Paul begins this chapter by telling the Galatians that they are foolish to listen to the false teachers who are telling them that they need to follow the Mosaic Law. And then he proceeds to tell them why God gave the Law.
The Law was given, not as a way to earn a place in Heaven, but as the way to show us that it is impossible to live a life good and pure enough to make it. As humans, we can’t do it. It’s impossible.
So is God a mean old man, making the bar impossibly high? Did He give us such an unreal standard so He could throw us all into hell? Of course not.
God is perfectly holy and without sin, and He cannot countenance anything in His presence that is not also perfectly holy and without sin. So even before He gave the law, He made a way for our sin to be taken away…forgiven. That way was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It’s important to get the detail that the plan was made even before the law was given. Jesus was not God the Father’s “Plan B”. God doesn’t need a Plan B.
The Law was given as an indicator that we need a savior.
I have a swimming pool. As you may know, to keep a pool healthy and not have algae and other bad stuff grow in it, you have to have the right amount of chlorine and other chemicals in there. So you have to test the water. The test tells you when it’s time to add chemicals. It’s not a question of whether or not you’ll need them. A pool will never be able to stay healthy without adding chemicals to the water. It’s impossible. The test merely shows when to add them.
The Law was given to show us that we need a savior. And just as a swimming pool cannot maintain itself on its own, there’s no way that we can maintain holiness on our own.
The Good News is that with Jesus as our Savior, we are holy in the sight of God. And as a bonus, that gives us the relationship of children of God, with all the benefits that go along with it.
Why would anyone want to submit themselves to slavery to the Law, when they can have freedom with Christ? That’s why Paul told the Galatians they were foolish.
I don’t want to be foolish. How about you?