Thursday, September 23, 2010

Christ Is the End of the Law. Period. (Part 2)

Christ Is the End of the Law. Period.
  • Part 2 - Till the Seed Should Come
The law “was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made…” (Gal 3:19). That’s a key word - “till.” As Paul continues:
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Gal 3:22-25)
In the past I generally understood the above passage to mean that the law is a tutor that teaches “us” (individuals) that we are sinful, and then leads us (individually) to faith in Christ. I understood "after faith has come” to mean "after we (individually) come to faith." But as I look at the passage as a whole, along with what the rest of scripture says about the law, I now think it means something else.

The law has already done its job, once and for all. It doesn't keep doing it. It did it. “We (collectively – the human race) were kept under guard by the law, kept for 'the faith' which would afterward be revealed.” The law had a ministry for a period of time before this “faith” was revealed. The law led to Christ. That is, the law was a ministry that led to the ministry of Christ. It was added till the Seed appeared. But when the Seed appeared (2,000 years ago), with the law having previously confined us/guarded us (collectively - the human race) under sin, this faith was afterward revealed (2,000 years ago) and the guardian’s job of confining mankind under sin was complete. (The word "tutor" is better defined as "guardian." The Greek guardian was a slave who supervised or monitored the child. The child was not even allowed to step outside without the guardian. The guardian escorted/led the child to school, but didn't "teach" the child. In the case of the law, it was a guardian that "confined all under sin" and led "to Christ").

So the law's ministry was not a matter of convicting individual people, and then because of that conviction they would "be led to Christ." Rather, in a broad, sweeping, all-inclusive sense, the law provided en masse the actual conviction of sin (it imputed sin to all). The law’s work was then finished (2,000 years ago), and faith has come, “that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” A person can believe in Christ, completely apart from any knowledge of the law. I don't think Paul ever made the case that the law was put there to show individual people their need for a savior, as I have so often taught in the past. The law does show what sin is, but not for the purpose of showing man that he needs a savior.

Part 1 - The Law's Job Is Done
Part 2 - Till the Seed Should Come
Part 3 - The Law Did Not Cause an Increase in Sinful Behavior
Part 4 - The Strength of Sin Is the Law

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