Tuesday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 3:23-25

No Longer Captive to the Guardian

In theology-speak, we sometimes use a term, “salvation-history,” and by it we simply mean that process in the course of history whereby God accomplished His will to save His people.  In so doing, salvation-history looks at what God was doing in particular eras as revealed in Scripture and thus attempts to get an over-arching view of things.  We might say that this is what Paul was doing for us in this passage—telling us what God was doing and why He did it during that time in Israel’s history wherein the Mosaic Law was the covenant under which the nation labored.

We are still answering the question: Why the law?  We discovered yesterday that God “imprisoned everything under sin,” so that, in the words of Romans 11:32: “He may have mercy on all.”  Paul continues this line of thought here.  He adds, “We were 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.”  So then, in the broad scheme of things, in God’s history of salvation, He determined that before the coming of His Christ, there should be a time in which men labored under the law.  This was to teach men his law, show them their utter inability to keep it (Romans 3:20; 7:13), and thus prepare the way for justifying men through faith in His Son who came “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), or, we might say, in God’s appointed time.

That is “salvation history.”  But then this salvation history is mirrored in the histories of each and every person.  As we are each born in sin (Psalm 51:5), under the law, and under God’s righteous indignation and wrath (Romans 1:18ff), we each understand what it is to be a law-breaker in need of redemption, in need of another way of salvation.  It is this conviction of our sins which the law necessarily brings that drives us to the cross pleading forgiveness, cleansing, and, in short, saving grace.  And when this happens, the law no longer is necessary for the believer.  Oh, it is a good reference for examining oneself, but the believer now has the Holy Spirit living within—an internal law—that guides him and compels him to do that which the law requires, yes, and even far beyond.  The law only dealt with externals; the Holy Spirit makes right the motivations and desires that may be summed up in the word, “love,” which was the aim of the law all along.

So the law drives us to Christ that we may receive the power (Holy Spirit) to fulfill the law summed up in the commandments to love God and neighbor.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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