By Theodore Epp
The passage before us says that the Law "was added" (Gal. 3:19). It was added to something already existing. John the Baptist introduced our Lord to the public and said of Him, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
The Law had a definite beginning. It began not with Adam but with Moses. There was not a God-given Law in all those 2500 years or more between Adam and Moses, but there was sin, and because there was sin there was death.
Adam had some very definite instructions from God as to what he was to do or not to do, and he disobeyed. For this he died.
But those who lived between Adam's day and the day of Moses died also, not because they had sinned exactly as Adam sinned but because they were sinners.
The Gospel is good news to all, past, present and future. But the Law was never good news. It was bad news. It was added to the good news, but it did not take the place of grace.
Neither was it mixed with grace. And it did not supplant grace. Grace was the good news, but the Law was not. The word translated "added" means "to place alongside of." The Law's being placed alongside of grace does not mean grace was removed.
This is wonderful to see, and yet it is all-important. Grace was there so that man could flee to it when the Law had done its work. When man saw himself condemned and cursed by the Law, he could turn to God's grace and find salvation.
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28).