Today’s Reading: Galatians 3:10-22
Galatians 3:19–22 gives two answers to why the law was given to Israel and became part of our Holy Scripture. To answer the question, “Why then the law?” is the latter half of verse 22, “that what was promised to faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
So in summary, the two purposes of the law in this text are first, to shut up the world under sin and increase trespasses; and second, to see to it that the inheritance will come to and through the promised seed, Jesus Christ, and no other way.
Romans 4:15 says, “For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.” I think what this means is that you may distrust your doctor in your heart, that distrust doesn’t become visible until he gives you a prescription and you throw it in the rubbish. John Piper wrote: “The prescription makes a visible transgression out of invisible rebellion.” So when Paul says in Galatians 3:19 that the law was added because of transgressions, he means, first of all, that it functions like a doctor’s prescription to show who trusts the doctor and who doesn’t. By prescribing the obedience of faith, the law turns the hidden sin of distrust and rebellion into the open transgression of disobedience.
So what lessons are there for us? First, God has devoted over a thousand years of history (from Moses to Christ) to help us see ourselves in the failures of Israel. He aims to make visible the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the depth and subtlety of our own pride and insubordination. We should look and be appalled in the mirror of God’s law
Second, we should cherish Christ and adore the grace that opened our hearts to receive him. The lesson of the law is that we are utterly dependent on grace to remove our heart of stone and give us a soft heart of faith and love.