I think my daily reading of Galatians has been bogged down through trying to study the heavy verses on law. It surely must be a picture of how the law actually does burden us and weigh us down…
But grace sets us free!
I left off last time looking at what the law is not and what it doesn’t do, saying we’d see then today what the law does do.
This takes us to Galatians 3:23-29:
“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.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
These verses tell us what the law does. It was a tutor to bring us to Christ so that we could be justified by faith. Once we have faith, we no longer have need for the tutor. A tutor teaches us something. The law shows us that we are sinners, that we cannot keep the demands of the law perfectly, that we are in need of a Savior. It brings us to Christ, to our Savior, that through faith, we might know Christ and be saved. This is a gift of grace, not by works (law) or anything we have done.
This is how we become a child of God – through faith in Jesus Christ. We are baptized into Christ, we put on Christ. Then, as we have already seen, we are Abraham’s seed, his spiritual descendants. We become heirs according to the promise.
We heard a sermon at church last week on Romans 3:22, that there is no distinction. We are either saved by faith in Christ, or we are not. And here we see that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek (imagine how that sounded to their ears at that time when there was such a distinction among them!), neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, but we are all one in Christ. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of Christian unity? My Bible notes there are no racial, gender, or social distinctions to keep us from Christ – all can come to Him by faith.
We live in a world that is always making distinctions. What is your level of education? What sport are you involved in? What kind of leadership do you do? Where do you serve? What school do you go to? Are you skinny or fat, short or tall? This may not be intended to classify us, but it’s just natural. We see people who are “different” or don’t seem to fit in. We can find ourselves wondering what is my place? Do I belong? Do I fit? It happens at work and school and in community. We can be striving and working to matter.
But God tells us who we are. We are his! We are made in his image, and in Christ, by faith, we find our true identity as a child of God, a child of the King, and heirs according to the promise. Once an enemy of Christ, now adopted by Him as His own child.
This is the only one thing that matters. Do we know Christ? Do we have that relationship with Him by faith? Are we trusting Him for the forgiveness of our sins? There should be no other distinction. We are one with other believers in Christ. We can be for them, support them, love them.
We also live in a world where so many want to work their way to heaven – if they can only be good enough, if their good deeds can outweigh their bad ones. They live by law. But this is not what the Bible teaches us. The law and works can only show us that we can’t do it. We can’t earn anything from God because our sin is too deep and keeps us separated from Him. The law points us to Jesus. And when we have Him, we have everything. And we want to live for Him. We live lives of joyful obedience and faithfulness to Him because we love Him as He has first loved us.
We are not bound by law, we are free in Christ. We are freed by the gospel Paul has been writing about earlier in Galatians. Live in this freedom!
PRAYER: Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for the law that leads us to you. How could we ever thank you enough for your sacrifice of your very life for our sins so that we could be saved! And for the many blessings accompany our salvation. Thank you that by faith through grace we can know you, we can be forgiven, we can walk in freedom, we can live an abundant life. Give us great joy as we seek and follow you each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.