Monday, March 21, 2011

Law and Gospel

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian
. (Galatians 3:23-25)

St. Paul is writing to an early church in Galatia who were being led astray by those who felt strict adherence to the Law of Moses was the only way to be justified before God. To be justified meant to be found innocent before the judge. The problem that the law presents to us is that if at anytime we have broken just one aspect of the Law, we cannot be justified at all. We are all guilty before God.
The Law is our guardian. The guardian spoken of here was a slave to the master of the house whose responsibility was to protect the children and ensure their studies so that one day they may take over the family responsibilities. Therefore, until we are mature in faith, we have the Law to show us right and wrong. And it exposes our guilt. If we are honest and compare our thoughts, words and deeds, to the Law, we fall short and see our guilt as God sees it. But we have a redeemer!
Jesus Christ took our guilt upon Himself once and for all at Calvary! He stood in our place. By His stripes, we are healed! When we get a traffic ticket for breaking a law of the road, we must appear before the judge in traffic court and pay a fine. Jesus has stepped in between us and God the righteous and perfect judge to pay our fine. After all the wages of sin is death! When we know He has done this for us, we have faith that Jesus fulfilled the Law completely and perfectly for you and me!
The Law remains for us a remimder of our guilt. But Christ came that we might not be a slave to the law, but rather that we be a slave to righteousness. As Paul reminds us, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24) Let us feel sorry for our sins (repentance) and trust Christ as we accept His gift of eternal life!