Galatians Day 13: What’s the point of all these rules?

mean_teacher_rulerWhen I was in college I was an RA (resident assistant) and had to enforce the rules of the college on my peers.  Why would I want this job?  Because it helped pay for my room and board, and couldn’t hurt my resume in the future.
There were a couple of times as an RA that I was called out for breaking the rules that I was supposed to be enforcing.  Hopefully, the dean of men at the college won’t read this.  (I don’t think he knows <—sarcasm).  One day I got caught by my friend JT King doing something I had written him up for the week before.  “All I want, Ben, is a little consistency”, he said with sarcasm, and he was exactly right.  I had lost some reputation and authority in his mind.
Aren’t you glad to know that you’re not made right with God by having to keep a bunch of rules?  I sure am.  If that’s how we get in, then I don’t have a shot.
As we have studied Galatians we have learned that we aren’t made right with God by keeping His rules, but by believing in Jesus.  This has always been how God has worked.  We are justified by faith.  And I’m glad for that.
If we aren’t made right with God by rules, then why do we still have rules?
Fair question, right?
Paul asks and answers this question in today’s text- Galatians 3:19-25:
19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
  • If we are saved by believing in the promise of God and not by keeping the law, what’s the big deal about the law?  Why do we even have it?
  • Paul’s answer:
    • It was added because of sin until Jesus would come to us to fulfill the promise that He made.
    • In talking about angels, they had a role to play in God’s giving of the law.
 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
  • Most of the time a mediator mediates between two parties.  God did not need someone else in mediating between us.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
  • Should we just do away with the law?  Does it go against the promise that God made?  No way!  It just can’t do what faith in the promise of God can do, which is bring righteousness.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
  • When we read the Bible honestly, especially the law, we realize that we are sinners.  We can not keep the law.
  • Once we acknowledge that we are sinners, we can then acknowledge our need for the promise of God- righteousness by faith to those who believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
  • Before Christ came, people had to believe God and express their faith through obedience to the moral and ceremonial law that would point to what God was going to do.  Their faith was still what saved them, they just couldn’t see all that Christ was going to do.
  • In that way, the law was there to teach them- a “schoolmaster”- that pointed to Jesus.  It pointed to our need for a Savior.
The law is a good tutor.  It teaches us of our need for God.  Don’t forget about your need for Him today!

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