How does the law of the Old Testament fit into our lives today? When we are in Christ we are not bound by the law. Because of what Jesus accomplished for us we now live by grace. Paul however explained to us how the law and God’s promise (grace) work together.
Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Galatians 3:19
In chapter 3 of Galatians Paul discusses two things, the promise and the Law. Let’s look at when each of these was given. When God chose Abraham He gave a promise to him and his child. 430 years later after the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage God gave the law to Moses.
The question that Paul answers is, did the law replace the promise? Here’s what Paul said in verses 17 and 18.
The covenant (promise) between God and Abraham was fulfilled in Messiah and cannot be altered. Yet the written law was not even given to Moses until 430 years later, after God had “signed” his contract with Abraham! The law, then, doesn’t supersede the promise since the royal proclamation was given before the law. Galatians 3:17-18 (TPT)
In our verse for today, Paul raises another question, why then, was the law given? This brings us to our question, is the law of the Old Testament still valid today?
The Old Testament Law
Looking at history for a moment, after the great flood the population had increased nicely. God chose Abraham and asked him and his wife to move away from their homeland. It was then that God gave him the promise that would last throughout the rest of human existence.
Jacob, Abraham’s grandson moved his family to Egypt during a famine. While they were there they became a nation within themselves. The Egyptians felt threatened by them and made them into slaves. After being in slavery for 400 years God called Moses to lead them out of their bondage.
Once they were on their own, the Israelites didn’t really know right from wrong, therefore God gave them the law through Moses. The Lord wasn’t trying to control them, or be a dictator to them. No, Paul told us the law is a guide.
The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. Galatians 3:24
The King James version says it this way. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. So the law was given so we would know if we were going off course morally and spiritually. The way Paul said it makes it pretty clear: the law was given alongside of the promise.
When Jesus came, he didn’t abolish the law, he fulfilled it. The promise became even more evident because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. With that said, God made it available to everyone who believes in him.
Living in God’s grace frees us from the law. If however, we stay off of the pathway of that grace, the law will guide us back toward Jesus.
You might want to look at this related post called Grace.
Lord thank you for the law. It is the schoolmaster that puts us back on course when we stray. But we especially thank you for the headmaster who is Jesus.
To get a clearer picture, read the entire chapter here
A related post that describes us as being His altar can be read here. Did God Really Want An Altar Made From Dirt?
You would enjoy reading the cornerstone post on discipleship called How To Be An Effective Devoted Disciple Of Jesus
Featured Image Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash
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