The Everlasting Covenant
Galatians 3:17
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after…

I. DIVINE GRACE IS PLEDGED BY COVENANT. The grace here referred to is offered to Abraham and through him to all nations (Genesis 12:1-3). Thus offered in covenant, it is

(1) definitely promised by God,

(2) with the confirmation of an oath,

(3) on condition, however, of our faith.

We are not left to speculate about the grace of God as a possibility; it is distinctly revealed. Nor are we in doubt as to its permanence; it is pledged for the future.


1. As a revelation of truth it is eternal. Truth does not vary with time. When once a genuine truth has been seen, no later knowledge of another truth can set it aside. The discovery of Australia did not invalidate the earlier discovery of America.

2. As a declaration of God's will it is eternal. God does not vacillate, like a fickle, capricious despot. He is constancy itself. What he wills now he wills for ever.

3. As a pledge of God's honour it is eternal. It is in infinite condescension to our weakness that God makes us a promise. We ought to be able to rely on his love and goodness alone. But since he has mercifully stooped to encourage us in our poor faith by promise and pledge, herein lies the greater assurance to us of his changeless grace.

III. THE COVENANT OF GRACE IS MORE ANCIENT THAN THE CURSE OF THE LAW. The Judaizers claim precedence for the Law over the gospel because of its greater antiquity. But St. Paul reminds them that the promise on which the gospel is founded is a still more ancient Divine word. Grace precedes wrath; love is anterior to Law. The first vision of God is a revelation of loving-kindness. The weight and dignity of hoary age are with the blessings of God's goodness. A shallow research discovers Law; dig deeper, penetrate further, and you find love.


1. They may obscure it. The severity of the Law appeared to hide the gracious promise to Abraham. Dark dispensations of Providence sometimes come between us and God's love. We cannot reconcile the harder with the more pleasing utterances of Scripture. Stern voices sometimes repel us when we are hungering for gentle voices to comfort.

2. Nevertheless, these later revelations do not nullify the earlier promises. The grace is still undiminished, though for a time it is beyond our gaze and grasp. Presently it will break out in more than its pristine splendour, as the sun shines more brightly than ever after it has been hidden by a brief summer shower. The purpose of grace both precedes and outlives the threatenings of Law. The thunders of Sinai are but an interlude between the promise of love at Bethel and its fulfilment at Bethlehem. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

WEB: Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect.

The Everlasting Covenant
Top of Page
Top of Page