THE FAITH WHICH WAS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED (Gal. 3:23) (continued)
If this “faith,” which is about to be revealed, is the full salvation in Christ crucified, dead and buried, then we can also understand that Paul can speak of this faith as a mystery of grace which must be “revealed.” The term in the Greek is one which means: take the covering off. This faith was hid prior to this revelation by God. It was hid in the secret counsel and purpose of God in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 3:1-12; I Peter 1:20) Yes, this faith was foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last days because of us. All through the Old Testament Dispensation this “faith” was hid. It was hid even from the very prophets who all prophesied until John the Baptist, who was more than a prophet. (Matt. 11:11-16) Many prophets desired to see the things which we now see, but could not see them, and to hear the things which we hear now of this “faith” and could not hear them. These prophets, who had the Spirit of Christ testifying in them, inquired and searched diligently concerning this faith. They searched for the salvation which was to be revealed, focusing their attention upon the two main points, namely, the sufferings of Christ (Isaiah 53) and the glory to follow. Dimly they saw all this glory in the laws and shadows of the Old Testament laws given by angels into the hands of Moses the Mediator for them.
How Israel waited in hope! They waited year after year, when each day of atonement proclaimed that this salvation was “not yet.” Never could these laws and ordinances make those coming to the temple perfect. (Heb. 10:1) Never did they feel in their hearts and consciences that sin had been forever removed by a perfect sacrifice for their sins. When finally the Christ-child is brought to the temple the aged Simeon, in rapturous joy of the Holy Spirit, cries out: Now let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. (Luke 2:30)
This was the great moment for which the law had kept Israel in ward and had corraled them unto Christ, separated from the nations. Ever Israel felt that this moment on God’s clock was about to strike. It was always a faith which was “about” to be revealed. Even so the prophets were told, that this was not for themselves that they were searching out the time of the sufferings of Christ and the glory of the Church to follow. This was for us, the people of the New Dispensation. It was a “light to lighten the Gentiles (be revelation to the Gentiles) and the glory of thy people Israel.” And this was prepared before the face of all the peoples. (Luke 2:29-32; Is. 40:5; Is. 52:10; Is. 42:6; Is. 49:6)
Until that moment of the revelation of “faith” Israel was kept, shut up together unto this great and glorious revelation! O, there was such beauty in these Old Testament sacrifices which all pointed to the great Lamb of God, Who would take away the sin of the world. Even while all things were, by God’s verdict as Judge of heaven and earth, placed under sin, there was ever the promise of better things to come. But now that the awful moment of Calvary has come, and all is “finished,” shall we now once more go back to these ordinances which were forever removed by the perfect sacrifice of Christ, who was made a curse for us under law? God forbid!
THE LAW A SCHOOLMASTER TO CHRIST (Galatians 3:24)
We need not be tedious in this matter. We have really entered into this matter already in the former paragraphs. However, there are a few matters which we need to underscore here in this text in verse 24.
The term “schoolmaster” in the Greek text ispaidagoogos. The term means: a guardian or guide of boys. “Among Greeks and Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves, who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them, before arriving to the age of manhood. The name carries with it the idea of severity, as of a stem censor and enforcer of morals.” (Thayer’s Lexicon)
Now this is a very helpful metaphor of speech. It points up that the laws and ordinances, under which Israel was kept, shut up to Christ, was serving a purpose for the “sons of God” in the Old Testament dispensation. These sons were really heirs of the promise. But under law they were treated like children who needed to have their entire life regimented from the cradle to the grave. Yes, these were good laws. Christ was the end of this law. We see this in all the feasts and the sabbath days, in their temple and priesthood, in their ceremonial, Levitical, as well as their civil laws. These all brought the word nigh to them. In faith they could see the “end” of these laws, when one day the time would come when all nations would be blessed in the promise to Abraham and his seed. These, who understood the promises, entertained no “Jewish hopes,” but clung to the hope of Israel, the hope of all nations. All the prophetic psalms which were sung by them in the temple and in their homes were Messianic of the future glory of the nations. (Psalm 87:6; Psalm 117; Ps. 48:2; etc.)
