The Law | Galatians 3:15-25
Galatians 3:15-25 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
I tried over and over and over again. But I couldn’t do it. I tried to flop, flip, and fly. I went head first, feet first, and side first. I tried to jump, dive, and roll. It wasn’t for my lack of effort. I gave it all I had. It wasn’t for my lack of desire. I really wanted to do it. It wasn’t due to my lack of knowledge. It was—it’s hard to admit—my lack of ability. With the high jump bar at that height I just couldn’t clear it. (How high? None of your business.)
It’s the same with the biblical Law. I can’t clear the bar. It’s too high! There was a time when I flattered myself into thinking I had the Big 10 down. Then Jesus came along and upped the ante. So what if you haven’t killed anyone; is there hatred in your heart? So what if you have been faithful physically; is your heart pure? I “jumped” the part about loving my friends, but the “love your enemies” height was out of my range.
You see, the Law just reminded me that I lack the ability to please God. The New American Standard version translates verse 24 this way: “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.” The King James says the Law was our “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” The Law looks me square in the eyes and says, “Try as you might, you can’t clear the bar I have set. What you need is Someone to clear the bar for you.”
That’s what Jesus did. The Law showed me how helpless I am to try to follow God on my own. It pointed me to Jesus and told me that only through his work on the cross could the God-void in my heart be met. In Christ, I am no longer under the supervision of the Law; rather, I live under the gentle and gracious and forgiving hand of my Savior.