Paul writes Galatians out of concern that these Gentile Christians will receive circumcision and keep the Law of Moses. He insists that we can be saved without becoming observant Jews. Yet that naturally raises a question: why did God give the Law to begin with, if it was only going to be superseded? “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made”(Gal 3:19). God gave the Law “because of transgressions,” meaning that he was attempting to limit the scope of the evil man would do as he waited for the fulfilment of his purpose.
The Law also prepared people for the coming of the messiah. “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe”(Gal 3:22). The Law defined sin without providing a remedy, imprisoning people under sin until Jesus came to fulfill the Law’s intent. He also likens it to a guardian or tutor in charge of a young child. “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian”(Gal 3:24-25). All that the Law teaches—about sin, God, holiness, righteousness, and love—is the groundwork on which the gospel rests.
This may seem like a technical passage, but it is an important one. It shows where our emphasis for faith and practice should be (the New Testament) while acknowledging the great value in the Old Testament. It reminds us of the great blessings we have in Christ. Most of all, it shows us the tremendous wisdom of God in revealing himself in ways that we can understand and follow.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I have a hard time appreciating my freedom in Christ?
One Thing to Pray For: Praise to God for the genius of his plan
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