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Thread: Questions about Galatians

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    tWebber
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    Questions about Galatians

    Galatians 3:19-25 states, "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."

    What does "kept in custody under the law" mean?

    The Law is described as a tutor that leads us to Christ. The Law shows that we are sinners and that we need to be saved from sin. What does it mean to say that "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor"?

    Galatians 4:21 says, " Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?" What is meant by the phrase, "under law"?

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    tWebber
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    The passage appears to place the Galatians within the same context that Jews were under. This was possible since the Galatians had joined a Messianic sect of Judaism.

    The custody and guardianship was over the Jews in order to preserve them as a people ... avoiding judgment ... until Christ came. It seems that they would have been in a worse situation (by the first century) without the law.

    In verse 24, the guardian was in place until Christ came. This indicates that the law had no more relevance after the time of Christ. The people were preserved until Christ and now they could accept Christ. The message for the Galatians then was to drop their interest in doing things of the law.

    The Law is described as a tutor that leads us to Christ.
    The better translation (from ESV9) is "So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith."
    The idea that one is led to Christ by the law doesn't fit the context very well. Instead, the passage emphasizes the temporal nature of the law's preservation of the people until Christ

    The Law shows that we are sinners and that we need to be saved from sin.
    This point really doesn't reflect the gist of the passage.

    Galatians 4:21 says, " Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?" What is meant by the phrase, "under law"?
    The same meaning would be "obligated to the law" or "subject to judgment or consequences" of the Jewish laws.

    Mosaic laws were written only to apply to the Israel people (or those who joined these people). But gentiles in Galatia were seeking to become obligated to those laws, based on the preaching of infiltrators.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    The passage appears to place the Galatians within the same context that Jews were under. This was possible since the Galatians had joined a Messianic sect of Judaism.

    The custody and guardianship was over the Jews in order to preserve them as a people ... avoiding judgment ... until Christ came. It seems that they would have been in a worse situation (by the first century) without the law.

    In verse 24, the guardian was in place until Christ came. This indicates that the law had no more relevance after the time of Christ. The people were preserved until Christ and now they could accept Christ. The message for the Galatians then was to drop their interest in doing things of the law.


    The better translation (from ESV9) is "So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith."
    The idea that one is led to Christ by the law doesn't fit the context very well. Instead, the passage emphasizes the temporal nature of the law's preservation of the people until Christ


    This point really doesn't reflect the gist of the passage.


    The same meaning would be "obligated to the law" or "subject to judgment or consequences" of the Jewish laws.

    Mosaic laws were written only to apply to the Israel people (or those who joined these people). But gentiles in Galatia were seeking to become obligated to those laws, based on the preaching of infiltrators.
    What do you think of the idea that the Mosaic Law is divided into three parts (moral, ceremonial, and judicial) and that only the moral part applies to people today?

    What is meant by Matthew 5:17 which says that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them?

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    What do you think of the idea that the Mosaic Law is divided into three parts (moral, ceremonial, and judicial) and that only the moral part applies to people today?
    I think it's an idea external to Scripture, invented by people who still want to cling to at least part of the Obsolete Covenant.

    The clear (to me, at least) implication of Eph. 2, Col. 2, Gal. 3, and the book of Hebrews is that the entirety of the Obsolete Covenant has been replaced, and the Law that was part and parcel of that Covenant -- every ordinance, decree, and Commandment -- has been cancelled, abolished, nailed to the Cross, hung on the Tree. The only Commandment that has been universally and permanently reaffirmed is "Love your neighbor as yourself," which in practical terms amounts to "Treat others as you wish others to treat you."

    What is meant by Matthew 5:17 which says that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them?
    Well, it must not have meant that the Law would perpetually remain in effect. Jesus Himself effectively abolished at least parts of it while He was still on earth prior to the Crucifixion. In Mark 7, He voided the food laws. In Luke's account of the Last Supper, He announced the initiation of the New Covenant, and the book of Hebrews makes clear that the law went away when the Obsolete Covenant did.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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    tWebber
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    What does "kept in custody under the law" mean?

    The Law is described as a tutor that leads us to Christ. The Law shows that we are sinners and that we need to be saved from sin. What does it mean to say that "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor"?
    The Greek word for “tutor” is a pedagogue, which was a slave who was put in charge of a household’s children. He was a guardian, he was in charge of discipline, and he was responsible to see to their education (though he might not teach them himself but simply make sure they get to school and do their lessons).
    The OT law gave Israel a disciplined education. Sacrifices taught them about the cost of sin. Cleanliness laws taught about the kinds of separation, both as consequences of sin (separated from God and from perfect fellowship with others), and as the believer’s need to preserve himself separate from sin. Sabbath laws taught them about spiritual rest.
    As long as God’s people were children, before the maturity of the cross, they were under this pedagogue’s custody (both for protection and for discipline).
    Galatians was written for a congregation plagued by Judaizers who claimed Christians had to both believe in Christ and keep all those old laws. They saw a nonexistent need to be under the law, and an advantage (it fed one’s pride, making him feel better and more righteous than those who didn’t live up to the same high standard he had set for himself).

    The idea that one is led to Christ by the law doesn't fit the context very well. Instead, the passage emphasizes the temporal nature of the law's preservation of the people until Christ.
    One is “led to Christ,” not in the sense that the law makes one a believer, but in the sense that Old Testament worship, sabbath, cleanliness and dietary laws, etc, pointed them toward the one who was foreshadowed, and they were led “until” Christ, so that leading “to Christ” meant it would no longer lead them once he came.



