Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 months ago

Jesus and the Law (Gal 4:4)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Galatians 4:4

Let's turn our attention to glacians chapter four. I'm going to be reading a lot from this book tonight, but for now let's just look at glacians for versus one through seven. Let's her God's Word Glaciers, for I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way, we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying Abba father. So you are no longer a slave but a son, and of a son, than an heir through God. Well, for the time being, this is my final sermon on this passage and glaciers four verse, for where we hear the beginnings of the one who has no beginning, the beginnings of the incarnation, that is, of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We've considered in turn these four phrases, or three phrases and then a fourth one this evening. The first was in the fullness of time, the second was that the Lord God, God the father, sent forth his son. The one we covered this morning was that he was born of a woman, and then to this evening, that he was born under the law. Each of these things leads from one to the next to develop an and paint a picture for us by which we understand the work of Christ. Paul gives to us these four phrases so that we might know how it is and by whom it is that we are redeemed from under the law, that we no longer are under the law. Everything's been building to this point and it's important to take a moment to reflect and what it means that Jesus was born under the law to redeem us from under the law. Now, the Bible uses the word law in a lot of different ways and to refer to different things at different times. Sometimes it refers to a specific law, I'm sometimes it refers to natural law, law that we are all obligated to fulfill. Sometimes it refers to the Mosaic Law, the...

Law Moses or particular laws in Moses, and there are other we could add to this list as well. And so the best way to determine what the word law means has this range of possible meetings, is, of course, to look at the context. And the context tells us that here Paul's referring directly to the law of Moses, but has something bigger in mind as he speaks of it. So I want to prove that to you and show you that from the scriptures here, from Galatians. Begin with me in Glacians, Chapter Two, glaciers to Paul lays down this principle in verse sixteen. He says, yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. So we also have believed in Christ, Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Now the reason the Paul lays down this principle here is that the people of Galatia were tempted to put themselves back under the works of the law Christ had redeemed them out as we read, and did glacians, for redeemed them out from under the law, but they were trying to go back to it. He says, Oh, foolish glacians, who has a bewitched you? In the beginning of chapter three, this is a bad thing. He says of those who are trying to do this that he wishes they would emasculate themselves. He says that this is a contrary Gospel, a false gospel, a promise of good news that is really terrible news, bad news. He says that even if an angel should preach it from heaven, we should not believe it. So this principle that we cannot be saved by the works of the law, by that or even more specifically, by the works of the law, no one is justified, is laid down here at the beginning, at the be in this passage that we've read. So what does he want us to do instead of live by works of the law? Well, he tells us he will calls us to live by faith, and he points us to a very particular person. As we lead up to Galatians chapter four, he points us to Abraham. He says this is how we came to have life notice what he says. For example, in verse two of Chapter Three, he says, let me ask you only this. Did you receive the spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the spirit, are you now perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain? If indeed it was in vain, does he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by the works of the law or by the hearing with faith, just as Abraham the leaved, and it was counted to him...

...as righteousness? This Abraham as an example to us, as shows us how it is that we live. We live by faith. Abraham was not justified by the works of the law, he was justified by by faith counted to him as righteousness. And so when we put our faith in God, we become like Abraham, even sons of Abraham. So galatians three, verse seven says. Know, then, that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. Well, you remember that back in Genesis, God made this Grand Promise to Abraham. He promised him this, he made a covenant with him and promised that through him, all the people of the world, all nations, all the families of the world would be blessed. In other words, Abraham would receive this inheritance and all of his airs would receive that inheritance as well. So the question is, how do we become sons of Abraham? Do we come sons of Abraham by the works of the law, by being justified in God's say, by the works of the law, or do we receive the righteousness of God through faith? Well, the answer is the second. Abraham was justified by faith, and so also his son's share in that inheritance through faith. Verse Seven again. Know, then, that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. The nation's are blessed through him, him, and we live by faith. Again Paul Repeats himself. In verse ten, he says for all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse. Now this is a this is adding something in a way. Before he has said that we only live, we come to life, we come to have the spirit, not through the works of the law but through faith. And now we add something else. He says that those who try to live by the works of the law, those who say I will be justified before God by doing the things that God requires. He says that that kind of person is under a curse. Now that runs counter to what a lot of times we are taught and what we are tempted to believe about God. We believe that if we rely on our works of the law, that if we go and do the things that are obedient, if we strive really hard and keep trying and keep trying and keep trying, eventually God will be pleased with us again. Eventually God will say, blessed are you. But what Paul says is those who rely on the works of the law, which sounds like a good thing, are under a curse. Here's why. Any quotes from Deuteronomy Twenty six, twenty six, and saying this, he says, cursed be everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the Law and do them. Deuteronomy Twenty...

