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From Childhood To Maturity

Galatians 3:23-25
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (NIVUK)

Paul’s readers would have seen slave-guardians in their cities. They were slaves, owned by their masters, but were trusted to have the responsibility of preparing the children of the house for adulthood. They were not family members but were given authority over the children, even to the point of disciplining them. However, when they reached maturity, the young people no longer needed their guardians, and they took their full role as adult members of the family.
Paul used this metaphor to illustrate the difference between the Law which God gave to Moses, and eternal life which God gives to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. The Law is like the slave-guardian; it was given temporary authority over God’s people, until Jesus Christ died and rose again. During that time it disciplined them and they were controlled by it: but when Jesus came and people put their faith in Him, God accepted them as mature members of His family. So, Paul urged the churches in Galatia not to get bound up in religious rules again, but learn to trust the Lord Jesus because eternal life only comes through faith in Him.
Although the Old Testament Law might restrain bad behavior to some extent, it could never bring anyone into God’s family. But when Jesus died, He chose to be a sacrifice on our behalf, to satisfy Father God’s anger at mankind’s rebellion. So, everybody who admits that they are sinners and believes that Jesus died and rose again for them, are given eternal life (watch the video at www.crosscheck.org.uk). They are made disciples of Jesus and given the right to be mature children of God (John 1:12). If you believe this – rejoice and give thanks for your freedom in Christ … and tell somebody else the good news.

Father God. Thank You for welcoming me into Your family because of my faith in Jesus. Yet I find myself getting dragged back into living by rules, instead of by faith; preferring my own ability to do the right thing than trusting that Jesus has done everything necessary for me to be forgiven and welcomed by You. I am sorry when my self-effort has stopped me having that dynamic relationship with You. Please help me to trust more and rejoice more, demonstrating my confidence that You have given me new life in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams