Home      Back to Trinity 13





John Wesley's notes on the Epistle to the Galatians 3:16-22

16. Now the promises were made to Abraham and his seed - Several promises were made to
Abraham; but the chief of all, and which was several times repeated, was that of the blessing through Christ. He - That is, God. Saith not, And to seeds, as of many - As if the promise were made to several kinds of seed. But as of one - That is, one kind of seed, one posterity, one kind of sons. And to all these the blessing belonged by promise. Which is Christ - including all that believe in him. Gen. xxii, 18.

17. And this I say - What I mean is this. The covenant which was before confirmed of God -
By the promise itself, by the repetition of it, and by a solemn oath, concerning the blessing all
nations. Through Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years after - Counting from
the time when the promise was first made to Abraham, Gen. xii, 2, 3. Doth not disannul, so as to
make the promise of no effect - With regard to all nations, if only the Jewish were to receive it;
yea, with regard to them also, if it was by works, so as to supersede it, and introduce another way
of obtaining the blessing.

18. And again - This is a new argument. The former was drawn from the time, this from the
nature, of the transaction. If the eternal inheritance be obtained by keeping the law, it is no more
by virtue of the free promise - These being just opposite to each other. But it is by promise. Therefore it is not by the law.

19. It - The ceremonial law. Was added - To the promise. Because of transgressions - Probably,
the yoke of the ceremonial law was inflicted as a punishment for the national sin of idolatry, Exod.
xxxii, 1, at least the more grievous parts of it; and the whole of it was a prophetic type of Christ.
The moral law was added to the promise to discover and restrain transgressions, to convince men
of their guilt, and need of the promise, and give some check to sin. And this law passeth not away;
but the ceremonial law was only introduced till Christ, the seed to or through whom the promise
was made, should come. And it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator - It was not given to Israel, like the promise to Abraham, immediately from God himself; but was conveyed by the ministry of angels to Moses, and delivered into his hand as a mediator between God and them, to remind them of the great Mediator.

20. Now the mediator is not a mediator of one - There must be two parties, or there can be no
mediator between them; but God who made the free promise to Abraham is only one of the parties.  The other, Abraham, was not present at the time of Moses. Therefore in the promise Moses had nothing to do. The law, wherein he was concerned, was a transaction of quite another nature.

21. Will it follow from hence that the law is against, opposite to, the promises of God? By no
means. They are well consistent. But yet the law cannot give life, as the promise doth. If there had
been a law which could have given life - Which could have entitled a sinner to life, God would have spared his own Son, and righteousness, or justification. with all the blessings consequent upon it, would have been by that law.

22. But, on the contrary, the scripture wherein that law is written hath concluded all under sin
- Hath shut them up together, (so the word properly signifies,) as in a prison, under sentence of
death, to the end that all being cut off from expecting justification by the law, the promise might
be freely given to them that believe.