Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
There are two advents are being described here by the Apostle Paul: the arrival of law and the arrival of the offspring (Jesus). Two advents. Both involving angels. Both from God. Both perfect. And yet very different.
The law was added. The offspring is eternal.
The law our tutor. The offspring our brother.
The law to teach sin. The offspring to teach salvation.
The law to increase the transgression. The offspring to forgive the transgression.
The law to bring condemnation. The offspring to bring righteousness.
The law for slave-making. The offspring for son-making.
The law to point to the promise. The offspring to fulfill the promise.
The law over the offspring. The offspring out from under the law.
The law cursing. The offspring becoming the curse for us.
The law as works to be done. The offspring as a promise to be believed.
The law making us dead to the law. The offspring making us alive to God.
The law producing death. The offspring giving life.
Why two advents? Why the arrival of both law and gospel? Because the sin inside of us would never allow us to understand the advent of the offspring (Jesus) without first the advent of the law. The law had to come alongside the promise of the offspring in order to awaken our hearts to our great need for his life.
But sadly, the law, which is meant to turn our heart’s gaze to the glory of the Lord Jesus, becomes the false glory that we can’t seem to take our eyes off of. Why? Because we always default to law keeping. And Christmas is one big mine-field of law keeping. Gift giving laws. Decorating laws. Family holiday laws. Hallmark Channel movie find your soulmate and live happily ever after laws. And just the general soul crushing law of having to live up to the “Christmas Spirit” (thank you Charles Dickens). Oh and New Year’s resolution laws are just around the corner.
But the good news is that the indwelling life of Christ can move us beyond law keeping into the glory and goodness of God’s unconditional love for us in the advent of Christ into our heart.
- What laws do you find yourself trying to live up to this Christmas? Can you see how they are increasing your transgressions (like maybe pride)?
- How can all the laws of this season point you to Christ and his indwelling grace and love?