Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 33
In this lesson we will continue in Galatians chapter 3, and hopefully compare Scripture with Scripture. Let’s pick up with verse 23.
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law,…” Here we’ve got to explain something. You’ve heard me teach it and you’ve heard others teach that all the way back to Adam the criteria for salvation was faith. “Taking God at His word.” Faith began just as soon as God dealt with Adam and Eve after they had sinned. Adam had to take God at His word. So what does this verse mean?
“But before faith came…” Well without doing any violence to Scripture, and I hope it can enhance it, after the word faith I like to put “way.” I think that will help.
“….before the faith way came we were kept under the law…”
What do we mean by that? I’m always teaching that we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace, and Grace says, “Keep the Law?” No Grace says, “By Faith, and Faith alone + nothing!” So I think that clarifies it, at least hopefully. Before the faith way, before men and women could be saved by faith + nothing, without the Law, but before that came in – and here Paul goes back and speaks as a Jew –
“…we were kept under the law…”
Now don’t brush off the meaning of that statement, “under the Law.” I don’t know if any of you have ever been under a heavy burden, but I remember when Iris and I were in Haiti a year or two ago we were just amazed at their women. They would unload a ship that had rice on board, and would lay a 100 pound sack on the shoulders of some of these poor little women that you would swear must be 90 years old. They would just take right off with that huge bag of rice. Now most of us would have no idea of what that would feel like, but can you imagine it? That was a burden. Now we speak of the donkeys and oxen of the ancient times as beasts of burden, because they were loaded down with their commodity. And again most of us don’t know what it’s like to carry a burden. It’s just something that weighs you down, but listen that’s what the Law was. It was a burden that just rested on the shoulders of the people that were under it, and they knew nothing of liberty and they knew nothing except constant fear of the Law because of the severity of the penalty for breaking it. So before the faith way Israel was under the burden of the Law constantly 24 hours a day. And they were –
“…shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.”
One of my favorite statements concerning Scripture and that is “it’s a progressive revelation.” God didn’t tell everything up in front, and so when He gave the Law did He tell Israel and the rest of the world that one day Christ would die and all of a sudden the word, Grace? No He didn’t. So here they went 1500 years under the Law and then progressively God reveals these tremendous doctrines of Grace through the apostle Paul. So paraphrasing verse 23 it says, “So before the faith way came we were kept under the Law shut up during this time with no alternative way out, until the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” There is your releasing then of something that had been kept secret. I’m always referring to Paul’s use of that word, so come back with me to the Ephesians chapter 3 and let’s look at verse 9. This verse says it all in a nut shell.
“And to make (Paul through his apostleship) all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (secret) which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
Now there is the reason it had to be revealed. It had been kept secret all the way up through the Old Testament, there was not a word about God going to Gentiles with the Gospel of the Grace of God. As we saw a recently in Galatians 3:14 that salvation came to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, but in the Old Testament it was supposed to have been through the Nation of Israel. Israel was to be the light to the Gentiles, Israel was to be the vehicle, but they dropped the ball, they rejected it in unbelief. And then what did God do? He opened up the windows heaven of Grace through the apostle Paul, and revealed to that man these secrets that had been kept in the mind of God all the way up through the Old Testament economy. We are now in a time that these things are now clearly revealed Looking at the fact that Grace has now revealed – another verse comes to mind in Romans chapter 15, verse 4, all of these verses are so appropriate. This is exactly where we’re coming from.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (the Old Testament) were written for our (salvation?, No. Our doctrine? No. For our what?) learning,…”
I’m simplistic, and I know I am. But I was trying to explain to someone the other day and said, “Now look, would you expect one of your kids to suddenly jump in a university calculus class, and they’d never had arithmetic in school?” Why that’s ridiculous isn’t it. Who would ever expect somebody to do calculus if they had never even learned the combination back in grade school? Well this is exactly what we do with people. We take them right into the further revelations of Scripture without any concept of what went before. And then we wonder why they have no root, why their faith does not hold, it’s because they don’t understand anything. Ignorance, and we’re all guilty of it. We expect people to all of a sudden latch on to these things without any background. But look what Paul says in this verse – All these things in the Old Testament and you can also include the Four Gospels now as far as I’m concerned, because they’re all hooked to the Old Testament economy.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we (as believers now) through patience…”
Always remember that the learning process is a slow process. We have to have time and repetition, and then we move on and get a little deeper, and then repetitious some more. Well that’s the way we’ve got to come through the Scriptures, and all of these things have been building, and building so that we, through comfort of the scriptures, might have hope. Now back to Galatians chapter 3.
