Galatians – The Law’s Preparation For Sonship

August 30, 2008

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God’s law is always good when properly interpreted and executed (cf. Ps 119). When used incorrectly, specifically when manipulated for self-justification, it is disastrous. The law can illuminate one’s sinful ways and highlight God’s justice, but it cannot make one just.

Just as parents establish restraints and regulations on their young children, God used the law to instruct the fledgling Jewish people. Far more than a set of arbitrary burdens, our Heavenly Father intended his children’s compliance with the law to be an expression of their love for Him. God also willed that it would be an aid to his people in the acquisition of the freedom, responsibility and love necessary to accept the Messiah. Many Jews, however, viewed the law as an end in itself; some even worshiped it instead of God.

Paul instructs, "Now before faith [Jesus Christ] came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith could be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ … and if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise" (Gal 3:23-26, 28). Even so, the heir to God’s promise remains a minor, living under the care of the stewards of his household, "until the date set by the father" (4:2).

"But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (4:4-6). After adopting fleshly creatures as His sons, God conceives them anew as heavenly creatures by sending "the Spirit of his Son" into their hearts; through God they are no longer slaves but sons, and if sons, then also heirs (cf. 4:6-7). Paul finally appeals to the Galatians not to merely live within a religious system but to use religion to more completely embrace the living Christ, deepening an intimate relationship with the Triune God.

Music: Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood, Op. 15 performed by Donald Betts. www.musopen.com

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