“So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Galatians 3:25 ESV)
As we read the Scriptures we will be confronted by clear teaching about matters that are not final or fully worked out.until the fulfilled ministry of Jesus Christ. Our verse is one of these.
Prior to his conversion, Paul was a master craftsman in the administration of the guardianship of these laws, and yet he had to come to grips with the fact that, the reason for the laws he administered, had ceased to exist. He had to realize that, throughout their history, they were always leading to the grace of God in Jesus Christ, a fact which was dramatically revealed to Paul on the Damascus road.
God’s sovereign, gracious working leads those who are His to a similar place, mostly much less dramatic, but never-the-less, where God wants us to be.
Our guardian has been our enemy until this point , because it was weak, as Paul was to teach the Roman believers in Romans 8:3.
Yet so many, who claim to be Christian, want to cling to the law as a means of moral and ethical acceptance before God. They are exactly like the Judaizers, who were teaching the need to add law to the grace of God in Jesus Christ, amongst the Galatian Christians.
In some ways they are like some long term prisoners who have been incarcerated for such a long period that they have lost the power and ability to be independently responsible for their life and actions. Many released prisoners commit another crime to get back into the perceived safety of prison.
Until the tentative nature of the Old Covenant, had come to an end in the fulfilled ministry of Jesus, there was no alternative but to cling to the law.
The Lord Jesus Christ introduced a new order, in which He said, amongst many other things “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
The issue here is that there is no-one who is without sin. It doesn’t matter who you are, how pious, or religious you are, or how much you serve in, or attend your church. You still sin!
That doesn’t make you a slave to the act of sin, it makes you a slave to the law, which condemns your sin.
Ultimately, it depends upon where you find your safety.
So many people I know, even those who regularly stand behind pulpits, see themselves more like Paul described himself “as to righteousness, under the law blameless “ (Philippians 3:5)
Their security is in law keeping, or self-righteous legalism. What happens when they, inevitably do sin, and they will, in one way or another.
Jesus said, in Matthew 5:20, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Of course, Jesus then went on to tell them just what He thought of their attempts to please God.
We are deceived if we think we can, in any respect, be perfectly obedient to the Old Covenant.
Paul’s Damascus road experience must have been an amazing, but the challenge to his Old Covenant religious/spiritual understanding, must have shook him to the core of his being. He had to understand that everything he had been taught, and understood, and obeyed was not in error, but temporary, and leading up to the very Person, in whom all things came to completeness, with whom he had come face to face, and in whom he would find the fullest revelation.
Paul had left the Old Covenant moral and ethical prison, and tasted the freedom of the New Covenant of grace and life in Jesus Christ.
The cost was great, for Paul. He had established a reputation for himself. He was a leader of society, but he had seen the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and was pleased to pay the price required to give his allegiance to Him, which entailed giving up everything, his reputation, his position, and his obedience to the religious practices and laws of which he was a master.
There will be a cost to walk as one who lives under the New Covenant, giving up religious/cultural tradition, to follow Christ, who said,
” If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, and. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”