“Wherefore (because of how God is dealing on a progressive revelation.. Wherefore) the law…”
Now you have to be careful when you read your Bible. Sometimes the Law speaks of that whole system of Judaism. The ceremonial law, the civil law, and the moral law. Sometime that’s all lopped into one word. But here I think the apostle Paul is making reference only to the moral Law, the Ten Commandments.
“Wherefore the law (the Ten Commandments) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,…”
Now what does that mean? Well for 1500 years Israel was under the Law, and it was a system, by which God was training them and teaching them, and hopefully bringing them to the place where they would be mature understanding believing Jews. That’s what God was hoping for. Now we know it didn’t happen but that was what He was striving for. So the purpose of the Law was to prepare the Nation of Israel for a great opportunity. To be vessels, to be instruments that He could use to bring in the masses of the Gentile world. So even for themselves a nation –
“…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified (now not by Law keeping but) by faith.”
Now you want to remember that all the way from Exodus chapter 20 Israel was under the Law, and of course it was still the operation of faith that brought an individual Jew into a right relationship with God, but it was Law and faith, There was no such thing as faith + nothing, as I teach, until the Law was totally, totally satisfied at the Cross. And when Christ died He satisfied the demands of the Law in my place and yours. So Israel for 1500 years was under this Law to bring them to the place where they could have believed who Jesus was. Because all through the Old Testament the prophecies were looking forward to the coming of their Redeemer, King, and Messiah. They should have known who He was. They could have known who He was. The Old Testament was full of it, but why didn’t they? They were steeped in, what? UNBELIEF!
Why didn’t Israel go in and take the promised land at Kadesh Barnea? God told them that He’d “drive the Canaanites out, everything is ready for you. You can go in and take their vineyards, their fields, their harvest, their everything, it’s all waiting for you. I’ll use hornets to drive them out “ God had a system that He was literally going to remove the Canaanite population but leave everything else in tact. All they had to do was just walk in and take over with God’s blessing. Why didn’t they do it? Unbelief. Their unbelief was just simply awful.. God said, “There it is, take it!” And the first step of unbelief was, “well at least let us send in spies.” So God condescended, but that wasn’t His first intent. That was never His first instruction to send spies in first. God said, “Go in and take it!” But in their unbelief they wanted to send in the 12 spies one from each tribe, and if the spies would have come back and said, Yeah we can take it, and had went on in, God would have let them go on in. That’s what He had intended, it was a valid offer to the Nation of Israel. But why didn’t they? Unbelief! The horror of unbelief.
Listen every individual that will one day end up in the Lake of Fire is going to be there for one reason, and that is “UNBELIEF!” The determination of their punishment will be according to the works they have done in this life of course. But the cause of them being there in the first place is one word, Unbelief. As I mentioned to our Saturday night class, why is our own beloved nation almost like a flood turning their back upon this Word? Unbelief. The nation refuses to take this as the Word of God, and we’re suffering for it. Now coming back to our text in Galatians chapter 3. But nevertheless the Law was given that it might bring Israel to the place where they could recognize their Messiah and believe in Him, and trust Him, and they didn’t because of unbelief.
