Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Role of Law

One question I've heard off and on, particularly when, in church/ministry circles, a teacher or a student is asking a thought-provoking question, is, in my own words, "Given Christ and the new covenant, what is now the role of the Law, the old covenant?"

I think many times, in my experience, we try to answer something along the lines of, "It serves to show us the standard and impossibility of perfection."

It's a good answer, but it also sells the old covenant somewhat short. After all, there are times when God had remarked to Israel that He would prefer the sincere worship of their hearts to the empty exactitude of lawfulness.

While doing some reading and spending time with God today, I came across a small little verse that really illuminated, to me, the role of the Law, especially in light of Christ:
"So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith." - Gal 3:24
The Law wasn't some cosmic quality metric to show us our imperfection. Neither was it a ball and chain, enslaving the Israelites. No, the Law served to illustrate to the Israelites the character of God, that they might grow in understanding, becoming ripe for the harvest of faith, that is, Christ. The original Greek word used for "guardian" is paidagogos, a word used for a servant whose role was (to train up a child by administering discipline, chastisement, and instruction." (HELPS Word-Studies, Helps Ministries Inc.)