#DailyDevotion The Law & The Gospel Are Two Distinct Things
Gal 3:23-29 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. (24) So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
So we have these two things, law and gospel. You must constantly watch and make distinction of these two things particularly in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The Law held us captive, imprisoned us. It acted as a boundary that we did not want to hold us back. But for fear of punishment we may have done what it told us to do but we hated it. It held our conscience captive through it accusations. It condemned us to torment and to a living hell should we ever think about it. It just stood there demanding us to do something we could never fully accomplish. We may have tried to quash it with reasoning, “God wouldn’t demand us to do something we couldn’t do.” “God just wants our best.” Yet in the deep of our hearts we know it isn’t true. The Law of God always stands there telling us as much.
The law was also our guardian. In one sense it kept us out of getting into more trouble than we would have without it. It kept our outward actions in check. In showing us how our Maker wants us to behave, we may have tried to conform to it. This kept our actions in check and kept us and others from running roughshod over everyone to get what we wanted. We knew there would temporal punishments if we transgressed the law. But even then, the Law as our guardian and tutor was teaching us we never really quite measured up to what we were supposed to do. It was teaching us ultimately our righteousness could not stand up before God.
The Law has prepared us for faith in Christ. What the Law could never do, Jesus accomplished through faith in him. For through faith in Christ Jesus and what he has done for us we are credited the righteousness of God the law demanded. Faith has given us the Holy Spirit who writes the law upon our hearts so we love the law, want to do the law and even gives us a willing spirit to keep and do the law. For the Law of God is no longer a threat to us with faith in Jesus. We know Jesus has fulfilled the Law for us and put an end to it. What needs to be accomplished by the Law is accomplished through faith in Jesus. Consequently, since the Law no longer threatens us we seek out how we may please our Lord Jesus Christ and fulfill his Law of to love one another as he has loved us. This is seen in the greatest fruit of our faith when we forgive those who sin against us and do not accuse them before God.
When we have been baptized into Christ Jesus and have faith in him we become God’s sons. We have put on Christ and his righteousness. We have the promised seed of Abraham and in him we are heirs of his promise which is a new heavens and a new earth. We are not heirs according to what we have done but because God has made us his children through baptism. There in our baptism God gives us birth from above, regenerates our hearts, gives us the life of Jesus, clothes us with his righteousness and puts his name on us receiving us as his sons through adoption. All this is not of ourselves but it is the gift of God which no keeping of the law could ever accomplish.
Heavenly Father, through the law you prepared our hearts, showing us our deficiencies, showing us our need for a savior. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have shown us our savior and gave us faith in him. Continue to give us your Holy Spirit and faith in Christ that we may be your sons and live the life you want us to live here below until you fully renew us at the resurrection on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.