READ GALATIANS 3:19-25
(Extra Reading: Galatians 3:15-18)
THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW
This is a good moment in our 21-day devotional journey in understanding the Gospel to pause and understand again why Paul wrote a letter to the Galatian churches. Understanding this will help us watch out for the legalistic pitfalls that can hold us back in our own Christian experience and growth. At the time in history when this letter was written by Paul, there was a crisis facing the churches. Many Gentiles were becoming Christians and this led to questions being asked about the nature of Salvation. People wanted to know, “Do Christians need to become Jews at the same time that they become believers in Jesus?” Up until this moment, every Christian was Jewish. So they didn’t have a grid for someone becoming a Christian who wasn’t a Jew. That kind of person didn’t exist. So, did the new Gentile Christians need to take on Jewish culture? This was an important and difficult question. And this is why God raised up Paul. God used Paul to clearly give God’s answers to these questions. Paul gave the answer loud and clear. Justification is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Nothing else was absolutely necessary. Christians needed to know why they are accepted by God, and how they are accepted by God. They needed to understand what Salvation is. And then they needed to stay true to that and not add anything on to create a form of godliness that isn’t godliness at all but rather an inflated sense of self-importance- as if our self-efforts can make us more godly.
We need to understand why the law was given and its place in history to fully understand our Salvation and our Christian faith and why we are no longer under the law:
1. The law was added. It wasn’t originally necessary but God added it for His purposes.
2. The law was temporary, until Jesus could come.
3. The law was inferior. It doesn’t come close to the superiority of the Gospel.
4. The law shuts every doorway to God except the doorway of faith in Jesus.
So, the law became our teacher to lead us to Jesus so that we could be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a teacher but under Jesus.
QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:
1. What big question was the Church grappling with around the time Paul wrote to the Galatian churches?
2. What was the purpose of the law?
3. How does it make you feel to know that you are no longer under the teacher of the law but under Jesus?