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"Forced by Moses to Jesus"
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
January 25, 2006
Talk-show host Laura Schlessinger recently talked to a caller who was
engaging in openly sinful behavior, yet claimed to be a Christian. Dr.
Laura (herself a Jew) told the caller that before they came to Jesus, they
should have spent some time getting to know Moses. How true!! The purpose
of the law is to convict us of sin so that we will be condemned as sinners.
Only then will we appreciate the need for a Savior.
In this passage, Paul shows us that the law was not intended to save us (see
footnote at the end of this page). Rather, it was meant to bring us to faith
in the Savior. In it, we see . . . .
I. WHAT WE WERE UNDER MOSES THROUGH LAW (vv. 23-24).
A. We were kept under custody (v. 23).
1. The time spoken of was "before faith came". In verses 7-8,
we're told of God's promise of blessing to the Gentiles through Abraham; and in
verses 15-22, that promise was explained in terms of its relation to the law. That
promise through faith was not realized in experience until Christ.
2. Until that time we were "kept" (phroureõ) by the law as if
under a prison guard; and we were "confined" (sugkleiõ) by it in the sense of being shut
up and hemmed through the bonds of its rules and regulations. But this was only
temporary. It was meant to be our situation until such a time as faith would be "revealed"
B. We were kept under tutelage (v. 24).
1. The word used here (paidagõgos) referred to a household servant who was charged
with the responsibility of being a "child-tender" or a "baby-sitter". It would be his
task to watch the children of the house - making sure that they obeyed, escorting them to and from school, and disciplining them when needed. They often used a cane or stick in order to keep the children in line.
2. But again, this was a temporary role. The role of the law was
not that of making those under it "righteous". It could not. It was only for the
purpose of bringing those under the law to Christ "that we might be justified by faith".
II. WHAT WE HAVE BECOME IN JESUS THROUGH FAITH (vv. 25-29).
A. We are now "sons" in terms of our rights (v. 25-26). Now that
faith has come, we are no longer under the harsh discipline of the law as our "tutor". Tutors
were only needed for the time that the children were "children". When they came of age,
they were awarded the rights of full "sonship". We are not sons in and of ourselves, but
only in relation to Christ (John 1:11-12).
B. We are now "clothed" in Christ in terms of righteousness (v. 27). To be "baptized" into
Christ, in this case, is not talking about the ordinance performed in a church. It's talking
about the spiritual reality of being radically identified with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection in such a way that we are clothed with His righteousness (Romans 6:3; Colossians 3:10).
C. We are now all "equal" in terms of God's promise (vv. 28-29).
1. The distinctions of race (only two in Scripture - Jew and everyone else), rank (slave or
freeman), or gender (not the regular words for "man" or "woman"; here they are "male" [arsãn] and "female" [thãlus]; thus not referring to the distinctions of roles between husbands and wives, but simply referring to gender) are
all removed in Christ. We are now all one in Him.
2. And because we are one together as belonging equally to Christ, we are also equally
Abraham's "seed" (v. 16), and thus heirs to the promise God made to Him.
There are six important principles to keep in mind regarding God's law:
1. The law was never given to make us righteous through our obedience
to it; but rather to condemn us as helpless sinners because of our violation of it (1 Timothy
1:8-11; Romans 3:20).
2. The law's condemnation forces us to trust in the sacrifice of
Christ on the cross and be declared righteous by God's grace through faith alone (Galatians 3:22-24;
3. For those who have received God's mercy through faith in the
cross, and who are now in Christ, there is no longer any condemnation from the law (Romans 8:1-4; 2
4. We who have been declared righteous by grace are to live a life consistent with our condition;
viewing the law as a picture of the life that pleases God (Titus 2:11-14; John 15:10, 14; 1 John 5:2-3).
5. The principle by which we are now to live a life that is consistent with the requirements of the law
is that of actively serving one another in love (Galatians 5:13-14; John 13:34-35).
6. Our ability to fulfill the law through love is only by the indwelling Holy Spirit; who Himself lives
the life that pleases God in and through us (Galatians 5:16-25; 2:20; Romans 8:5-17).