    What do you think of the idea that the Mosaic Law is divided into three parts (moral, ceremonial, and judicial) and that only the moral part applies to people today?
    I think it's an idea external to Scripture, invented by people who still want to cling to at least part of the Obsolete Covenant.

    The clear (to me, at least) implication of Eph. 2, Col. 2, Gal. 3, and the book of Hebrews is that the entirety of the Obsolete Covenant has been replaced, and the Law that was part and parcel of that Covenant -- every ordinance, decree, and Commandment -- has been cancelled, abolished, nailed to the Cross, hung on the Tree. The only Commandment that has been universally and permanently reaffirmed is "Love your neighbor as yourself," which in practical terms amounts to "Treat others as you wish others to treat you."
    The three part division is not about clinging to part of the obsolete covenant. It simply points to the fact that there are different kinds of laws. Some OT laws express eternal divine standards of right and wrong. They are the moral law. They existed before Moses, and they are repeated in the NT (epitomized in the command to love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself, but also cited individually: do not kill, do not steal, avoid sexual immorality...). Some laws taught people how to worship. The worship laws pointed forward to Christ and would be replaced by new ways to worship God (with a spiritual focus, without the legal aspect). So they were not eternal. Finally, any laws that prescribe a specific punishment were civil laws. The action itself might be moral, ceremonial, or of a civic nature, but this division in particular establishes the official punishment, which every civil government that is not a theocracy is free to change.

    Even the eternal moral law is no longer a “law” for the Christian, because part of the definition of a law is a command that bears the threat of punishment for disobedience (or reward for obedience). We are under grace, not law in that sense. We still have commands, and right and wrong are still right and wrong, but they are not tied to our relationship with God in the same way as in the OT or to our salvation, since they were all fulfilled by Christ for our sake.

    What is meant by Matthew 5:17 which says that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them?
    Jesus was always so gentle and forgiving, that Pharisees would accuse him of saying, “Oh, forget about the law, it doesn’t matter. Forget about sin. Forget about judgment. I can just cancel the law and all that stuff disappears.” (And like the Judaizers, they didn’t want the law canceled in any sense, since it was a source of their pride. ) He didn’t cancel it, he fulfilled it by keeping the law perfectly and by dying to give us the full righteousness we couldn’t attain by our own efforts to keep it.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Jaxb;454367]

    What does "kept in custody under the law" mean?

    The Law is described as a tutor that leads us to Christ. The Law shows that we are sinners and that we need to be saved from sin. What does it mean to say that "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor"?
    The word rendered as "tutor" is untranslatable in English. It signifies a person appointed to act as the custodian (with the same signification as "custody" as used of custody battles in divorce) of a child, and who was charged with making sure that the child got delivered safely to the tutor. At that time, the teaching of the child is taken in hand by the better qualified teacher.

    Galatians 4:21 says, " Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?" What is meant by the phrase, "under law"?
    "subject to" the law.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd
    The only Commandment that has been universally and permanently reaffirmed is "Love your neighbor as yourself," which in practical terms amounts to "Treat others as you wish others to treat you."
    It is specifically stated (on multiple occasions) that "Love your neighbor as yourself" means obeying the moral laws.

    Romans 13:15
    For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    What do you think of the idea that the Mosaic Law is divided into three parts (moral, ceremonial, and judicial) and that only the moral part applies to people today?

    What is meant by Matthew 5:17 which says that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them?
    These points do not negate the fact that the Jewish laws were not applicable to Christians.

    An interesting aspect of Matt 5:17 is that Jesus appears to have anticipated being accused for abolishing the Jewish laws -- so there in reality an end to the Law which came through Jesus' fulfillment of the Law. This fulfillment of the Law was accomplished through the following: 1) Jesus living a perfect life and fulfilling the righteous demand of the law and 2) his fulfillment of the prophetic element of the Law regarding the coming of the Messiah.

    Paul mentions that laws are not written for the righteous but for the unrighteous. This doesn't mean that Christians are simply going to create havoc -- this would be against their nature -- and if someone really gets out of hand -- Paul recommends to admonish them from the Old Testament. Nor does this lack of Christian law mean that Christians are going to go out and steal from people or kill people; these Christians live within nations where there are laws to prohibit (and punish) such violations.

    Despite the lack of Christian obligation to the Mosaic Law, such Law reflected God's wisdom and gave us a sense of fairness and justice which is useful for us to know.

    I agree with a lot of what NorrinRadd and Just Passing Through elaborated on.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    It is specifically stated (on multiple occasions) that "Love your neighbor as yourself" means obeying the moral laws.

    Romans 13:15
    For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Basically, by listing the Decalogue, Paul was promoting a sense that Jewish Laws (to those who were interested in such laws) were fulfilled inasmuch as we show love to one another. He was not specifically saying that someone must have the Decalogue's second tablet memorized in order to show love toward neighbors. (And why exclude honoring of Mother and Father, if the Decalogue was being reinstated?)

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    He explicitly says, "if there be any other commandment," then it is summarized by the phrase, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Hence, he doesn't have to list all the commandments. The point is that all the non-ceremonial laws are something that Jesus wants us to follow because they all fall under the category of love for neighbor. In Hebrews 9, it specifically describes the obsolete laws as being matters of food and drink, washings, etc. The moral laws are part of the law of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 9:21
    [T]o them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.


    James 2:12
    So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

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