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Under Moses, In Christ, Part 1

October 17, 2010 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 3:23–3:29

Under Moses, In Christ

Part 1


Text: Galatians 3:23-29






I.       Life under Moses equals bondage. vv. 23-24


A.       Prison, v. 23


1.       the Law in forbidding sin actually arouses the very sin it forbids.


“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” (Rom. 7:5)


2.       to be “under the Law” is to be “under the dominion of sin.”


“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14)


“Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” (Rom. 7:13)


“Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God…I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience, (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 34, pp. 336-337).


B.       Pedagogue, v. 24


“…the dominant image was that of a harsh disciplinarian who frequently resorted to physical force and corporal punishment as a way of keeping his children in line. For example, a certain pedagogue named Socicrines was described as a ‘fierce and mean old man’ because of his physically breaking up a rowdy party. He then dragged away his young man, Charicles, ‘like the lowest slave’ and delivered the other troublemakers to the jailer with instructions that they should be handed over to ‘the public executioner.’ The ancient Christian writer Theodoret of Cyrrhus observed that ‘students are scared of their pedagogues.’ And with they might have been because pedagogues frequently accomplished their task by tweaking the ear, cuffing the hands, whipping, caning, pinching, and other unpleasant means of applied correction,” (Timothy George, Galatians, pp. 265-266).


Why does the Law serve both as a prison and a pedagogue?


“…the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)


“…because man is proud and supposes that he is wise, righteous, and holy, therefore it is necessary that he be humbled by the Law, in order that this beast, the presumption of righteousness, may be killed, since man cannot live unless it is killed…Therefore God must have a mighty hammer to crush the rocks, and a fire burning in the midst of heaven to overthrow the mountains, that is, to crush that stubborn and perverse beast, presumption. When a man has been brought to nothing by this pounding, despairs of his powers, righteousness, and works, and trembles before God, he will, in his terror, begin to thirst for mercy and the forgiveness of sins” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, pp. 335-336).


How long does the imprisoning and disciplining function of the Law last?


“we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.” (Gal. 3:23)


“…it is not enough for us to be confined under the Law; for if nothing else were to follow, we would be forced to despair and to die in our sins. But, Paul adds that we are confined and restrained under a custodian, the Law, not forever but until Christ, who is the end of the Law (Rom. 10:4). Therefore, this terror, humiliation, and custody are not to last forever; they are to last until faith should come. That is, they are for our salvation and for our benefit, so that we who have been terrified by the Law may taste the sweetness of grace, the forgiveness of sins, and deliverance from the Law, sin, and death, which are not acquired by works but are grasped by faith alone,” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, pp. 337-338).




© John Fonville

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