Musings 109

Galatians 3:17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. 19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

It seems as if the Law has become more important than Christ in some circles today. Whatever position one takes on the many issues, one has to understand that the Law does not nullify the promises of God and that the promises of God are by free-grace. The Law came four hundred and thirty years after God made a covenant with Abraham based on His promises and those promises were of free-grace. The Law was never able to impart life, but instead it pointed to Christ who alone can impart life. The Law cannot give righteousness at all before God, either in the Old or New Testaments, but instead this is by free-grace alone.

I Timothy 1:8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

The Law, which is good, must be used in a lawful way. What does Paul mean when he says that the law is not made for a righteous person? He has already taught us in Romans that no one is righteous, no not one. Perhaps he means it in a different sense. Perhaps a person that has Christ is righteous because of Christ as opposed to being righteous in and of himself. The point is, however, that the Law is not made for a righteous person. The Law is, however, made for the lawless and rebellious sinners. The Law is made for those who are acting or living in a way that is contrary to sound teaching which is contrary to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Notice the distinction that this passage draws out. It makes a distinction between those that the Law was not made for and those that the Law was made for. Perhaps the distinction is not as obvious as we would like, but the distinction is between those who are saved by the glorious Gospel and those who are still in rebellion against God.

Those who live according to the glorious Gospel live by the grace of God and are not condemned by the Law, but those who do not live by grace are condemned by the Law. All those apart from Christ only have the Law as their standard of righteousness and as their way of obtaining righteousness, but of course the Law condemns them. The Law condemns all who trust in it, but the Law is intended to be a tutor to Christ. Those who are tutored by the Law rather than attempt to earn righteousness by it flee to Christ as their righteousness. No one (other then Christ) has ever kept any of the Law for a moment in a way that would justify them, but all who are truly tutored by the Law and flee to Christ are justified by Christ alone.

What we see is a very clear teaching on the Law, though it does not answer all the objections. What we must see, however, is that we are to live by Christ and not by the Law. We are to rest in the finished work of Christ and not try to keep rules about the Law. We are to love Christ instead of trying to please Him by keeping the Law. It is the life of Christ in us that moves us to love and keep the heart of the Law, but trying to keep the rules of men will do nothing but lead to legalism and will result in our not living by Christ and His grace. We cannot live by free-grace and yet by the Law at the same time. The Law is to tutor us in coming to Christ, but once we are there beware of coming under the Law.

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