Focus verses 3:19, 24-25, & 29
19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
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 tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:19, 24-26, 29 [NASB]
I have heard people over the years ask why did God give the laws in the Old Testament if they were not to be followed forever? Why can’t keeping the Law provide salvation from our sins and guarantee us a place with God in heaven? Paul wrote on this specific thing in Galatians 3.
Why did God give the Law if He did not intend for them to give salvation to humankind and eternal life with God in heaven? In verse 19, Paul said God gave the His laws because of sin. Sin separates a person from God because God cannot be in the presence of sin. The laws of God provided temporary cleansing from the stain of sin so a person could be in God’s presence. However, it did not provide permanent and eternal cleansing and removal of sin and guilt. The Law was imperfect because they were a covenant between God who is faithful and perfect and humankind who is unfaithful and imperfect. Humanity could not always keep the laws of God; they were fallible and unfaithful. So the laws were not effective to cleanse a person from sin and guilt. For this purpose, God prepared a way from the beginning of time for humankind to be rid of their sin and guilt through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Since the purpose of the Law of God was not to provide salvation, what was its purpose? Verse 24 explains this. God gave His Law to lead people to Christ. By obeying the Law of God, people recognized their sinful selves and their inability to cleanse themselves perfectly and permanently from sin and guilt. They realized the futility of it. This kept people looking to God because they knew He is faithful and they were unfaithful. They looked to God’s perfection for the way to be closer to Him. God provided that way through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Before, the Law led us to God, but we could not stay permanently in His presence because of our sin. Christ’s death provided permanent cleansing from sin and guilt so we could stay in the presence of God and be in a continual relationship with Him. Through Jesus Christ, believers become children of God. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, you are descendents of and heirs with Abraham whose faith God said made him righteous.
You see, faith in Jesus Christ as the perfect Son of God who died to pay the penalty for our sins is what gives righteousness. Nothing we do, like keeping the laws of God, can make us clean enough to be in the presence of God. So nothing we can do earns our way into heaven. Abraham (Abram at that time) believed in God and His promise and God proclaimed Him righteous (Genesis 15:6). Faith in God through Jesus Christ, not works, is what makes a person righteous.
Whether you are from China or Argentina, of dark or light skin, from a religion of many gods or a Jew, when a person believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God he or she becomes a child of God – cleansed and saved. That person becomes new in Christ. I do not know what your background is and do not need to know. God knows, and He still loves you. Right now, if you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for your sin, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and confess your sins, you can become a redeemed (cleansed) child of God, just as Abraham did. Exercising the faith God gives you makes you righteous, just as God declared Abraham righteous because of his faith in Him. If you gave your life to Jesus before but are far from God now, you have not lost your salvation. You can confess your sins to Him because He said, “He is faithful and just to forgive all sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
What will you choose today?
Believe in Jesus Christ, confess your sins, and allow Jesus to be Lord of your life. Renew your relationship with God through confession.
These have to be your choice because God gave you free will. He will not force Himself on you.
What do you choose?