Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom # 15 The Purpose and Value of God’s Law.

In our earlier studies of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians in this FREEDOM series we’ve been confronted with and I trust convinced of the truth that salvation is a gift of God’s grace and that all our good works and all our efforts to attempt to keep God’s Law cannot save us nor keep us saved.   

As Abraham believed in God’s promise of a Seed (Jesus) who would bless the world and as he was counted righteous by faith alone, according to Galatians 3:6-16; so we are made right with God by trusting in this same Jesus, the promised Seed of Abraham.    Other Old Testament men and women, such as Abel, Noah, Rahab, Ruth, David were justified by faith in God’s promise of a coming Saviour.  Hebrews 11 lists these and others as men and women of faith, even though they were imperfect and sinned by breaking God’s Law.   

The Mosaic Law of God which came 430 years after Abraham, did not change God’s promise to Abraham. God has not changed the plan of salvation from faith alone  to salvation by faith plus our efforts to keep His Law. That is made clear in Galatians 3:17-18.  Ephesian 2:8-9,  Titus 3:5-6 and Romans 3 & 4.  We are justified freely by His grace through faith in Christ alone.   

Now we come to the question in Galatians 3:19.  What then is the purpose of God’s Law?  We already know we are sinners.  Our conscience convicts us of that, according to Romans 2:14-15. It is written in our hearts according to Romans 1:18-20.  But when we read God’s Law in the Old Testament and again in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, we cannot help but be convicted and convinced of our perilous standing in the sight of God. 

As a mirror does not make us ugly, but rather shows us our blemishes, so God’s Law shows us how far we have fallen short of God’s righteousness. Because we have broken His law we are Transgressors.   As Old Testament people were saved by trusting in the promised Redeemer, Jesus Christ; so we who live today are saved by looking back in faith to Christ who died and rose again to save us from our sins.   

To understand the purpose of the Law, consider these two phrases: “before faith came”and  “after faith came”    

Before Faith Came    Gal. 3:23-24   

Before we put our trust in Christ, we are guilty and under the crushing weight of bondage to God’s Law.     

We are sentenced and condemned to death by the Law as Romans 8:1-2 teaches.  

Until we trust Christ for salvation, we are imprisoned by the law; locked up and sitting on death row.  Galatians 3:23, Romans 7:11   

Because we are condemned and guilt-ridden, we seek a solution to our guilt.  That’s why proud, sinful man is attracted to the religion of self-works.  It doesn’t matter what its name, just so it enables me to feel self-righteous and good about myself.  For the Jews in Jesus’ day and in Paul’s day  it was Phariseeism. For many today it is legalism.   

That’s why when Jesus began His public ministry, the first thing He did was to shatter pride and self-righteousness by preaching His Sermon on the Mount.  I encourage you to read it in Matthew 5,6 and 7.  As you read it you will find that God demands heart-purity and perfection.  None of us, of course, can live up to it.  That’s the purpose of it, to show us how far short we fall and to show us our need of a Saviour.  For a full study of it go to our link  BEATITUDES on this web site.     

We are cursed by the Law which we have all broken. Romans 3:10,23   

So before faith came,  the Law was our school master.  The Greek word used here speaks of the hired slave in a Greek family; a male nanny who was responsible for raising and disciplining the young sons, making sure they got to school on time.

So God’s law goads us and convicts us and drives us to Christ.   Once we have put our trust in Christ,  we no longer need God’s Law to drive us to Christ.  Certainly we love God’s Law, but we no longer feel the weight and burden of it, for Christ is our righteousness.  He who fulfilled it perfectly, imputes His righteousness to our account. That bring us to our final point.   

After Faith Came    Galatians 3:25-26   

After faith comes we are no longer under a school master for we are mature sons and daughters of God  through faith in Christ Jesus.  The Law has accomplished its work in our lives.  But more about this in our next lesson.  

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August 28, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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