The Law and the Believer (Gal. 3:25)
Many have interpreted Paul’s comment in Galatians 3:25 as a complete dismissal of the law. This makes little sense, however, in light of Paul’s positive comments about the law elsewhere in the Bible.
What does he, then, mean?
First, we are no longer under the law’s condemnation (Rom. 8:3). As believers, we belong to Christ. As His, we enjoy the privilege of being under the power of His grace (Rom. 6:14, 15). Being under grace sets us free and enables Christ to work within us. That gives us the liberty of serving Christ wholeheartedly, without fear of being condemned for mistakes we might make in the process. This is what true liberty and freedom in the gospel is, which is something radically different from no longer having to obey the law — which is what some people claim is “freedom” in Christ. But disobedience to the law, instead, is sin — and sin is anything but freedom (John 8:34).
Read Romans 8:1-3. What does it mean to be no longer condemned by the law? How does this wonderful truth impact how we live?
As a result of being forgiven through Christ, our relationship to the law is now different. We are now called to live a life that is pleasing to Him (1 Thess. 4:1); Paul refers to this as walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:18). This does not mean that the moral law is no longer applicable — that was never the issue. How could it be when we have seen so clearly that the moral law is what defines sin and that the moral law is what is written in our hearts?
Instead, because the law is a transcript of God’s character, by obeying the law we simply reflect His character. But more than that, we follow not just a set of rules but the example of Jesus, who does for us what the law itself could never do: He lives the law in us (Heb. 8:10) and makes it possible for the righteous requirement of the law to be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4). That is, through our relationship with Jesus, we have the power to obey the law as never before.
Read Romans 8:4. What is Paul saying here? How have you seen this promise manifested in your own life? At the same time, despite whatever positive changes you have experienced, why must salvation always be based on what Christ does for us and nothing else?