...six were he quotes from says curse to be everyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them, and all the people shall say Amen. Of course this is similar to the Covenant of Works that God made with Abraham in the garden. She broke, like the people of Israel did Jose is six seven, we are told that, like Adam, they transgressed the covenant. They did not abide by all the things written in the book of the law. They did not fulfill the law, they did not do the things that were required and therefore cursed. Are they cursed? Are they? And this book of the law here refers to specifically to the law of Moses, the law that God gave to his people on Mount Sinai, maybe even especially, of the book of Deuteronomy, in which the Covenant is laid out a second time, right as the people are about to enter the land? How do we know that it's the law of Moses that he has in mind? Well, it's because he tells us this. Notice in a chapter three. Again, as he continues, in verse Seventeen, he speaks about the promises of Abraham and what comes after it. Look at Verse Sixteen. Paul says, now promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say two offsp rings, referring to many, but referring to one and to your offspring, who is Christ. This is what I mean. The law which came four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not annull a covenant previously ratified by God so as to make the promise void. So you see what he's saying here. He's saying God has done these two things in history. He speaking about two things God has done in history. The first one is God's promise to Abraham and to his offspring Christ. The second thing is the adding of the law four hundred and thirty years afterwards. This refers to the law of Moses, or the book of the law. He draws from exodus twelve, verse forty, where we read the time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. So Paul is talking about the law that God gave to his people under Moses after they came out of Egypt. Abraham was promised these things. His family grew, they multiplied and then they went into Egypt and after four hundred and thirty years they came out of Egypt and God gave them his law on Mount Sinai. He gave them this law and he commanded obedience. He commanded them to do the law and said, as we read in Deuteronomy, is Paul quotes here in glacians, cursed be everyone who does not abide by all the things of the law.

And now ask yourself, is that what happened to the people of God? Were they cursed by not abiding by the things of law? Absolutely, over and over again, the prophets warned and called them to obedience. Over and over again, God gave parables and Miracles and symbols and all kinds of events to call them to obedience. And over and over again they failed, and not in minor ways, as we know from the sermons and is equal and other places. The people of Israel failed on every account and did horrible things. They filled the land with murder and bloodshed and justice. Those who are in power, who are called to protect and keep the people, robbed the people. Instead of giving them and key and keeping them in the law of God, they supplanted their they they replaced God's law with their own law, God's priesthood with their own priesthood, God's temple with their own temples, and on and on and on it went. We read that they even sacrifice their own children to these idols. Murder and justice, bloodshed, idolatry, all kinds of sexual immorality. It built up a built up in God, in his kindness, kept calling down the repentance and they did not obey and eventually they lost the blessings that that were promised, the blessings of the land, the blessings of Cain and the blessings of peace and prosperity. They broke the covenant and they were cursed. This curse came about for them. But we and we also read, and as we continue to read, this flows into our next section. God speaks about those and the purpose of these this period of time, before getting to our section about sons and heirs. What does he say? What was the law for during this time? Then, if God gave this law to his people, what does that do with the promise to Abraham and what does it do? What was its purpose in history? Well, with regard to the promise of Abraham, it doesn't annull it, right, remember that, Paul says. When the law came four hundred and thirty years afterward, it doesn't annul the covenant that was made to Abraham. The promise is still there. Verse Eighteen of Chapter Three. Four. If the inheritance comes by the law, it is no longer by promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. So then this question. Well then, why then the law? Well, that's exactly what verse Nineteen says. WHY THEM LAW? Here's the answer. It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels, by an intermediate hear He. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law...

