1 “Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
2 and all the brothers and sisters with me, to the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:1-5 NIV
Last post I had a few responses asking about the implications of my saying that, I believe, the law has come to a halt as a custodian with the coming of Jesus. First of all, I apologize for any confusion but it is Paul and not me that states this fact:
1 “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:3-5
Galatians 4:3-5 makes it plain that Jesus was born of a woman and born under the law (Jewish heritage). It is also clear that Jesus redeemed us who were under the law and released us from bondage to the elements of the world. Now there is quite a bit of discussion over “elements of the world,” but in Galatians they, at the very least, include the Mosaic law as part of the definition.
13 “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14
Paul goes on in Chapter 6 to say that he only glories “in the cross” and that anyone who follows this rule “peace and mercy be unto you”. (v. 16) The reason the law was only for a time was that with the coming of Christ the “end of time” broke into the world. Verse 4 makes it clear that the point of Jesus’ salvation work is to “rescue us from this present evil age.” In Christ, the Messiah has come and brought redemption to His children and that redemption is from the curse of the law that manifests sin in our lives.
If you read through Galatians 5 Paul makes it plain that to live under law is to be “separated (estranged) from God” and “fallen from grace.” (v. 4) He also adds, “Christ will profit you nothing” in verse two. These are strong words and should give everyone who continues to believe they are under obligation to the law to have pause.
With the coming of Christ, as I’ve already noted, the breaking into the present evil age has taken place. When we come to Christ we, through Christ (in Christ), have entered into the promise of the “age to come.” In other words we have entered into salvation and the benefits of salvation is as if we were already in the world made new. Jesus refers to this aspect of ministry as “the Kingdom of God.”
The law condemns us and holds us in bondage to a reality of life that points out and enslaves us to failure. Remember, the law is good but we are weak and through our human nature fall short of the perfect requirements of the law. This is the whole point of God’s redemptive act—we need rescuing from sin, Satan, and death. If we could keep the law, all the law perfectly, then there would be no need of Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself at Calvary. It would be true, “Christ will profit you nothing.”
But, since we now live in the “now and the not yet,” we live under the law of Christ and not the law of Sinai. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 He goes on in verse 18 to state, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Now look at verses 5 and 6, “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
As Christians we live according to the Spirit not the law. We live according to grace not the constraints of the Mosaic Law. We live in “the new creation,” (6:15) not in the “present evil age.” Galatians 6:8 sums it up perfectly, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
For Israel and for us as Christians, with the coming of Christ comes the closing of the law and now we live under the law of Christ (6:2); the transformed life that allows the fruit of the Spirit to pour through us in the manifestation of “Love” for our neighbor. This is the law we now live under and it encompasses so much more than simply checking off 10 commandments and saying, “yup, I’ve kept them today so I’m good to go.” The law of Christ is a total transformation of the heart that takes our self-centeredness and casts it aside (though we never allow God to totally do that for us) and in its place show love.
Reading over this post I’m not sure I’ve cleared anything up and maybe I’ve even muddled it a bit. The point for me is I just love writing about the grace of God and His amazing rescue mission to deliver me (us) out of this present evil age through “giving Himself for our sins.” And how can we forget Brennon Manning’s great saying in a post like this. “God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because you will never be as you should be.” Now that is love!