It was difficult for early Jewish believers to embrace the fact that Christ embodied the better covenant, replacing the Law with grace. They still struggled with whether or not they must keep their old Jewish practices under the law now that they were in Christ. They felt both were in order. In this passage, Paul is attempting to assist believers with their understanding of living a life under the freedom of God’s grace.
Paul explains that the Law had several purposes. It first exposed our need for a Savior. Then, it gave a framework for living. Finally, it acted as a placeholder for God’s people to keep them moving forward with God until Christ completed His mission. The law was never intended to solve the sin problem.
So, Paul tells us that while the law had a definite purpose for God’s people, that purpose was never to restore the relationship between God and man. If we look to the law for restoration, we will never be able to perfectly keep the law, nor will the law ever have the ability to take away the sin that inhabits our lives and separates us from God.
Therefore, if we cannot rely upon the Law for salvation, should we hold it out as the standard that people must attain? Paul says absolutely not! The standard now has become acceptance of the gift of salvation. As we surrender our lives to Christ, we not only become justified by our faith; we are transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit to live our lives honoring God – not to obtain His favor, but as a result of grateful obedience.
Following Jesus does not provide a free pass to riotous living. Instead, it gives us the desire to become like the Lord – something the law could never do. We seek the Lord and follow His lead. When we do, His spirit transforms us into His image. The term ”Christian” literally means “little Christs”.
Gods Bless You
15 Brethren, I speak [x]in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s [y]covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds [z]conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is [aa]based on law, it is no longer [ab]based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
19 Why the Law then? It was added [ac]because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the [ad]agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not [ae]for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness [af]would indeed have been [ag]based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up [ah]everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a [ai]tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is [aj]neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you [ak]belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s [al]descendants, heirs according to promise.