The entire pedagogy of the law was to impress on the hearts and minds of the Old Testament saints, that justification was not out of works of law, but that it was exclusively out of faith. This means that Paul is here giving to us the “key of knowledge” to understand the Old Testament Scriptures. These truths are profound; however, they are clear and perspective. No one who understands this will ever desire to go back to the law of the Old Testament. He will desire to retain substance of this Pedagogue, which pointed to Christ, for the truth and substance of them remain in Christ Jesus for us. (Belgic Confession of Faith, Art. XXV)
Paul would clinch this all with the pithy sentence, “Now that faith has come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” The law-pedagogue has served well when it was needed by God’s dispensation from Sinai, The children-heirs were all placed under law, the many laws and ordinances. But now that “faith has come,” all that the pedagogue could do was forever finished. The ordinances were nailed to the Cross as a hand-writing against us! (Col. 2:14, 15) We are now no more under law! The law, as we read it each Sunday morning, is no longer such a pedagogue which minutely tells us what we must do in every individual case. Christ has made this law His “precepts,” which are a light burden and an easy yoke. (Matt. 11:28-30) He has now given us this law as a “new commandment” in his blood. (John 13:34) This is the “law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2) which we must keep by faith which is energized by love. (Gal. 5:6) Nothing else profits or avails in Christ Jesus!
We are no longer under law-principle. We are under grace. (Rom. 6:15-23) All is gift of God. All is fulfilled promise in Christ Jesus. If ye love me, keep my commandments out of sheer gratitude and holy fear, which God energizes in you, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12) That is the spiritual incentive which is ours by faith always to obey God in holy fear and love, which would not grieve the Spirit of God by whom we have been sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:25-32)
Yes, since faith has come we are no longer under a schoolmaster! The severity of the law is gone. God makes us very willing in the day of His power. (Psalm 110:1-3)
SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS (Galatians 3:26-29)
Our text assigns a reason why we are no longer under a schoolmaster of the law. We are now not any longerde facto servants, but we have arrived at the permanent status of being legally sons of God. Thus we are on the statute books of God.
This is the case with “all” of us, whether we be Jew or Greek. Christ came to redeem all his sheep who were given him by the Father. All must be one fold and one shepherd. There is no difference anymore as there was in the Old Testament when the law served as a middle-wall of partition. This wall consisted of commandments and ordinances. But Christ is our peace. He has fulfilled the law and has taken this law away, so that the veil in the temple is rent from top to bottom. It was the vail of his own flesh through which he accomplished this. (Eph. 2:11-22; Hebrews 10:19-22; Matt. 27:51)
Of course, that is not true of every Jew and every Gentile in the world. It is true of “as many” (hosois) as have been baptized into Christ. As many as have not been baptized into Christ, who do not have the Spirit, are none of His. (Rom. 8:9.) But as many as walk by the Spirit these have the Spirit dwelling in them, and they are baptized into Christ. Such are made one plant with Him, even as the branches in the vine. (John 15:5-8) These are the ones who are predestinated, called, justified. For to be baptized into Christ means not simply to be baptized with water, but it means to be baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and to be joined with Christ the head of the body. (I Cor. 12:13) By one Spirit we have all been baptized into Christ, whether bond or free, Jew or Greek. All the children are baptized into Christ. We are all sons. It is not so that the Gentiles must once more pass through the state of being under law. They, too, are free, and with the Jews are fellow-heirs of the promises in Christ. All received the Spirit consciously by faith, and not by the works of law.
Here we breathe the pure air of liberty in Christ. There is here not a different category for the different nationalities, social distinctions or difference between male and female. In the Old Testament, under law, there was this difference. For instance, only the male members in the church bore the sign and seal of the covenant and of the righteousness which is by faith: circumcision. But now both male and female are baptized. No, they are not baptized as male and asfemale; they are baptized as believers and their seed. The sole question is: does one believe in Christ. Hence, this does not put away the social and God-ordained difference between man and wife, slave and master, between Jews and Greeks, as the clamoring civil-rights people assert, and as is the bold assertion of those, who champion for the equality of men and women in Church and State, but this only means that this unity in Christ is such that all of these relationships are embraced in a higher spiritual unity. (Eph. 5:22-33; I Cor. 11:4-13; I Peter 3:1-7; Eph. 6:1-9) This is expressed in the Belgic Confession, Art. XXVII: “. . . Furthermore, this holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit.”