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17My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.


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17. this I say—"this is what I mean," by what I said in Ga 3:15.

continued … of God—"ratified by God" (Ga 3:15).

in Christ—rather, "unto Christ" (compare Ga 3:16). However, Vulgate and the old Italian versions translate as English Version. But the oldest manuscripts omit the words altogether.

the law which wasGreek, "which came into existence four hundred thirty years after" (Ex 12:40, 41). He does not, as in the case of "the covenant," add "enacted by God" (Joh 1:17). The dispensation of "the promise" began with the call of Abraham from Ur into Canaan, and ended on the last night of his grandson Jacob's sojourn in Canaan, the land of promise. The dispensation of the law, which engenders bondage, was beginning to draw on from the time of his entrance into Egypt, the land of bondage. It was to Christ in him, as in his grandfather Abraham, and his father Isaac, not to him or them as persons, the promise was spoken. On the day following the last repetition of the promise orally (Ge 46:1-6), at Beer-sheba, Israel passed into Egypt. It is from the end, not from the beginning of the dispensation of promise, that the interval of four hundred thirty years between it and the law is to be counted. At Beer-sheba, after the covenant with Abimelech, Abraham called on the everlasting God, and the well was confirmed to him and his seed as an everlasting possession. Here God appeared to Isaac. Here Jacob received the promise of the blessing, for which God had called Abraham out of Ur, repeated for the last time, on the last night of his sojourn in the land of promise.

cannotGreek, "doth not disannul."

make … of none effect—The promise would become so, if the power of conferring the inheritance be transferred from it to the law (Ro 4:14).

18. the inheritance—all the blessings to be inherited by Abraham's literal and spiritual children, according to the promise made to him and to his Seed, Christ, justification and glorification (Ga 4:7; Ro 8:17; 1Co 6:9).

but God, &c.—The Greek order requires rather, "But to Abraham it was by promise that God hath given it." The conclusion is, Therefore the inheritance is not of, or from the law (Ro 4:14).




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