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"It is evident" said the Apostle (and his survey of the law as a means of righteousness
reveals the weakness of the law [?flesh]) that the law means nothing apart from `works'.
A law that is never obeyed is a law that virtually does not exist. Consequently therefore,
while the Apostle sometimes says the law justified no one, he is explicit elsewhere and
says it is the `works' of the law attempted by `the flesh' that make justification by the law
impossible. There is nothing wrong in the law itself; it is the failure of all flesh to
conform to its high demands that makes justification by law impossible to man. It will be
no vain repetition to summarize the Apostle's teaching under another heading, namely:
(2) The Law and Works.
"A man is not justified by the works of the law . . . . . not by the works of the law: for
by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (2: 16).
"Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law?" (3: 2).
"He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles . . . . . doeth he
it by the works of the law?" (3: 5).
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse" (3: 10).
"I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole
law" (5: 3).
If the failure of the law to justify the sinner resides in the necessity to produce
acceptable `works' which the flesh is quite unable to produce, and if nevertheless man
can be justified before God, then some other way must have been found and so we have
already discovered (No.3 of this series) that `works of law' give place to the `faith of
Christ'. This brings us to the redeeming work of Christ.
(3) The Law and the Cross.
"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God, I am crucified
with Christ" (2: 19, 20).
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it
is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (3: 13).
"When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman,
made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law" (4: 4, 5).
One other argument concerning the law must be noticed and that is the purpose which
it served, in view of the fact that it was a foregone conclusion that it would prove to be a
ministry of condemnation and death.
(4) The Law and the Promise.
(a) Using the illustration of a "man's covenant (or will)" and relying upon the
knowledge that the Galatians had of the law obtaining in Asia Minor concerning the
making of a "will", the Apostle says:
"Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if
it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto . . . . . And this I say, that the
covenant . . . . . which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it
should make the promise of none effect" (3: 15, 17).