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Under Moses, In Christ, Part 2

October 24, 2010 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 3:23–3:29

Under Moses, In Christ

Part 2


Text: Galatians 3:23-29




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

A.       Prison, v. 23

B.       Pedagogue, v. 24


 “…gave them no rest till they were constrained to seek the grace of Christ…When a man’s uncleanness is placed before his eyes, when the unoffending animal is held forth as the image of his own death, how can he indulge in sleep? How can he but be roused to the earnest cry for deliverance? Beyond all doubt, ceremonies accomplished their object, not merely by alarming and humbling the conscience, but by exciting them to the faith of the coming Redeemer. In the imposing services of the Mosaic ritual, everything that was presented to the eye bore an impress of Christ. The law, in short, was nothing else than an immense variety of exercises, in which the worshippers were led by the hand to Christ” (John Calvin, Galatians, p. 109).



II.       Life in Christ equals blessing. vv. 25-29

  A.       Free from harsh discipline, v. 25


What does it look like to no longer be under a pedagogue? What does it look like to be free of the harsh discipline of the law in comparison to possessing life in Christ?


1.       To be under Law is to live under harsh discipline by a Judge. But, to be in Christ is to live under loving discipline by a Father.


Is God angry with believers when they sin?


“Though I will not send them to hell, nor deprive them of heaven, no more than I will break my great oath to my eternal Son; yet, like a father, I will chastise them; I will correct them for their faults: I will squeeze them in the mortar of affliction, and press out the corrupt juice of Old Adam that is in them; yea, I will hide my face: I will deny them that communion and fellowship with me that sometimes they had, and give them terror instead of comfort, and bitterness instead of sweetness…

And hence, when the believer hath gone aside and backslidden, what is it that brings him back to God?…his freedom from law-threatenings, and being only under fatherly correction, when he sees this, it breaks his heart, and melts it more than all the fire of hell could do. The slavish fear of vindictive wrath discourages him, weakens his hands in duties, and makes him run away from God: but the filial fear of God’s fatherly wrath, which is kindly, is a motive of love that encourages him to his duty. Which of these motives think you will work up the believer to most obedience?...This legal one, “O! My wrathful Judge will send me to hell, if I do so and so”; or this Gospel one; “O! My God and Father in Christ Jesus will be angry at me, and deny me His love-tokens?” I suppose the former works upon enmity, and raises it, but this works upon love, and inflames it,” (Ralph Erskine, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life,” pp. 56-57).


Does the Law have no place in the believer’s life?

What role does the Law play for those who have been justified and brought into union with Christ?


“For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin to love from day to day more and more,” (Martin Luther, Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. 3, p. 188).




“God does not drive you along with whips and terrors, or by the rod of the pedagogue, the law. Rather, He leads you and draws you to walk in His ways by pleasant attractions (Hosea 11:3-4). The love of Christ, of course, is the greatest and most pleasant attraction to encourage you to godly living (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 12:1).”


© John Fonville

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