I receive Him, trust Him as my Savior, and what is the result? I am delivered from the curse of the law. I shall never forget, after struggling for so long to work out a righteousness of my own, the joy that came to me when I was led to look by faith at yonder cross, an empty cross now.

I knew He was there on my behalf. He, the sinless One, was suffering there for me, the sinner, and I looked up to Him. Thou hast none of Thine own, but art bearing mine. Who would want to work out a righteousness of his own when he can have one so much better through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

And now because of that, the blessing of Abraham may come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus; we may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. But now Christ has died, not for Jews only but for the Gentiles also, and because of His work the message goes out to the whole world that God can save every one who believes on the Lord Jesus, and all believers become in faith the children of Abraham and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God.

God made a covenant of unconditional grace to Abraham long years before. Later the law came in, but did that invalidate the covenant of pure grace made to Abraham? When the apostle discusses this same subject in Romans 4, he says, in the opening verses,. What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. Romans What does that mean? It means that if you had to do something to earn your salvation you would not be saved by grace.

I earned this. You cannot become a Christian by trying any more than you could become the Prince of Wales by trying. You are what you are by birth. You are what you are as a sinner by natural birth, and you become a child of God through second birth, through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessing of Abraham is yours when you receive it by faith. 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.

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.


For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. We have been considering in our studies of the earlier part of this chapter the relationship that the law had, the law as given at Sinai, to the unconditional promise of grace which God gave to Abraham years before, and we have seen that the law coming in afterward could not add to nor take away from the covenant already made.

Why did God give it at all? We are all so ready to excuse ourselves, to say if we had known better we would not have done the wrong thing. Have you always done the best you knew? Have you always done the best you could? If you are absolutely honest before God, you know that you have not. Again and again we have all sinned against light and knowledge, we have known far better than we have done.

Thus we have failed to glorify God, and by going contrary to His revealed will we have proven ourselves not only sinners but transgressors.

Overview: Galatians

I am no hunter, but I went with him for the exercise. He had a fine new rifle which he was very eager to try out. He gave evidence of his prowess with that weapon. At first I could not possibly see it, but as he pointed it out I would see something that was just a moving speck away over on the opposite wall. That seems so typical of our people that I have wanted to keep it up. For the moment I did not ask him why he used that expression. I could hardly believe that any one could do such a thing. You were not doing anything wrong when you did not hit that wand.

But in the law we have something more than that. God has set up a standard of righteousness. Now if man sins knowing the revealed will of God, if he fails to obey that law, it is evident that he is not only a sinner but a transgressor. That was one reason for which God gave the law-that men might have a deeper sense of the seriousness of self-will which is the very essence of sin, of rebellion against God.

When God gave the law He gave it in the hands of a mediator, and Moses sprinkled the book of the covenant and also the people with the blood of the covenant, testifying to the fact that if man fails to keep his side of the covenant he must die, but also signifying that God would provide a Savior, a Redeemer.

The question arises, Is the law against the promises of God by bringing in certain terms which were not in the original promise? Does the law set the promises to one side?

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God forbid. All my life I have never wanted to feel indebted to other people for anything. According to what you said tonight, if I keep the law perfectly I will live and will owe nothing to any one. Is that right? Therefore, because the law cannot give life, you will never be able to earn anything on that ground.

He puts all men on one common level. Men imagine that there are a great many differences. Do you mean to tell me that having tried all my life to live a decent and respectable life, God does not see any difference between me and people living lives of sin and iniquity? Which one of us would go in first? God demands absolute righteousness of sinners before they enter heaven. Remember that God has said that, not some zealous, earnest preacher or evangelist, but God Himself by the Holy Spirit.