To What End?

MAIN POINT OF PASSAGE (in one sentence): When sin is revealed, grace can be realized.

APPLICATION FROM THE PASSAGE:  When sin is revealed, respond with grace.


“The other day my mind went to places that God is not proud of. I wish I didn’t do that, and I don’t know what to do when it happens.” I could hear the shame and guilt in his voice. “I know it is wrong,” he said. I sympathized with him, since I, too, find myself in that same place at times. We discussed how our past church experiences impacted our responses to the recognized sin in our lives. We both had been misled concerning God’s purpose in revealing sin, and our responses to our sin demonstrated our faulty beliefs.

  • What is your response when you fail to follow God’s commands?


15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 19-22.)

  1. In verse 19a, what reason did Paul give for one purpose of the Law?
  2. What is another attribute that differentiated the Law from God’s promise (vs. 20)?
  3. The Law would have been on the same level as God’s promises, given a certain condition. What was it lacking (vs. 21)?
  4. Why did Paul emphatically deny the Law being contrary to God’s promise? What makes it good (vss. 21-22)?
  5. When God uses his Word to reveal sin in your life, what difference would it make in your response if you saw these revelations as opportunities to come to him?

RESPOND TO GOD (115 words)

Much like the Galatians—who were misled in their beliefs regarding the true purpose of the Law—we can easily place righteousness attained by obedience to God’s commands as equal to righteousness received by his promise. Guilt, shame, justification, or declarations to do better result when we fail to follow God’s commands and seek to understand their purpose. The Law imprisons us under sin; but when sin is revealed, freedom can be realized through grace.

  • Ask God’s forgiveness for the ways you’ve made righteousness something to be attained instead of something to be received.
  • Thank him that, in revealing your sin through his commands, he creates an opportunity for you to come to him.