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01v/11/arve/G2582/020This is a very good and useful quotation on an important text that has confused a lot of readers; leading them to wrong conclusions.

 

 

 

“Now, let us come to the central theme– the law. When Paul compares Hagar, Abraham’s servant, to Mount Sinai and the law which is given on that mountain, he is not referring to the substance of the law. For the law contains many promises of salvation which were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ; Paul himself declares this is several other passages, as we have already seen. If we take and apply the law in its proper and legitimate usage, we will see it as an incorruptible, life-giving seed, through which God becomes our Father and sets us free. The law only engenders servitude with relation to external issues, as we have discussed before. Our forefathers of old, though they were children of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven just like ourselves, were under tutors and governors. They were like little children, incomplete until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their ceremonies were like bridles and cords preventing those who observes them from enjoying the liberty that we have today through the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, when Paul speaks of the law creating servitude, he is speaking here of the way in which the Galatians misapplied the law, for he continues by saying that those who are under such servitude will eventually be banished and excluded from the family and inheritance of God. Thus, although our forefathers lived in servitude with regard to external things, yet they were free; for the Spirit gave them faith that overcame their bondage, as it says in the eighth chapter of Romans. Without faith, they could have been cut off from any hope of salvation. To sum up, Paul refers to the law here in the negative way because of the particular interpretation these hypocrites had made of it, corrupting it by reducing it to the observance of petty rules and by making their observance meritorious.”

–John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians, pg. 434,435

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