What is the Purpose of the Law? Part 2
Today, we finish the post we started last week. If you didn’t catch the prerequisite, check it out here.
Principles #2 & #3: The law did not replace the covenant (promise) to Abraham. And the law is not contrary or opposed to the promises of God.
Promises, especially made by God, to not get overruled by laws even if they did come 430 years later. The promise/covenant is a promise no matter what. God is faithful.
Paul also points out that the promise was not to “all” of Abraham’s children but to only one. This is a key theological point that Paul is making: Jesus was the focus of the promise to Abraham. The only way to find yourself on Abraham’s side was through the promise in Christ, not through the law of Moses.
There’s more about #3 in the next section of verses.
Principle #4: The Law serves to restrict or limit sin.
Paul begins with a very important question: What is the purpose of the law?
The law came because of sin, to hold things together until Christ comes. Otherwise, there would have been chaos. So, Paul pulls out a term that they would have been familiar with.
A “pedagogue” was a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans, the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.
Paul compares the law to a tutor. The law kept things from getting out of hand.
It also taught about God.
Lastly, it leaves us longing for the time of maturity. There is an assumption that there is a better way.
Principle #5: Christ replaces the Law. We are full sons and heirs to the estate/kingdom of the Father.
The time of maturity has come! We do not need the tutor but rather are full-grown children (adults).
Divided groups no longer exist (Jew/Greek, Slave/Free, Male/Female); we all have access to righteousness through Christ. Even heirs! These 3 groups, Jewish and Gentile, slave or free, male and female, all put people on the outside…but Christ is open to all!!!! Wow!
Paul is not being a chauvinist here. His choice of words, “you are all sons…” is significant. The women are being raised to the value of sons and heirs, slaves have the privileges of the free, and Gentiles can participate in the worship of God just like the Jews.
What does this mean in real life?
The sword of Damocles no longer hangs over our head in the form of the law. The law brought many fears and requirements.
When we have faith like Abraham, then we are declared righteous like Abraham. We do not need to jump through a series of hoops to be saved. We can be saved by God’s grace through faith.
This brings us to a place where the law of Moses is now replaced by the Law of Christ: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”