“Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it”
Paul now takes up an argument from the way humans make contracts with one another. This is an argument from human illustration.
Paul reaches out to the Galatians by the term “brethren.” Although Paul rebuked the Galatians, he still has them in his heart.
I speak in the manner of men:
Using a human argument, Paul assumes for the moment that when God gave the law to Moses, it ended His covenant with Abraham. This would mean the people could be saved by the law. Paul knew this was a false assumption because even under the Mosaic law, God saved people by faith, just as He does today. The Mosaic law could not save; it could only curse. For God to break His covenant with Abraham would be inconsistent with His character. He did not destroy salvation by faith when He gave Moses the law.
It was the Mosaic law that was temporary, not the Abrahamic covenant. The Mosaic law came after the Abrahamic covenant and ended immediately after the resurrection of Christ.
Though it is only a man’s covenant,
A “covenant” is a voluntary disposition of property. This is another way of saying “promise,” although a covenant is a more solemn agreement. It is a verbal agreement.
yet if it is confirmed,
The word “confirmed” means to make valid, ratify, impart authority, or influence. If God unilaterally ratifies His contract, then certain obligations follow for Him. He cannot set aside a validated covenant. His character demands He not change it. He will not change or revoke salvation by grace.
no one annuls
There are two ways you can change a contract: 1) annul it, and 2) add to it. The word “annuls” means to put to no value, the idea is to render it void. If we unilaterally cancel a contract as human beings, we are not true to our word. Even human contracts, once we confirm them, cannot change until they run out.
or adds to it
“Adds to” means to ordain besides, to add something to what has been ordained. It is not right to add a codicil to God’s covenant. Once God ratifies an unconditional covenant, we cannot change it, and even He cannot change it. A contract is a contract.
If we agree with a contractor to build a house for so many dollars, we cannot demand that the contractor add another room without changing the price. Neither can the contractor charge you more than what’s set out in the contract. The Contractor would never do this.
Although the Mosaic law is newer than the Abrahamic covenant, that does not make the Mosaic law better. The newer Mosaic law does not abrogate the older Abrahamic contract that God made for salvation. God does not breach faith with His promises.
God’s contract with Abraham was unconditional. It did not depend on Abraham’s belief; it depended entirely on God’s promise in grace. God made a no-strings-attached contract. If Abraham believed, God would justify him. It was all about grace.
God will never change justification by faith because His character never changes.
People market new ideas today as if their ideas are the latest and greatest. Newer is not necessarily better. God is always consistent with His promises made many years ago. He will never go back on His Word.
Man may change a contract, but God will always be true to His promises. God made a promise that we will have eternal life by grace through faith. He will never go back on that. To claim that God goes back on His Word would charge Him with a breach of faith. God’s commitment to us is still in force because He is always true to Himself.
If the business world does not alter a contract without permission, then a righteous God surely would not do it. He is immutable. God will never add anything to faith for salvation. He will never welch on His Word.