“is the law then contrary to the promises of God? certainly not! for if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.” [galatians 3:21]
paul asks a question:
“is the law then contrary to the promises of God?”
and his answer is emphatic–almost like he can’t believe he even asked such a silly question:
“certainly not!” or “may it never be!” or the KJV “God forbid!”
i had to read it the whole thing a few times to catch paul’s meaning. let us word it in a different way:
‘the law points to the promise–to Christ who redeems us! perfect obedience to God is impossible, except through Christ who fulfilled the law–the law cannot save you because you can’t keep it perfectly!’
in many world religions you have to do enough good to outweigh the bad, but the law is even stricter–anything less than perfect obedience results in death.
Christ had to be born under the law to set us free from the striving to fulfill the law perfectly–this is how we become adopted sons and daughters of God!
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 woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. [galatians 4:4-5]
and when we are adopted we have a new nature, we have been given life!
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 if a son, then an heir through God.
we are no longer enslaved to what? to sin! to striving to earn righteousness! we are no longer enslaved to trying to follow the law by our own power! paul knows our next question, and he has another “certainly not!” for us in romans:
what then? shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? by no means! [romans 6:15]
“certainly not! may it never be! God forbid it!” we have a new nature–we are slaves to righteousness, compelled by Christ to follow his commands.
and i will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey all of my rules [ezekiel 36:27]
don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? but thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [romans 6:16-18]
we are free from striving, we have Christ in us, who fulfilled the whole law.
you are no longer a slave to sin. rest in Christ.
you do not have to earn your salvation. rest in Christ.
it is finished. rest in Christ.
rest in Christ.
~ conor eastman