By Brooke Holt
“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:19-22)
I never appreciated rules until I became a mother. As soon as my oldest son began to toddle around, rules and regulations became quite important to me! Why? Was it because I didn’t want my son to have fun and explore the world? Of course not. It was because I loved that child so much that I wanted to keep him safe. I used rules to keep my children safe. In that safety, they could explore the world and grow into the men and women they were designed to be.
As the perfect Parent, God provided the law as a guardian for his people. Until Christ, that law was like the surrogate parent that sought to teach the child right from wrong, keep the child safe, and reveal what was needed to grow into maturity. Ultimately, the purpose of the law was to teach the Israelites the moral code of the Lord and protect them from their destructive sinful tendencies. The law guided and preserved God’s people, but it also provided a continual revelation of their sinful ways.
The law was always intended to be temporary. It pointed to Jesus, who would perfectly fulfill that law and usher in a new covenant, the covenant of grace. Ultimately, the law could never provide freedom or redemption—only sin, judgment, and condemnation. Paul called it a prison. Why would any Jewish person who knew of the freedom of Christ want to go back to the bondage of the law? Why would Gentile Christians want to embrace a system of condemnation when Christ came to set them free? As Paul had written repeatedly, the law produced no righteousness. Instead, the law was a temporary structure designed to reveal sin, preserve humankind, and point to the one who fulfilled that law—Jesus Christ.
God’s intention for the law was to spotlight our need for a Savior. In his grace and love, God provided the perfect Savior for you. Unlike the law, Jesus came that you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). The law imprisoned people, but Jesus sets people free. Paul called the Gentile Christians to let go of the old Mosaic covenant and embrace the freedom and life found in the new covenant of Christ.
Will you embrace this freedom and abundant life today?
Why do you think people are prone to turn back to the law for righteousness? What does the Holy Spirit want you to know about the life, freedom, and grace found in the new covenant of Christ? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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