About Jesus Steve Sweetman
of the most confusing and misunderstood issues in Christian circles is
how we should understand the Old Testament, especially the Law of Moses.
This is my understanding as
seen from Paul's letter to the Galatians. The
Law of Moses, does not exist for the purpose of salvation; does not
exist for the purpose of maintaining your salvation; and, does not exist
as something to observe. We
are free from the Law, (Gal. 5:1), but that's not the end of the matter.
disciples of Jesus in the Roman
Law of Moses was intended to be obeyed in its entirety.
You could not pick and choose which parts to obey and which parts
to ignore, as many Christians do today.
If you miss up on one point, you were doomed.
The curses of the Law would befall you as if you rejected it
altogether. Paul, James, and
the Law itself states this to be so. (Gal. 3:10, James 2:10, Deuteronomy
Law of Moses was meant to lead Jews to Jesus. (Gal. 3:23-24) It
existed "until" Jesus came. (Gal. 3:19) That's
why Paul says "Christ is the end of the Law" in Romans 10:4. He
states, "now that faith has come we are no longer under the
supervision of the Law. (Gal. 3:25)
viewed submitting to the Law of Moses as being enslaved by it.
He went as far to say that being enslaved by the Law was no
different than being enslaved by polytheistic paganism.
I'll explain that.
Gentile believers in
goes on to say, "when you did not know God, you were slaves to
those who by nature were not gods … how is it that you are turning
back to those weak and miserable principles. Do
you wish to be enslaved by them all over again"? (Gal. 4:8-9) In
this part of Galatians 4 Paul shifts from Gentile terminology to Jewish
terminology. The "weak
and miserable principles" is in reference to the Law of Moses.
might think that the "weak and miserable principles" found in
verse 9 are the "basic principles of the world" found in verse
3, but they aren't. They are
two separate principles, as I've stated.
If you miss this point, as many do, you will completely miss the
crux of what Paul is saying in this portion of Galatians 4.
Paul says that these believers were "turning back" to
"weak and miserable principles", they weren't reverting back
to the "basic principles of the world",
meaning, paganism. They
were turning to the Law of Moses. Paul
views this as turning "back" to a life of slavery; slavery the
gospel of Jesus once freed them from.
This is Paul's point. Submitting
one's self to the Law of Moses is no different than submitting one's
self to paganism. They're
both slavery. For further
explanation, listen to my audio commentary on Galatians 4:1-10.
concludes that if you submit yourself to the Law of Moses, especially to
enhance your standing before God, "Jesus becomes of no value to
you; you alienate yourself from Christ; and, you fall away from God's
grace". (Gal. 5:2-4) Simply
put, you walk away from Jesus and separate yourself from His grace that
saves you. That's a serious
matter. The implication is
that you cannot serve the Law and Jesus at the same time.
For this reason we are free from the Law (Gal. 5:13) - no ifs,
ands, or buts. That being
said, this is not the end of the matter.
This freedom does not place us in a state of limbo – floating
around in a vacuum of nothingness to do as we please.
reason why we are free from the Law is something the average western
Christian doesn't want to think about.
We are free from serving the Law so we can be free "to serve
one another in love". (Gal. 5:13-14)
who "serves" is a "servant", or a "slave".
Paul considered himself a "bond-servant";
"doulos" in Greek. (Romans 1:1) A
"doulos" is one who freely chooses to submit himself to the
will of another. Paul became
a "doulos", or a slave, to Jesus.
The love of Jesus was so compelling he felt he had no other
logical choice. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
The apostle Peter also considered himself a slave to Jesus. (2
Peter 1:1) So did Jude.
(Jude 1:1) So did James.
(James 1:1) So did John.
(Revelation 1:1). This was
the apostolic teaching of the day. It
should be our teaching as well.
style Christianity struggles over the idea of being a slave to anyone.
The word "slave" isn't my choice of words.
It's the New Testament's choice.
In the process of eliminating slavery from society, we've
eliminated the very word from our Christian vocabulary.
We've become self-willed individualists, and that's not Biblical.
A Christian doesn't own himself.
Jesus owns the Christian, and He has paid dearly for us.
(Revelation 5:9, 1 Peter 1:18)
So, we freely, cheerfully, and graciously, submit our lives to
Jesus. In one real sense of
the word, "we become His slave".
This is why Jesus has freed Gentile Christians from the
"basic principles of their secular and pagan world".
This is why Jesus has freed Jewish Christians from "the weak
and miserable principles" of their world.
Christians are free people – free to serve our Lord Jesus
Christ and those He places before us at any given moment.