Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.
Paul continues the theme of justification by faith in his letter to the Galatians. The concept that God asks us to consciously choose Him was not new, but now it applied in a new way. Paul teaches that the law was there to protect us from sin and guide us toward a relationship with God. Now that Christ has come to teach us more about faith, we have new freedoms, but also renewed and expanded responsibilities.
When God led the Hebrews out of Egypt (Exodus 13), they had no society, no rules for living together as a community. God gave them His law to teach them how to live with Him and each other. It took time for them to put their trust in God, and not to blindly struggle on their own.
When Jesus came, He continued the teaching that had been given. It wasn’t a new law – Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). It was a new way of seeing how we were connected to God and each other, and our duties for living together as His children. We must continue to study and learn, applying God’s law for us in our lives every day.
Eternal God, we are grateful for the rules You have given us, a framework for our relationship with You and all things. Help us to see that Your law is not to punish us, but to lead us all to salvation. Amen.