...then, contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not, for if a law had been given that could give life and I could not on, then righteousness would indeed by be by the law. But the scripture imprisoned everything under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. I'm going to keep reading here now. Before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming of faith would be revealed, or coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith is come, we're no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are sons of God through faith. For as many of you who are baptized into Christ have would put put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, nor slave nor free, there is neither male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus, and if you are Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring airs, according to the promise. So you will see what he's saying here. He's saying that there was a period of time when we were, when God's people were under the law. But what was the purpose of that? It was to serve as a guardian. It was a temporary period of time, during what we might call childhood, under which the people of God would match. Sure, as the plan of God mature, it is the offspring of Abraham Jesus, Christ would be revealed. But when we come to chapter four, what he says is while they're in this period of guardianship, while they're under the tutelage of the law, this temporary time, they're kind of like slaves. Notice what he says in Verse Four. Are Sorry chapter, for I mean that the air, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave. Yes, he's a child, yes he's an air, but he he does not the master of the House, he doesn't enjoy all the privileges of the house, he's still won under control. He's still one who's being told what to do, he's still one who's being directed, often because of lack of wisdom, hardheartedness, all these kinds of things. He's no different than a slave, even though he is the owner of everything, but he's under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way, we also, when we were children, were enslaved the elementary principles of this world. So he says that there was this slavery that we were under when we were under the law of God, under the Law of Moses, this law that he speaks of. He continues to go on and compare it to hag ore and Sarah. He says of Hag are that she is Mount Sinai, that Sarah is Jerusalem. The formerly we were under HAG are, we were under signed, I under its law, but now we are under Jerusalem and we are not to put ourselves again under that yoke of slavery. Looking...

...at chapter five, verse one, for Freedom, Christ to set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. He says that we are not to put ourselves back under the law. These Christians who are being tempted to go back and be circumcised again, go back and submits the law of Moses. Paul is saying no, no, no. That period of time, that covenant, was for a particular purpose. It didn't annul the Covenant Abraham, but it was to bring God's people under a period of teaching, a time of learning. Paul is saying that the law of Moses played an important part in the redemption of God, in the unfolding of grace that was first promised after man fell, but the rule it played was a temporary one, a limited one, and we're not to put ourselves back under it. It was a guardian, it was a manager until the date set by the father, the date when the fullness of time would come, when we would be made no longer children under tutelage, but heirs according to the promise of Abraham. Any who put their faith in the promise where airs, and that's a really amazing thing. Notice, remember what's Paul said. Either Jew nor Greek, slave, nor free, male or female, these distinctions don't matter. It means that we who are gentiles can become sons of Abraham airs of the inheritance, even though we were never formerly under the law of Moses. Under the Law of Moses, the Jews were in some ways like slaves. Their blessings were contingent upon the obedience to the law. They're entering into its particular kind of life, this temporal life in the world. But the lesson they learned, and the lesson that we is the watching world, can learn even from a future point in history, is that they could not obey. They did not obey. The blessings promised in Deuteronomy were never secured, much less the eternal blessings that the temporal ones pointed to. But the law of Moses, Paul says, was never intended to secure eternal blessings. That was never the point, Remember Chapter Twenty One, for if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be of the law. But it wasn't. It never could. The righteousness could never come through the law, it could only come through faith, only through faith. And so he speaks to these Christians who attempted to come back under the law of Moses, and he says, did you begin by the Law of Moses? Did you gain in the spirit by obedience to the works of the law. No, you, of course you didn't.

You did it by hearing the faith. You heard the preaching of the Gospel. You Heard of Christ crucified before you. You are taught these things, as he says in Galatians three, verse one, Oh Foolish Glacians, who is bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. They heard the preaching of Christ, they heard the preaching of the Cross, and they believed and they were given the spirit of God. And so he says. I if you came to faith, if you were regenerated and if now received the spirit of God dwelling in you by the hearing of faith, why do you think now that, having the spirit, you are going to be perfected in the flesh, which is to say you're going to be perfected in the striving after obedience according to the natural man, that you're going to just go into yourself and work out your salvation and and earn it out of Your Own Righteousness and strength? It's not going to happen. Paul says, we live by faith. The righteous live by faith, not by the works of the law. So when Paul says that Jesus was born under the law, he clearly means the law of Moses, as he calls it, the book of the law, the requirements of which resulted in blessing for those who obey and curse for those who disobey. And as our mediator, he suffered those curses. Not because of his disobedience, though, but because of ours. Jesus, as the was cursed and hung on a tree, not because he disobeyed the Law Deuteronomy Two, one hundred and twenty three, cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree, but because he would take the curse for us. Being cursed by hanging on a tree is not just. It was the was the consequence, the demonstration of of the curse, the public shame and dishonor. There's a reprehensibleness in our sin that was shown in the hanging of someone publicly on a tree. Why did Jesus undergo that sort of thing? Why did he undergo the shame and humiliation, the death, the cursed death? Death is, after all, aspect apart the sum of the curse. He did it to redeem us out from under the law. So to those who, in error, thought that Christians must submit themselves to the law of Moses in order to become Christians, Paul gives an emphatic no, absolutely not. Christ was born under the law for the very purpose of redeeming those who were under the law, who were essentially slaves and cursed to death because of disobedience. But now, through faith, we are...

