Summary: Galatians 3:23-4:3 shows how “Freedom is Never Free” with the sacrifice of Christ achieving liberation from sin and death, as seen through humanity’s :1) Collective Bondage (Galatians 3:23-24), 2) Individual Freedom Galatians 3:25-27), 3) Collective Freedom (Galatians 3:28-4:3)
During the Second World War, Nazi forces occupied Czechoslovakia, Austria Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the Channel Islands, the Soviet Union, and Italy, (https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/11-countries-invaded-nazi-germany-invaded.html). In this occupation, all activities were monitored and controlled. Nazi law applied restrictions to speech, association and any general liberty. Although resistance arose to oppose the occupying Nazi’s, full liberation awaited the arrival of allied forces. The liberation came however at tremendous cost.
In the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul shows the bondage that people have under sin. Although some try to resist the effects, there is no ultimate relief through human actions. The law through Moses was meant to show the ultimately unattainable standard and drive people to flee to the liberation of promise given to the descendants of Abraham. The liberation from sin is only achieved because of the tremendous cost paid by Christ in fulfilling the law.
It’s been said that freedoms that have not been obtained from personal sacrifice, are often taken for granted. Many today fail to appreciate their freedom when they fail to consider the tremendous price paid for their liberation. To this day, many of the people of liberated countries thank the efforts and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers for their liberation. As we remember their sacrifice, we look to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ who achieved the ultimate liberation from sin and death.
Galatians 3:23-4:3 shows how “Freedom is Never Free” with the sacrifice of Christ achieving liberation from sin and death, as seen through humanity’s :1) Collective Bondage (Galatians 3:23-24), 2) Individual Freedom Galatians 3:25-27), 3) Collective Freedom (Galatians 3:28-4:3)
We can see how “Freedom is Never Free” with the sacrifice of Christ achieving liberation from sin and death, as seen through humanity’s :
1) Collective Bondage (Galatians 3:23-24)
Galatians 3:23-24  Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
Here the Apostle Paul uses two figures to represent God’s law and its effect on unbelievers, first that of a prison and then that of a guardian. As we have seen from Rom. 7:7-9 last time, the purpose of the law is to reveal and convict of sin Before faith comes, every person is, in the deepest sense, held captive/kept in custody under the law of God and the burden of sin. The personal pronoun “we” therefore refers to all people (Fung, R. Y. K. (1988). The Epistle to the Galatians (p. 167). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).
Every human being lives as a captive slave chained under the judgment of God’s immutable, universal law, the demands of which one must pay by eternal death and hell, or one lives by faith as utterly free from judgment (Rom. 8:1) as a redeemed child of God under His sovereign and eternal grace. The believer who looks back realizes that being under the law had a good effect, because it showed us our guilty helplessness, moral and spiritual bankruptcy, danger of judgment, and his need of a deliverer. The impossible demands of the law are not designed to save but to condemn sinners and drive them toward the Savior. When Paul talks that before faith, people were held captive/In custody under the law, it refers to the nature of life where one continually violates it and is imprisoned. People are, as it were, on death row, sentenced to execution for his sin, the wages of which is death (Rom. 6:23). Remember there are positive elements to this captivity. Paul personally experienced these. Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and placed in a Roman garrison. While he was imprisoned, a group of enemies conspired to assassinate him (Acts 23:12). When this plot was discovered, the Roman Commander called out a detachment of 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen to escort Paul to Caesarea. The apostle was still a prisoner but his captors actually saved his life. By placing a guard around him, they were eventually able to deliver him safely to Rome. In much the same way, the law kept the Jews under its protective custody. It watched over them, keeping them safe until it could lead them to Christ (Philip Graham Ryken. Galatians: Reformed Expository Commentary. P&R Publications. 2005. p. 138)
Please turn to Romans 2
Not only that, but everyone is imprisoned until the coming of faith. Historically, the Jews were locked up under the covenant of law until the Messiah came and fulfilled the covenant of promise and faith given to Abraham. In a similar way, even the Gentile believers in Galatia, like Gentile believers of every age, were held captive/in custody under the law written in their hearts:
Romans 2:14-16 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (ESV)