Paul continues here to explain the necessity of actual faith in Christ to the people of Galatia. “Before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law…” he begins. However, he continues to state that they were in felt held under guard for a purpose “kept for the faith which would soon be revealed.” See those whose earthly lives predate the coming of the Messiah could not have had faith in Jesus, who had not come yet. And it’s funny because one of my biggest hang-ups before I came ot be a Christian was “what about everyone who lived before Him, did they just go to hell?” It’s funny because if I’d only read the Scripture befoer making such an assumption, I’d have known the answer. I doubted the faith because of a question that God had answered nearly two thousand years ago. Even though He had not yet come, they wer still held in righteousness by the Law itself. Before the incarnation of Christ, there was still the Law, and those who had held to it were counted as righteous.
In this context, however, we should consider the Law to be basically like a tudor, a teacher, teaching what we should and shouldn’t do. We learn what is accepted and what is not, and then through repentance and faith in Christ, we might be saved. And once we come through that repentance and faith in Christ, we might be saved. Logically, once we’ve achieved the point of repentance and faith, we no longer need the tudor. Not that it is useless, merely unneccesary to live a life in Christ. We no longer need that teacher, that tudor. Even though it is still there to compare our lives to, to make sure that we are still living a life in Christ.
It’s just like in school. You study, you learn your subjects, but you can’t stay in school your whole life. At some point, you have to go out into the real world with all of the knowledge you’ve obtained, and actually apply it. If you make a mistake, you apologize, trust that you’re forgiven (well, hopefully), and continue working. So it is in Christ. You have you’re tudor when you’re younger in the faith, you learn what you are expected to do (most of it is pretty obvious), you go out and apply it to your life, and when you a mistake (and you will I promise you, I’ve lost track in my own life), you apologize (repent), and move on, with faith that as long as your repentance is sincere, you are forgiven. I can not stress how importance the idea of sincerety is here though. Repenting of something that you have no intention of quitting is not only ineffective, it’s actually not what the word repentance means. To repent means to turn away from something, it’s not waking up with a hangover and saying, “I’ll never do that again,” and then going to the bar with your friends.
See, the Law isn’t given to us legastically, it’s given to us as a guideline. It’s given to us so that we will know when we’ve sinned, and we can repent, confess, and move on. All of us sin, ALL of us. There’s only one who has ever walked this earth without sin, and that one was Jesus. We were given the Law so that we could learn that, apart from the grace of the Holy Spirit, we can’t keep it. Without His grace we could never attain to those standards, and if someone were to manage to, they’d be filled with pride, which is a sin. In never being able to attain to these standards though, it’s so easy to throw up our hands and surrender, but we must never do that. The Law teaches us that value, nay, the necessity of repentance and humility. All of us sin, even the most holy man in the world is probably proud of that fact, and therefore sinful. But, we must never give up. We trust in Christ to forgive us and pray that He would remove that sin from our lives.
And, Paul takes it even further. He states that “all are sons of God through grace in Christ.” Do you understand what that means? It means that Jewish, Greek, slave, free, man, woman, rich, poor, all of us are sons of the God most high. Do you understand the implications there? What Paul is saying here is that it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what country your ancestors are from, if you’re rich or poor. None of it matters. We are all sons and daughters of God the Father. When we call each other brother and sister in Church, we mean it most literally. Remember that when you see someone in a bad mood at Church, or overwhelmed with their children, or whatever the circumstance; that it your brother or sister. How would you react if your actual brother or sister were there on the brink of tears from being overwhelmed? It should mirror how you treat each other, not only in Church, but in life. We who believe are the seed of Abraham; we are the very plants that he planted finally blooming in this generation.
He concludes by stating that the heir, when he is a child, is under the guidance of another. Parent, guardian, babysitter, whatever the situation, he is under this guidance. Likewise, when we were children, we were also under the guidance of someone, we were in bondage to societal philosophies and traditions. We were told when to go to bed, what to wear, what we were eating for dinner; as well as a multitude of political ramblings. But each of these things shaped who we grew up to be. But, as we have grown, we’ve been able to see the true light of the Holy Spirit shining on us. Likewise, when the time had come, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem not only us, but all generations, past, present, and future. The past, who had lived under the Law, as He had promised Abraham; the present, all who were in Corinth and Galatia, the apostles, everyone; and the future generations for all time. Our children, you, me, our grandchildren, everyone has this opportunity.
See, some of us have been going to Church just because it’s what you do. We may listen to podcasts, maybe even read theology books, but what do our lives say? Do our lives really reflect the life that Christ commanded of His followers? Are we humble or prideful? Do we love eveyrone regardless of what they’ve done to us, or do we get mad and walk away? Jesus prayed for the very people who crucified Him, while they were doing it. How do we react when someone says something we don’t like online? Are we humble, or do we hide behind that fact that they’ll never be able to take it out on you in real life?
See, we Christians have this bad habit of talking a great faith. We speak incessantly about being a Christian, but when we disagree with someone, do we truly represent Christ, or do we just get angry and propgate the fight? In the last few months, due to health issues, I’ve been online a lot, and I constantly see so many Christians arguing with people and threatening them, using words my seven year old isn’t even allowed to say. And all of this makes me think, if I can see what you’re doing, or you can see what I’m doing, we both know that Jesus can. He sees all and knows all. And none of us ever know when our time is coming. It’s by our lives that Jesus will judge us, not by our final words. We need to repent now and start living the life that Jesus Himself told us to live. No, the Commandments were not given to us legalistically, but they were given to us for a reason. If you can read this, take the time to look at them, look at Jesus’ teachings, and ask yourself, are you truly living a life that you would want to answer to Him for, especially as those claiming to be His children? But if you can read this, then you know that for time, there’s time. Look at the commandments, look at Jesus’ teachings, and evaluate your life in comparison. There’s still time right now to repent and confess and turn back to our Lord, to whom belongs all glory, honor, and blessing.
Christ is in our midst.