15 Brothers and sisters, let me give you an example from everyday life. No one can get rid of an official agreement between people. No one can add to it. It can’t be changed after it has been made. It is the same with God’s covenant agreement. 16 The promises were given to Abraham. They were also given to his seed. Scripture does not say, “and to seeds.” That means many people. It says, “and to your seed.” (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7) That means one person. And that one person is Christ. 17 Here is what I mean. The law came 430 years after the promise. But the law does not get rid of God’s covenant and promise. The covenant had already been made by God. So the law does not do away with the promise. 18 The great gift that God has for us does not depend on the law. If it did, it would no longer depend on the promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a free gift through a promise.
I see a contrast is being made here – between following a set of laws, or being held in a promise (covenant/agreement). God’s promise to Abraham came first, we’ll before the law came to help God’s people follow him.
When I think of laws, I think of rules to be followed or obeyed, without anything personal being involved in the keeping of the rules. When I obey the speed limit ruling, I don’t have anyone in mind for whom I’m obeying this ruling. However, when I think of promises made to me or that I’ve made, I think of people – to who I owe a promise kept, or who have given me their word. In other words, promise to me are deeply personal, fundamentally relational.
What this passage tells me about God is this – God is first and foremost, because of His grace, about relationship with us. And whatever laws or rules he may give, they are given well and truly after he establishes with us that it’s ALL about relationship with Him.
Rule keeping is never never a substitute for relating to you God. You made us for relationship with yourself, first and foremost. Everything that you teach us in this life comes out of that promise, and that purpose – that we live each day in relationship with you.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh