Summary: If the Law was not the means to salvation, then what is it’s purpose?
“The Purpose of the Law”
• “Before faith came.”
o Definite article in the Greek before “faith” the faith.
o Before faith means before the fulfillment of the faith, that is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
• “shut up”
o Means imprisoned, they were still under the weight and guilt of their sin.
o Yes they still had faith before Christ and were given the picture of God’s redemptive purpose, but only the sacrifice of the Lamb of God could once and for all set us free from the bondage and weight of the Law.
• “Schoolmaster,” also translated taskmaster, tutor, guardian, and teacher.
o All these, except guardian, seem to point to the fact that the Law was bring us to a place of knowledge and maturity.
o In fact it was, but not towards salvation, the Law was to teach us about sin and how offensive it is to God.
o However the idea of teaching was not the idea Paul has in mind here.
o Unfortunately that word is one of those we don’t have an exact English translation, but the term guardian probably comes closest.
o The Greek word is paidagogos, which was a slave that was employed by wealthy Greek and Roman families who held responsibility usually over a male child.
o This slave would have been in charge of this son’s safety, conduct, and development from the ages of 6 until 16.
• “to bring us unto Christ.”
o Paul is saying that the Law kept us on the straight and narrow and led us until a time that we might be justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
o It is also important to note that Paul is not talking about the internal precepts of the Law; Jesus taught we are still to keep those.
o He is strictly speaking of those external, ceremonial rituals of the Law (circumcision, sacrifices, ceremonial washings, feasts, ect.).
• We no longer need that guardian because we are now the adopted children of God through faith in Christ.
• This does not mean that we automatically become spiritually mature and no need of guidance, we are just entering a new phase of our life, one changed by a relationship with God.
• Just like that young man at the age of 16 was no longer under the control of that guardian, but he is not yet mature there is still a lot to learn.
• We are baptized by the Holy Spirit that we may ‘put on’ the righteousness of Christ.
o This is not something we have to earn (righteousness of Christ), it is already accredited to us; but it is something we should always desire deeply to live out; again not because we have to but because we want to.
• We do not cease having our own identities; however our new identity in Christ super cedes any other relationship I may have now.
o I am a Christian above all other things; above my race, my social status, and above my gender.
• Lastly, Paul again reiterates who the true “seed” of Abraham is, those who now belong to Jesus.