Under Law vs. Under Grace
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
For someone like the Apostle Paul, it would be inconceivable that people would make themselves subjects of the Mosaic Law. Yet, this is exactly what the Gentile believers from Galatia were considering. In order to help the Galatian believers understand the differences in a person’s life prior to and after salvation, Paul likens the differences to being child or an adult.
UNDER THE LAWGalatians 4:1-3: “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.”
Those who are under the Mosaic Law have the rights of a slave - Galatians 4:1Ephesians 6:5-8: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” As slaves, they are obedient to the master’s will. Colossians 3:22: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Slaves are to be obedient without question. I Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” Slaves are subservient to their masters, and they have no rights.
Those who are under the Mosaic Law remain tutors and guardians (Galatians 4:2)Tutors and guardians serve as trustees that manage every aspect of a child’s life. In Roman times, a child was under that control of another until he reached an appointed age. The child possessed no rights and had limited access to his parents. This was also true of Old Testament believers, they had limited access to God.
Those who are under the Mosaic Law are in bondage under the elements of the world. (Galatians 4:3)The elements of religious teaching are like the ABC’s of learning. They are the basics or the rudimentary principles of religion. They do not create freedom. Colossians 2:8, 20-22: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” Touch not, taste not, handle not. The world often sees the church as having a list of rules and regulations which do not save. This is religiosity, not righteousness.
UNDER GRACEGalatians 4:4-11: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
Those who are under grace are redeemed. (Galatians 4:4-5) God sent His Son to take the penalty of our sin. By believing in Christ, we are purchased from the slave market of sin and set free from the bondage and penalty of sin.
Those who are under grace possess the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6a) 1Corinthians 3:16 says: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 2:12-15 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is our teacher to help us to understand the Word of God. Those who do not know Christ as their Savior cannot understand the things of God.
Those who are under grace receive access to God. (Galatians 6:6b-7a) We can go to God in prayer at any time, crying Abba Father. No sacrifice will ever be required again. We are no longer servants to the law but sons of God. We have direct access to God because of Christ’s sacrifice.
Those who are under grace become heirs of God. (Galatians 6:7b) We are heirs of God through Christ. 1 Peter 1:2-5: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Those who are under grace are known of God. (Galatians 6:8-9) Before salvation we served ourselves, and believed we were known to God. After salvation, we are known to God. We are the sons of God and joint heirs with all the benefits.
Paul had a great concern for the believers in the region of Galatia, because they were considering going back into bondage under the Mosaic Law. In the Greek language, it shows that they were in the process of turning away. They had not actually turned away. Considering the benefits of being under grace, why would anyone want to go back? If you are a believer, allow God to work in your life. Philippians 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
If you do not know Christ as your Savior, call on Him today. Romans 10:9-13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”