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The Dangers of Misusing the Law

Today’s reading: Galatians 2:1-4:31

My selection: Galatians 4:21

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?

My reflections: The reader of this epistle to the Galatians, if he ignores the rest of the Bible, could easily reject the doctrine of the third use of the law, that is, that the moral law is given as a means of guidance for the believer. The moral law shows us our sin and leads us to Christ (first use). The moral law restrains evil in society (second use).

Context is important. Paul is dealing with the problem of the Galatians reverting to the ceremonial law, exemplified by circumcision, as a means to salvation. So the errors to avoid are:

1. Reliance on the law as a means of being reconciled to God.

2. Confusing the ceremonial law, the law of sacrifices and circumcision, which was fulfilled in Christ perfectly and must no longer be observed, and the moral law which, though unable to justify us, guides the believer in God’s ways and must be observed.

It is clear, as we see in the Galatians 5-6, that Paul was not advocating antinomianism (the belief that the law is suspended and need not be observed by Christians) nor was he advocating disregard for holiness in life. What he opposes in Galatians 1-4 is trust in circumcision, and by extension the Old Testament ceremonial law, as a basis for justification before God.

My challenge: Never trust in your works for acceptance before God. Trust in Christ’s perfect keeping of the law for us. Never disregard God’s moral law, embodied in the ten commandments, as the basis for knowing God’s will. Study, know, and obey His law if you would walk wisely before Him.

Tomorrow’s reading: Galatians 5:1-Ephesians 2:22

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