Why The Law? – Galatians 3:19-22

As you have seen thus far Galatians 3 is a tough chapter. Lots of phrases that can be confused if one does not understand the proper context. When reading Scripture it is best to understand the beliefs and life of the writer, the time period of the writing, and who is the audience. In this case we have Paul, who when he defended himself states he was educated under Gamaliel (which is not small thing), a Pharisee and son of Pharisees, brought offerings, found in the temple purified, he committed no offense against the law of the Jews, and in Acts 24:14 states “I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets”. So from this we see that Paul was well educated, still considered himself a Pharisee, still followed Torah, and believed in everything in the Tanak (what you may call Old Testatement).

Therefore, when looking at Scripture that Paul wrote one must keep this information in mind. For if Paul says all these things (Luke writes them), but teaches something different, then everything he wrote is questionable at best.

Let’s examine Galatians 3:19-22 which says:

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.  Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas G-d is only one.  Is the Law then contrary to the promises of G-d? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.  But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Yeshua might be given to those who believe.

Paul says the Law was added because of transgressions which is basically sin. You might be going wait a minute, if transgressing the Torah is sin how was the Torah added due to sin? Paul did right about this in Romans 5:13 – for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. In other words, sin was in the world, but you did not know it was sin. Therefore, G-d was not holding one accountable to it. Now with the Torah known you know what how sin is defined.  Now we see that we are not righteous in of ourselves and we need a savior. Amen that G-d provided for us! Take note, this does not mean we should continue to sin. Many believe the rest of the verse shows that Paul was stating the Torah is no longer before us. Nothing can be further from the truth. If I may let’s remove the words in between the commas and see if the verse is any clearer. It (Torah) was added because of transgressions until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Until the seed would come is the Messiah. What did the Messiah do for us? He took away our transgressions, our sins. It is not the Torah that was added until the Messiah came. No, it is the transgressions that have been done away with, not Torah. Paul could have said here , as he did in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in transgression now that the offspring has come? By no means!”

Paul continues on explaining that the Torah was never meant to impart life…give you salvation. The Mosaic Covenant does not impart life. Salvation comes from the promise given to Avraham. The Torah exists for 3 reasons:

  1. To provide G-d’s righteous standard
  2. Define sin which is breaking the standard
  3. To show that we fall short of this standard

Israel (you and me) was not saved because they received Torah, they received Torah because they had already entered into the covenant that saves….Avraham’s Covenant.

It is time to wrap this up today, but I hope you are starting to understand what Paul was writing about in Galatians. The Torah was never meant to save anyone. The works of Torah will not save you.

What do you think? Is this the Torah for all believers? Even Christians….

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!