Paul makes a big deal of it, especially in Hebrews chapter 3. He says over and over, “why didn’t they get into the promised land? Why was God so provoked with that generation? And I always point back to Mount Sinai and they had the golden calf, and their gross immorality that they were involved in, but that isn’t what God held against them. But rather God held their unbelief against them. You can go all the way back through Scripture and see these unbeliefs. Why was Esau such a grief of mind to his parents? His unbelief. Because in his unbelief what did he do? He went and married Canaanite women. Ishmael is another example. What was one of the difference between Saul and David? Why didn’t Saul become the great king that David did? Man he was a lot bigger man, he should have been able to kill a hundred men to David’s one, but his problem was also unbelief. Saul even went so far as to go to the witch of Endor to get some information. Unbelief! And you see this all the way up through Scripture, how that mankind refused to believe the Word of God. Now let’s move on with verse 25.
“But after that faith (way) is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Again I’m going to ask you mentally put the word “way” after faith. Being saved by faith + nothing in what God has said. Once we come to that place in God’s economy in this progressive revelation now then we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Let me explain schoolmaster here. The schoolmaster that Paul refers to is not in the Jewish economy, but rather the Greek and the Roman. And what the Greeks and Romans would do is hire a slave or a servant, and that servant was under the demands of the father to raise that child and tutor that child so that at some designated point out in the future, somewhere probably between 16 – 21 years old the tutor would be able to say, “Master this young man is now ready to come in and work right with you in your business. He’s got everything that he needs to know. He’s been well-tutored, and is prepared.”
Now when that father has agreed that indeed the son is ready then an adoption was instituted. It was not like we think of an adoption of taking a child from some other union, and legally bring him into another. That’s not what the Scripture word adoption meant. It meant to be placed as a full operation son of the father on equal basis with him in responsibility, and function and every other way. Now that’s their term schoolmaster that Paul is using here. This servant who had been hired to bring this child to the place where he could step right in and work with the father. All right do you get the picture? That’s what the Law was intended to do for Israel.
It was to prepare them and bring them to place that when the Messiah would come they were ready. And in faith they could have said, “Yes,” and a few of them did, but for the most part the nation rejected their Messiah. But they had that opportunity to believe everything that Christ was, had they been ready for it, but they were not. And so now it comes into our Gentile economy for you and I and it’s still a valid concept, that the law was given to prepare everything for the coming of the Messiah, that He could fulfill the work of Cross. Yes He had to die, and He had to be buried, He had to be raised from the dead for our justification, but now you see the Law has been satisfied, it has been completely paid in full through the work of the Cross, and we now enter in by faith + nothing. The Law has done it’s job, it’s done, it’s been crucified, and off the scene. Isn’t that beautiful? And all in the pre-determinate counsel of God.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
So we’re children of God not by keeping the Law, but by faith in Christ Jesus. Oh listen, how many millions of so called Christians are flying in the face of this verse and saying, “Yeah but I’ve got to do this or that. I think I also need to do this.” But you see this verse like all Paul’s verses include none of that. We become the chidden of God by one thing and one alone, and that is by “Faith in the finished work of Christ.” And that of course is what Paul is implying here. Paul never speaks that just believing that He was the Messiah. That was back in Peter’s gospel and his domain, that was before these revelations were given to Paul. When Paul speaks by faith in Christ he’s talking about faith in that finished work of redemption. “The fact that Christ died for you, was buried and rose from the grave for you, and believing that for salvation.”
That reminds me of another phone call I had the other day. The lady was all shook up and said, “Les it’s getting to the place where I just see demons in my home and in my family, and I’m up against the forces of Satan, and it’s just about to drive me up the wall.” I said, “Lady do you know why? You have got your mind in the wrong places. You put your mind on the power of the resurrection and all of this demonic stuff will flee from you. Get your mind on the power of His resurrection and forget about the demons.” Beloved do you know that Paul never once as far as I can know even uses that word. If he does I want you to show me. He never once used the word demons as being active in the life of a believer, but rather all he can talk about is that wonderful power of His resurrection.