Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In Galatians 3 Paul speaks of the seed of Abraham (vv. 16, 19, 29) and the sons of Abraham (v. 7). The seed is singular, whereas the sons are plural. It is rather difficult for many readers of Galatians to understand the significance of this.
Concerning God’s promise to Abraham, there is the aspect of fulfillment and the aspect of enjoyment. To fulfill the promise is one thing, but to enjoy the blessing of the promise is another. Concerning promises made by one person to another, the one who fulfills the promise is seldom the one who enjoys the blessing of the promise. Usually the person who makes the promise is the one to fulfill the promise, and the one to whom the promise is made is the one who enjoys its blessing. In the case of God’s promise to Abraham, God, strictly speaking, is not the one to fulfill the promise. Instead, the promise is fulfilled by the seed, Christ (v. 16). Christ has fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham. Thus, the fulfillment of this promise does not depend on the many sons of Abraham, but on the unique seed of Abraham. However, with respect to the enjoyment of the blessing of this promise, the many sons are involved. Whereas the unique seed is the fulfiller, the many sons are the enjoyers. If we understand this matter, we shall be able to understand what Paul is talking about in Galatians 3.
Paul wrote the third chapter of Galatians as if he were an attorney writing a legal document. His wording is specific and precise. Consider verse 16: “But to Abraham were the promises spoken and to his seed. He does not say, And to the seeds, as concerning many, but as concerning one, And to your seed, Who is Christ.” In verses 19 and 29 Paul also refers to the seed. But in verse 26 he speaks of the sons of God. The sons of Abraham in verse 7 are the sons of God in verse 26. Now we must ask how the many sons of Abraham can be the many sons of God. The answer to this question involves the seed. On the one hand, the seed is the heir who inherits the promise. However, as the seed of Abraham, Christ also fulfills the promise.
The children of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, inherited the good land of Canaan. In typology, the good land signifies Christ. Christ is both the seed and the land. He is not only the seed inheriting the promise; He is also the good land. Both the seed and the good land are types of Christ. As the unique seed in Galatians 3, Christ not only inherits the promise, but He also fulfills the promise. The promise God made to Abraham was fulfilled by Christ as Abraham’s seed.
In the matter of fulfilling the promise, we have no part. Only Christ, the unique seed, is qualified to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham. In this sense, the seed is uniquely one. But in the aspect of enjoying the fulfilled promise, the seed becomes many, the many sons of Abraham.
We know from 3:16 that Christ is Abraham’s unique seed. Christ is the seed, and the seed is the heir who inherits the promises. Here, Christ is the unique seed inheriting the promises. Hence, in order to inherit the promised blessing, we must be one with Christ. Outside of Him, we cannot inherit the promises given by God to Abraham. In God’s eyes Abraham has only one seed, Christ. We must be in Him that we may participate in the promise given to Abraham. He is not only the seed inheriting the promise, but also the blessing of the promise for inheritance. For the Galatian believers to turn back from Christ to the law meant that they would forfeit both the Heir and the inheritance of the promises.
If Christ had not come, there would have been no way for God to fulfill His promise to Abraham. As we have pointed out, the One who fulfilled this promise is not the One who made the promise, but the promised One, the seed. God had promised to give Abraham both a seed and the good land. This promise was fulfilled by the unique, promised seed.
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