Our efforts to please God by obedience to that law have shown us that we must go beyond the law for a system of salvation. Thus we learned the lesson the law sought to teach us as tutor/guardian. Does this mean we no longer have to obey it? No. As we saw above, the law was our “supervisor” until we found Christ, and was thus like a guardian over a child until he or she reaches maturity. But let’s draw out the analogy. Is it the design of child-rearing that when the child grows to maturity he or she then casts off all the values of the parent or guardian and lives in a totally different way? No. If all goes well the adult child no longer is coerced into obedience as before, but now has internalized the basic values and lives in a like manner because he or she wants to. So Paul is indicating not that we no longer have any relation to the values of God’s law, but it no longer is a system of salvation. It no longer forces obedience through coercion and fear. The gospel means that we no longer obey the law out of fear of rejection and hope of salvation-by-performance. But when we grasp salvation-by-promise, our hearts are filled with gratitude and a desire to please and be like our Savior. The only way to do that is through obeying the law. But once we come to it with this new motivation, we now are better in our obedience than ever.
A) If we think that the law-obedience will save us, we become emotionally incapable of admitting just how searching and demanding it is. For example, Jesus says that to resent or disdain anyone is a form of murder in Matt. 5:21ff. Only if you know that you cannot fulfill it completely, and that Christ did it for you, will you be able to admit just how broad and deep this command is.
B) Secondly, grateful joy is a motive that will lead to much more endurance in obedience than fearful compliance. Fearful compliance makes obedience a drudgery that can’t take adversity. In short, the gospel allows us to truly honor the law in a way that legalistic people cannot. Without the gospel, we may obey the law, but we will hate it. We will use it, but we will not truly love it. In Galatians 2:17-20, Paul says now we “live for God. ” In other words, we do not obey God any longer for our sake, by using the law-salvation-system to get things from God. Rather, we now obey God for his sake, using the law’s content to please and delight our Father.
There is much more on this motivation in Galatians. Law and grace work together in Christian salvation. Many people want a sense of joy and acceptance but they will not admit the seriousness of their sin. They will not listen to the law’s searching and painful analysis of their lives and hearts. But unless we see how helpless and profoundly sinful we are, the message of salvation will not be exhilarating and liberating. Unless we know how big our debt is, we cannot have any idea of how great Christ’s payment was. If we do not think that we are all that bad, the idea of grace will not change us.
One of the problems scripture reminds us of in abusing the law is the desire for Christians to cling to the law for their sense of self-worth and approval — even though we may intellectually know we have already been approved through what Christ did for us. If we understand the gospel and the cross very deeply this gives man a completely new personal and social dynamic for growth in our faith and in seeing the purpose of the God’s laws and commandments in a new light. This is what the book of Galatians tells us. Paul is so passionate aboout this that he tells the Jews to even go and emasculate themselves!!!! I may have used different but similar words on some BLOGS and with some pharasaical friends in the past!
Instead of allowing a person to mature in their faith by awe and reverence of the cross we misuse the law by finding a personal righteoussness in the law. Read Phil 3:7-12 where it discusses mans righteoussness, one that comes from the law versus Gods righteoussness — the righteoussness of the gospel of Christ.
Its very clear to me!
I blog to get out many thoughts I have and to work through my own sins. I have always been a fan of vision statments but it seems to always be changing as I change personally. My current vision has not even been tweaked now for 6-7 years and it means a lot to me as I work it out, not to please God, but because I know God has placed these thoughts in my life through the counsel of scripture, good personal friends, and observing the social and moral errors of others as they work through their own issues and sins.
I am getting off-track here but I have had to say goodbye to some close friends due to my sins and their erroneous behavior… but what is in its place I value much more!
Its time to live in line with the truth of the Gospel (Gal 2:14)!