...sons and heirs, having received the promise of Abraham. What's amazing about this is that, whether you are born under the Law of Moses as a Jew or not as a gentile, no one should submit to those requirements. They have passed, they are over. That covenant has been broken, but the first promise that was made to Abraham, the the promise that was made before the law. It still stands. It still stands though the Covenant was broken, though Christ hung on a tree to take on all of the curse of the law, the promise of Abraham still stands. The covenant that was at four hundred and thirty years afterwards, didn't annul it. It's still there, it's still strong, and that covenant is not founded upon a principle of obedience to the law, but on the promise of grace on the promise of grace to those who believed. The promise still holds, and those who put their faith in the promise have life. And this is so, so important to remember, because Christians, at various times, going all the way back to the New Testament, have often been tempted to go back and submit themselves again to the law of Moses, to think that somehow our obedience to this good and holy law will give us the spirit blessing favor. But what is Paul say? Is this the source of even Jewish hope? No, is this the hope of gentile hope? Source of Gentile Hope? Know again. What does he say in Chapter Three, verse seven? Know, then, that is those of faith, or sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel Beforehand. It to Abraham, saying in you shall all the nations be blessed. So then, it is those who are faith who are blessed. Along with Abraham, the man of faith, we see in Chapter Three of sin, Chapter Three, verses thirteen and fourteen. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. And then notice what he says. Christ in fulfilling the curse, in undergoing the curse of the law. What's the reason? It's not just for the Jews, it says, so that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles. The blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles so that we might receive the promised spirit through faith. This is an amazing passage. Paul is telling us that the redemption that he talks about in chapter for this promise of being airs and adopted, calling out to God, Ab a father, that redemption from being under the...

...law and it's curse comes even to gentiles by Christ, who became a curse for us. He paid our debt. Now, if you have this question in your mind, how is it that I have a debt when I wasn't under the Law of Moses in the first place? There's a good question. How is it that Christ is born under the law and fulfills the law for me, as a gentile, when I was never really under the law, when I was not under the Law of Moses? How can I break a covenant to which I'm not party to. The scriptures themselves say we were strangers from the Covenant, we were not connected to it. Well, the answers two fold. Although not originally part of the Party and therefore not able to break the Covenant, neither were we able to fulfill it or receive its blessings. These it's temporal blessings. In other words, gentiles were no better position, being cut off from the covenant, than the Jews, who were does, who disobeyed and were therefore a cutoff from the covenant. It's not as though being outside of the law of Moses not brought us children of Abraham by the flesh, that were somehow in a better position. However, by Jesus being cut off and bringing the law of Moses to an end, what did he do? The scriptures tell us that he broke down the dividing wall between us and the gentiles so that through him, we might become sons of Abraham. In other words, Jesus doesn't say in order to become a son of Abraham, in order to receive all of these great promises, you got to kind of work your back way, that backwards all the way through history. You need to first submit under the Law of Moses, come and obey all of that, and then you'll be counted as a son of Abraham. No, he says, from the very beginning the promise was always by faith. The second point is this. Although his gentiles, we are not party to the Covenant and not formally under the Law of Moses, the Law of Moses does function in a similar way to the law under which we are all born, under of the law of Adam. Notice what Paul says in Chapter Five, verse fourteen. He says the whole law is fulfilled in one word. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. All of the law of Moses, and other words is grounded in the law to which every single man, Jew and gentile, is called to obey. Love. What's the Law of Moses all about? What's it what's grounding it? What's the thing that holds it all together? One of those things that we could say one central point is...

