Editor’s Note: The AMI Devotional QT from June 6-12 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor intern at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Galatians 3:15-20 (ESV)
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.
When I was a child, my dad would often have to go on business trips, sometimes very long trips to Taiwan. I didn’t like that he was away and thought that if only he had a private jet, he could come back much faster. So, one day, I promised him that I would grow up to make a lot of money and buy him his own personal private jet. I guess he didn’t believe me, because he wanted proof of it, a written contract if you will. So I drew an airplane on a piece of paper, signed my name on it, and handed it to him. I hope he doesn’t find that contract, because I don’t think I will ever be able to honor it.
A promise from God is not as fickle as a promise we make to one another. We might go back on our promises, or even due to circumstances simply be unable to fulfill it. But God always follows through on His promises. If man-made promises, in the highest degree, are contractually binding, how much more binding is a covenant that God makes with people?
With those lens, it’s important to see that the promise of grace precedes the giving of the Law. Paul argues that the gospel he has shared with the Galatians about the free grace of God through Jesus Christ was not a new invention that he came up with; rather, it dates all the way back to Abraham. He recounts to them God’s promise, that through the offspring of Abraham—not offsprings—He would bring blessing to all the nations on the earth. The offspring that He referred to is now revealed as His Son, Jesus. The Law is not a set of rules that is in competition to grace; rather, it is subordinate to grace. It is merely a subset in the grand scheme of grace that God had already set into motion, long before Moses was even born. Paul takes it a step further by showing that the Law was given through a middle-man, but the promise of grace was given directly by God to Abraham. Trust in His promise today, for He is trustworthy!
Prayer: Father God, Your promises are true. Thank You for Your grace and Your promise to love me. Help me to be confident in that promise when I feel unlovable, for Your words are trustworthy and true.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 67
Lunch Break Study
Read Genesis 22:15-19 (ESV): “And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’”
Question to Consider
- Read Genesis 22:9-14. How did Abraham obey God by not withholding his son from God?
- Who is the offspring God is referring to?
- God called Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac, which would have meant that God wasn’t going to keep His initial promise made to him; yet Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, trusting that God would somehow keep the promise.
- Abraham must have thought that the offspring that God was referring to was Isaac, and it was through the line of Isaac that the nation of Israel was formed. But ultimately, it is referring to Jesus, through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
Philip Ryken says, “Salvation in Christ does not rest on a law that we inevitably break; it rests on a promise that God cannot break.” As you close the day, spend some time thanking the Lord for His promise of salvation to us. May you find a new joy in this amazing grace.