Our freedom has been thus purchased in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing belonging to Abraham may come upon the nations, so that through faith we may receive the promised Spirit.
Brethren, even a covenant made by a man--to borrow an illustration from daily life--when once formally sanctioned is not liable to be set aside or added to.
(Now the promises were given to Abraham and to his seed. God did not say "and to seeds," as if speaking of many, but "and to your seed," since He spoke of only one--and this is Christ.)
I mean that the Covenant which God had already formally made is not abrogated by the Law which was given four hundred and thirty years later--so as to annul the promise.
For if the inheritance comes through obedience to Law, it no longer comes because of a promise. But, as a matter of fact, God has granted it to Abraham in fulfilment of a promise.
Why then was the Law given? It was imposed later on for the sake of defining sin, until the seed should come to whom God had made the promise; and its details were laid down by a mediator with the help of angels.
But there cannot be a mediator where only one individual is concerned.
God, however, is only one. Is the Law then opposed to the promises of God? No, indeed; for if a Law had been given which could have conferred Life, righteousness would certainly have come by the Law.
But Scripture has shown that all mankind are the prisoners of sin, in order that the promised blessing, which depends on faith in Jesus Christ, may be given to those who believe.
Before this faith came, we Jews were perpetual prisoners under the Law, living under restraints and limitations in preparation for the faith which was soon to be revealed.
So that the Law has acted the part of a tutor-slave to lead us to Christ, in order that through faith we may be declared to be free from guilt.