Brothers, speaking of human terms, though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, “To seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “To your seed,” which is Christ. Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.
What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one.
Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law. But the Scriptures imprisoned all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
What then is denominationalism? It was added because of transgressions, until the time when we would set these things aside and once more grasp and cling to the promise set forth through Abraham through his seed, being Christ. Is denominationalism then against the promises of God? I don’t think so. It’s used to remind us that there is something better and that “better” is the promise by faith in Jesus Christ given to those who believe. But before we could live by this simple faith, we were held in check, in custody if you will, by our denominations, confined until our faith could grow. Denominations are therefore our tutors that bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
- The law did not annul the promise. It was, in Paul’s words, “added because of transgressions.” It’s very hard to simply live by faith in Christ. There are no clear bumpers or boundaries to keep us in check. Therefore, new laws have sprung up over the ages in the form of denomination. Agree or disagree?
- Do denominations lead us to the truth in Christ?
- Has faith developed in your life to the point where you no longer need a tutor?
Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent your very best for us. May Jesus Christ finally be enough for each and every one of us. When we see your law creeping into our lives in its various and sundry forms, help us to once again reach for Christ and the freedom found in living in faith in him rather than for the comfort of the shackles of a religious life. Amen!