Law Moved Aside and Faith In Christ Stepped In
By Joe Keim
January 1, 2012
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified [made acceptable to God] by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. -Gal 3:23-26
"Before faith came, we were under the law"-before Jesus' work on the cross was completed, all of mankind was under the law. The law, could be described as a person who is constantly watching over your shoulder, and every time you break a law, he points his finger in your face and cries: Law breaker! Guilty! Condemned! Judged! Failure!
People who place themselves under the law (yoke of bondage) try as hard as anybody to please God, but in their own mind they can never measure up. This of course leads people to feel burdened down, as if some heavy ball of steel hung around their neck and shoulder.
Furthermore, living under the law has a tendency to lead people into a state of depression and bring about feelings of worthlessness. To top things off, God often feels un-reachable, uncaring and far away. Why does it work that way? Because people under the law gage their connection with God by how well they keep the law.
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ"-The Apostle Paul tells us that the law, in a sense, acted as a school teacher. To help us understand this better, let's say that you are a student who arrives at school and the teacher points out that she wants you to study your arithmetic lesson very well, because at the end of the day, she's going to hand you a test and the goal is to score a hundred percent. Then the teacher goes on to explain that if you have one wrong answer, you fail the whole test.
So you get your book out and study hard all day long. Finally, at the end of the day you take the test, only to find out you failed. The next day you try again and fail. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. You keep trying and trying to score a hundred percent on your test-some days you come closer than others, but eventually you realize, it is impossible to get a perfect score on your test.
The law works the same way. You and I will never score a hundred percent. We will always come up short. Even if we live ten thousand years. James 2:10 says:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend [fail] in one point, he is guilty of all.
I have never murdered anyone, and I doubt that you have, however, if we so much as cheated once in our life time, we are just as guilty as the one who murdered.
"But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster"-law moved aside and faith in Christ stepped in it's place. That ought to make someone shout amen! Glory to God!
You see, the law was put in place for the following reasons:
- we can never measure up to God and His requirements.
- the law helped us see our great need for Christ.
And now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the school teacher (law). Unless of course you would rather continue beating yourself up in reaching perfection by living under the law.
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus"-
- What makes us part of God's family? Faith in Christ!
- What makes us brothers and sisters? Faith in Christ!
- What makes us justified before God? Faith in Christ!
The story is told of a man who cried out for help as he dangled helplessly from the edge of the cliff. "Can anyone up there help me?"
"Yes," answered a heavenly voice. "I'll help you, but first you must let go"
"Let go!" gasped the man. "But then I'd fall!"
"I'll catch you," replied the voice.
After a long pause, the man called out, "Can anyone else up there help me?"
This story illustrates mankind's refusal to accept God's offer of salvation. Rather than accepting God's faith way to salvation, people cry out for another way. Paul had clearly taught the Galatians that faith in Christ was the only way.
Simple faith in Christ can be scary because it seems so easy. It seems too simple to let go of the rope of good works and have a faith relationship with God.
So what did the Galatians do? They listened to the false teachers who taught that letting go of the rope of self-effort was foolish.
These false teachers convinced the gullible Galatians that they can have heaven and a relationship with God by clinging to good works.
The Apostle Paul, who was called to the Gentile nation, kept looking back over his shoulder and wondering about his own people, the Jews, who were trying so hard to become justified by their good works. In Romans chapter 9, he wrote:
I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Paul would have willingly given his salvation up for the sake of his own people, and gone to an everlasting hell. In the very next chapter, chapter 10:1-4, he wrote again:
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Maybe you too have been hanging onto the rope of righteousness, afraid to let go, for fear no one would catch you. If you have, please let go. I promise, God will catch you. Have faith!
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
-- Joe Keim
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