Law and Life
Galatians 3:21-24, Law and Life
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 3:21-24 (NKJV)
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
The Law of Moses was given at a time when the children of Israel needed guidance and clarity. Those commandments still serve that purpose today. They are still a guide for living as God would want us to live.
However, while the law serves as a guide it does not give us the promise of life. The ten words have value because they tell us what God expects us to do and how we harm ourselves when we do not do it.
For example, according to the law, we are told to honor our father and our mother. That’s not always an easy commandment to understand, but we still know the expectation is that regardless of the circumstances, we honor them. When a child who is a believer has a parent who does not do what honors God, the child can still pray for that parent, love them, and do what honors God. If the parent is not a believer and the child prays the parent will choose life, that is a prayer God will honor all night and day! The Spirit of God will continue every minute of every day to urge the parent to receive life in Christ.
Galatians 3:21 says, “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.” The child chooses to not live like the parent lives. The child obeys the commandment and at the same time turns to God and prays for the parent to receive abundant life in Jesus.
Galatians 3:22 says, “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Using that same example of the wayward parent and the child of God, the child is no longer held captive by sin as stated in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death”. The child has chosen life and has received, “the gift of God (which) is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The child upholds God’s commandment and has chosen life in Jesus.
I personally know children who have prayed for a parent for years, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I can tell you that in every instance I’ve known about the parent did eventually turn to God. I believe God blessed the child with earthly and with heavenly promises.
In Galatians 3:23, Paul explains, “but before faith came, we were kept under the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.” In the time period before Jesus’ birth we were protected or ‘guarded’ by the commandments. They were a guide to help God’s children. Because God loves us, He wanted to help us make good choices. The commandments also exemplified the heart and character of God written IN the words of the commandments.
Again, using the example ‘honor your father and mother’, God wanted to guard the structure of the family. God was telling children, even if you have a wayward parent, look to MY character and love and I will help and guide you to honor your earthly parent.
When Paul wrote Galatians 3:24, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” he really hammered the point home.
The law teaches us by guiding us toward Jesus. I learned the Ten Commandments when I was really young...like in first grade Sunday School. I was in the exploring and learning phase of spiritual development. I remember clearly knowing there are no other gods (only God), Sunday is special, honor father and mother (don’t mouth off...), don’t kill anybody, don’t steal anything, don’t lie, and don’t commit something (but I didn’t understand what it meant), and don’t want what somebody else has.
During my early years, they were my guide. The Jesus part came after I turned nine years old, and understanding the Holy Spirit came after I turned twelve. With me, it was a process. With some people it happens all at once. We’re all different and God knows exactly what we need.
I didn’t understand what it meant to be justified by faith until I was an adult. I was told it meant ‘just as if I’d never done something’ like it erased it. Then, when I went to Seminary I learned about tools and thinking. Today I believe being justified by faith means that I turned to God and God gives me the faith I need so that I can receive the righteousness of God.
There are pastors and scholars who believe the faith part is our responsibility, but at least in my life, God and Jesus did the hard work for me. All I did (do) is turn to God every day and surrender. He pretty much does the rest.
I’m not sure at what point I came to realize Jesus was my life, but I do know that every time life got really tough, I came to rely on God more.
Jesus is life.
God gave me and gives me breath.
The Spirit breathes ON me.
Every minute of every day.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Thank God for your faith journey,
Think about your faith journey. Even if it started yesterday, you have a faith journey. If you want you can write down highlights, or you can think about them. Tell God thank you for inviting you to join Him on the road trip of life.
In God, Deborah