Love, love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus says this. It's all summed up in that. Paul says. It's here, it's all some of them, and that the whole law is fulfilled in one word love. The Law of Moses is grounded into that law, which everyone is called to obey, whether we are formerly under the mosaic law or not, as Jews or gentiles. In other words, because the law of Moses was an expression of the law of love, which we are all under a requirement to love. Even those who are outside of Moses, who are not Jews by birth, are condemned by the law. Why? Because we've failed to do the basic thing that God has called us to do, to love. It's so simple in a way. Just love each other. That's all you've got to do. Just apply that in every way. But we don't do it, we don't think it, we don't will it, we don't desire it, we don't act on it. God says, love me with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, all your strength, love your neighbor as yourself. The law of Moses in many ways is a is a playing out of this. And even the law of Moses is not exhaustive. The scriptures tell us, and told the people of Israel, to think about the law with wisdom, to look at it, to study it, to figure out how the different pieces are interrelated, to figure out the underlying principles to learn how to apply it in situations which aren't mentioned. They were called to learn how to love, as we are all called to do. Therefore, even those who are outside of Moses, US gentiles, are condemned by the law because we fail to love, we fail to obey. What does failure of obedience look like, even for gentiles right? What is failure for Ab to obedience look like? Paul gives us some examples if you need some, verse Nineteen of Chapter Five Hundred Nineteen. Now the works of the flesh are evident. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of angry anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions and the drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. To draw this same point from Paul's letter to the Romans, he says all are condemned under the law, whether it be from the natural law that's written on our hearts and expressed in the world, or it be...

...written law written on tablets of Stone under Moses, Jew and gentile. No one escapes. All are condemned, all our slaves. None are free, and because of this we all need to hear about the one who was born under the law to redeem us out from under the law. It's not because the law is bad, the law is good, but because our civil flesh is incited by it and disobeys it, we find ourselves, would we are under the law, in what Paul Calls, in another place, a ministry of condemnation and death. It's not that the law is bad, it's that we always buck against it, we always fight against we don't love as we do, as we ought to, and so it's condemnation, condemnation, condemnation, a place where we are constantly stuck. When we are under the law, there's no hope, there's no getting out. You just try and you try and you try harder and you strive more and you work harder and you try again and over and over again, the message comes back. Condemned, condemned, condemned, condemned. Death, death, death, you aren't going anywhere. That's the message of the law. It speaks truly, if speaks justly, it speaks out of holiness, it speaks to our sin, to our foolish and selfishness, our idolatry and these other sins that are mentioned here. We need to be reminded of this. It's funny that around Christmas time, this time where a lot of people celebrate, you know, and the birth of Christ and remember his coming into the world, that's often the time that were so busy and so full of anxiety and striving and striving and striving and thinking about how we failed over and over again all yearlong and how we're going to fail again next year. And it's just this mass of works and anxiousness. We worry about the things that haven't been done, the things that are yet to come, and we're afraid and we're afraid and we're afraid. That's a word of condemnation. That's the Ministry of the law. It's not freedom, that's not that's a freedom. That's not resting, that's not finding ourselves in Christ, but that's what Christ gave us. He gives us freedom. He says you're no longer under slavery, you're no longer, as we read this morning from Hebrews, under the fear of death, you're no longer under the curse. I took it all for you. I took it all for you. When Paul says that Jesus was born unto the law, his first reference is the law of Moses, but that law stands on the broader law of love which we all owe to God and one another and which we all have disobeyed. The law of Moses and his consequences is therefore for all...

...of us to study and to know, even as gentiles, so that we might see how deeply our sin goes and how much Christ has saved us from, so that we might see that God, in the fullness of time, sent his son, born of an of a woman, born under the law, to redeem us, which means when we put our faith in him and become sons of Abraham, whether we are Jews by birth or gentiles by birth, we have no reason to despair any more. As Paul says, in Romans E, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Jesus, do you hear that word from the Lord? There is no condemnation on you. You can stop beating yourself up, you can let it go, you can admit your sins and then relax into the freedom of the forgiveness of sins. You can act as though, not as though as one. You can act your live your life as one who is truly free, free to love, free to obey, free to serve, off and give and worship, free because of Jesus Christ. Neither Jew nor gentile needs to despair, because this one, who is born under law, became a curse for us. He took it all away, he took the condemnation away and his Paul says, through his death he redeemed us out from under the law so that we might receive the blessings of God, including life and obedience from the heart, and obedience that comes from faith, from receiving the very life of Christ into ourselves, from living in him, living in his strength, like a vine attached to a branch. We live and bear forth fruit because of him, not because we're squeezing ourselves on the ground pushing fruit out. We live because of him, if we have been redeemed and rescued and brought forth by the spirit in the hearing of faith. Let us continue, then, let us learn to see Christ, this one who's come in the fullness of time, this one who is sent by God, and see his love and love his love, to see the freedom he gives us, the inheritance he gives us, the promise he gives us and believe, just believe, receive that promise by faith alone and walk by faith alone in Him.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (617)