CHRIST OUR REDEEMER
It is inconceivable that anyone who has served time in prison, after being set free, would ever want to return to prison again.
But in the spiritual sense that is exactly what the Galatians did, and what many Christians still do today.
When Paul went to Galatia on his first Missionary Journey he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a heathen people who were in bondage to sin with no hope.
Dr. Unger says, that “the Galatians had little religion of their own, and easily adopted the superstitions and mythology of the Greeks.” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary)
Then, came Paul with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and when the Galatians heard about Jesus they responded in a positive manner.
Multitudes of people were saved and many Churches were established.
Through Jesus Christ they were set free from the bondage of idol worship and false gods.
The question, then, is: Why would a people who had tasted freedom want to place themselves back into bondage?
After the chains were removed why would anyone want to wear them again?
Even Paul was amazed that they would do such a foolish thing.
In 1:6-7 (NIV) of this Book, Paul said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel which is not another.”
The Galatians were first imprisoned by the worship of heathen gods – now they are imprisoned by legalism – by a works religion.
Paul tells us in Rom. 11:6 that salvation is either by works or by grace – it can’t be both.
He also tells us in Eph. 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works.
Grace and works do not mix – it is either one or the other, but never both.
In our passage today, Paul is showing the Galatians how they were set free from the works of the law and then went and put themselves back into bondage under the law.
1. SINNERS ARE IMPRISONED BY THE LAW. 23
“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.”
You will note that there is a definite article in front of the word “faith” showing it is a special kind of faith.
1. It is speaking of the faith mentioned in verse 22 (faith in Jesus Christ) – it is the Christian faith.
2. The word “kept” means “to guard and protect from hostile invasion; to prevent one from escaping.”
So, we see that the law did have a useful purpose.
It held us prisoner – it kept us locked up – it would not let us forget that we were sinners in need of a Savior.
Dr. Vincent, A Greek Scholar, says, “The law is here presented … as an overseer or guardian, to keep watch over those committed to its care, to accompany them with its commands and prohibitions, and to keep them in a condition of dependence and restraint, thus continually bringing home to them the consciousness of being shut up in sins, and revealing sin as a positive transgression.”
As Charles Swindol says, Today we might say the law kept us “hemmed in” or “cooped up.”
II. BELIEVERS FIND FREEDOM IS IN CHRIST. 24
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Paul is here explaining the precise purpose of the law and he uses the Greek word PAIDAGOGOS (pahee-dag-o-gos). (The Paidagogos was a “Tutor.” )
He was a trusted slave who had charge of a child until the child reached adulthood.
Actually, this trusted slave was more of a guardian than a teacher because he had full control over the child until the child reached adulthood.
According to Strong, the Tutor “was charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys, and they were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.” (Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary)
1. The Tutor did not teach the child, but would take the child to the school teacher.
The Tutor could not make the child learn.
His responsibility was to bring the child into a position where by he could learn.
2. In the same manner, the law is our Tutor.
It does not have the power or the responsibility to save us, for the law cannot save, but the law can bring us into a position whereby we can be saved.
So, we see that the sole duty of the law is not to save us, but to bring us to Christ whereby we might be saved.
3. The law has no power to take us into the presence of Christ, but it does place us in a position whereby we ourselves might enter into His presence.
The law cannot justify us – it can only condemn us for our inability to keep it, but the law can bring us to Christ where we are Justified by faith.
So the law became our Paidagogos “to lead us to Christ” in order that we might be justified by faith.
III. THE GLORIOUS & PRECIOUS BENEFITS OF BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH. 25 29 1. We Become Children Of God. (25-26)
“Galatians 3:24-26 (NKJV)
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Notice the contrast between verse 23 and verse 25.
Vs. 23 – “But before faith came” and Vs. 25, “But after faith has come.”
Before Christ came we were locked up in the prison of the law, but after He came He opened the doors of that prison and set us free.
But not only did He set us free, but He made us “… children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
A morning prayer of the Jews was to give thanks to God for not making him a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.
But now in Christ the old distinctions are gone for we are all one in Christ.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
In other words, if we are in Christ which is Abrahams seed, then we are Abraham’s offspring.
Barclay says, “Paul interprets the promises made to Abraham as specially finding their fulfillment in Christ; and, if we are one with Christ, we, too, inherit the promises–and this great privilege comes not by a legalistic keeping of the law, but by an act of faith in the free grace of God.” (Barclay’s Daily Study Bible [NT])