Monday, June 27, 2011

"The Law - A Death Sentence Ended Through Christ" Galatians 3:22-25

22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Galatians 3:22-25

In ending last week’s study in verse 21, the question was asked? Is the law then against the promises of God? Paul's answer was, "CERTAINLY NOT" or "GOD FORBID." While some may have thought or tried to accuse him of being AGAINST the law, Paul said: For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. In other words, there is absolutely no way to be saved by a "law."

The law and the promises are not in conflict because each has a distinct function; they do NOT have the same purpose. The law shows us WE ARE GUILTY before a just and holy God. Whereas, the promise(s) by faith in Jesus Christ shows us SALVATION IS OF THE LORD.

To put it another way, our main problem is we have wrongly been taught to think the purpose of the law (especially the 10 Commandments) were given for us to keep them, and thus, go to heaven. NO! They were to show us we CAN'T keep the law. By showing us that we are doomed to fail in keeping all the law(s) (See James 2:10), we see that we desperately need to turn to God to save us, as it is not in ourselves to save ourselves.
That brings us to verses 22-25.

Let's take a look at today's passage:

22 But the Scripture [in this case the law] has confined (Gk. Sunkleio) all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Confined in the Greek is an interesting word, Sunkleio – to shut up, to confine [as in a prison].

23 But before faith came (Jesus our Saviour), we were kept under guard (Gk. Phroureo) by the law, kept for the faith (Jesus our Saviour) which would afterward be revealed.

The Greek word “kept” is from “phroureo,” which means “to guard” or "to keep inward under lock and key." Simply put: We were in the custody of the law.

So the law captured us; there was no escape. There was no way to get out from under the law, there was no way to bust out. We were sentenced, we were locked up.

Every man in the world is a prisoner of God's law, waiting on spiritual death row for execution as a law-breaker until the pardon is offered by faith in Jesus Christ.

The law shut them up (as in a prison) with only ONE way to escape, namely, faith in Christ.

24 Therefore the law was our tutor (Gk. – paidagogos) to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Paidagogos was a slave whose duty was to discipline boys. The paidagogos was not the teacher (that's didaskalos in the Greek and would have been the word used if this was talking about a teacher), that's a totally different word), he was the guardian of young boys. He was not the boys' teacher, he was their disciplinarian. It's a very important point. Thus, the word refers to a guardian of a child rather than to a teacher or schoolmaster.

This is one of the purposes of the law, to create in lost sinners a sense of guilt and need. The law has performed its purpose: the Savior has come and the "guardian" is no longer needed.

25 But after faith has come (Jesus our Saviour) , we are no longer under a tutor (Gk. – paidagogos).

If there is a point you must grasp out of these lessons it is this. We can't preach the message of grace until we've preached the standards of God because grace means nothing until people understand that they've broken the law, and have NO hope of keeping it (100 % guilty before God).

The day that you fell on your knees before Jesus Christ and received Him as Savior, the law had done its work. You saw your sin, you came to Christ.

In a nutshell, these verses plainly explain:
1. The purpose of the Law (convict us).
2. The ONLY way to Christ (faith).

I would like to close with this example as shared in “Our Daily Bread” written by D. C. Egner

Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The law has never saved anyone, and it never will. God did not give it to redeem us from sin, but to show us our need of salvation. That's why the apostle Paul called it "our tutor."In an unforgettable sermon, evangelist Fred Brown used three im­ages to describe the purpose of the law. First, he likened it to the small mirror dentists use. With the mirror they can detect cavities, but they can't drill with it or use it to pull teeth. The mirror reveals the decayed area or other abnormality, but it can't fix the problem.Brown then drew another analogy. He said that the law is also like a flashlight. If the lights go out at night, you use it to guide you down the darkened basement stairs to the electrical box. When you point it toward the fuses, it helps you see the one that is burned out. But after you've removed the bad fuse, you don't insert the flashlight in its place. You put in a new fuse to restore the electricity.In his third image, Brown likened the law to a plumbline. Builders check their work by using a weighted string. If this plumbline reveals that the work is not true to the vertical, the plumbline cannot correct it. The builder must get out a hammer and saw.Like the mirror, flashlight, and plumbline, the law points out the problem—sin, but it doesn't provide a solution. The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law. Only He can save.

That brings this week’s teaching to a close. During the summer we will do a lesson every other week.

I look forward to taking you further on this Journey of Faith. I pray that you are no longer a prisoner to the law.

I hope you have allowed the law to serve its purpose of showing you your guilt, and driving you to faith in Jesus Christ.