Musings 110

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.

The point that the human heart has such a hard time with is that it can never earn the slightest favor or standing with God by the Law or by good works. People are constantly turning to the Law or their own good works or something about them as a basis of a good standing with God. It seems as if the Law has a pull on the human heart and it is hard for the heart to turn from the Law and look to Christ alone. The human heart seems to always be pulled by Law and self-righteousness or the ability to do something to earn even a little before God.

Paul wants the people to know that the Law was never given for anyone to obtain the slightest shred of righteousness, merit, or a good standing before God. This is utterly vital. Human beings are born dead in sins and trespasses and by nature are children of wrath (Eph 2:1-3). It is only by the free-grace of God that they are regenerated and granted life in their souls (Eph 2:4-10). Paul would have the people learn that they have no hope in themselves or in the Law and that their only hope is the free-grace of God in Christ Jesus. Human beings are shut up under sin and can do nothing to release themselves from that bondage. Only the power of God operating by grace alone can do that work.

But the Law does have a work to do, though it is one that is denied by the vast majority of our day. The Law is a tutor to show men their need of Christ and it is their tutor to bring men to Christ in one sense. Until men are convinced of sin, they will not be convicted of sin in any deep way at all. Until men are convicted of sin and feel that they are guilty, they will not begin to see their bondage to sin and their inability. The Law can show men these things to a measure or to a degree, though the real convictions and the realizations of his inability can only come as God shows these things to men.

As long as men think that all they have to do is believe, they will think that they have the power to believe when they want. The Law in the hands of the Spirit will show men that they have no ability to give themselves a believing heart. The Law can be used by the Spirit (it is His job to convict of sin) to convict men of sin to the degree and to the point where they utterly despair of all hope in themselves. Until they reach that point, they will still be looking to self and the strength of self. The Law does not tutor men by just teaching them about a few things, but instead when the Law is used by the Spirit it goes into the depths of the soul and convinces them of their utter inability. It is in doing this that the Law is then a tutor to bring men to Christ.

While the Law has nothing to do with men obtaining merit before God, it has a job to do in the hands of the Spirit to show men how they cannot obtain merit before God. While the Law has nothing to do with men earning righteousness before God, it can be used by the Spirit to show them how unrighteous they are in the presence of a thrice holy God. While the Law has no ability to give men and not ability in man to tell man about, it can be used by the Spirit to show men their complete and utter inability in the things of God. How backwards we are when we use the Law as a way to obtain merit or righteousness before God, because the Law was never given for that purpose and in fact was given for the exact opposite purpose. This may be one reason why there are so many false conversions in the world and why unconverted men are so confident of their conversions. They have never been tutored by the Law and as such they have never been broken from all hope in themselves and as such have never truly been to the true Christ.

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One Response to “Musings 110”

  1. James Says:

    The last paragraph of this is tantamount to the state of the proclamation of the gospel today. Do men despair themselves and mourn over their condition and their inability AND look to Christ hanging on a cross to fulfill a promise in them – or – do men contend that God will forgive those who turn from sin and take hope in God saving them as a result of their reformation? There are so many professions of faith today that involve men “accepting” Christ or “trusting” Christ that was never preceded with the fear that involves man’s inability. Men are dead and most today do not believe that practically nor know how to convey that truth to hearers. The law when used the way it was intended, is offensive to men. You can’t repent, and even if you managed to cease from sin, it is nothing meritorious that obligates God to act or take some favorable measure toward you. Until a man is filled with the spirit, he is an enemy of God, and unable to please God in any way. That is good news to those who now know this and understand the promise of God as Nicodemus did. Look to Christ, he is seated at the right hand of God to grant repentance and the forgiveness of sins. He does not forgive those who repent, they are the religious that he showed the most animosity towards, rather he grants repentance to the dead who look to the pole fully aware of their irreversible condition and trust in God and his promises thru Christ.

    What Paul wrote in Romans 4, that we, Like Abraham, can not consider our own body, which is dead, but looking to Christ, giving Glory to God, believing that what God has promised he is also able to perform.

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