When I was around 12 and 13 years old, I did some babysitting, and as a parent, I’ve also hired my share of babysitters. The problem with being a 13-year-old babysitter is that you have no real authority, and everybody knows it. All you can do is appeal to their 5-year-old sense of decency and if that doesn’t work, threaten to tell their parents and hope that fear will accomplish what decency couldn’t.
Enter the Law of Moses. It is a little different though, because the law is about letting you know what the standard for decency is; and the punishment of God was supposed to instill enough fear in the Israelites to keep them in line. Did you see what God did to Pharaoh?!
Paul makes his case for why the law was given, and what it means to the people of Galatia. And what does this mean for us, seemingly worlds away from the time and circumstances in which Paul wrote this? We need look no further than the Ten Commandments to know how far we miss the mark that God has established for us. And yet, despite our complete inability to do the right thing, even out of fear or common decency – God gave us Jesus. And because of Jesus, we are united with God for eternity. Nothing else that can be said about us is as relevant as the fact that we are heirs of the promises he made to Abraham, to Moses, to King David and through all the prophets – the promise of salvation is ours through Jesus. The law points us to how much we need the real deal, God’s son, to meet us where we are and reunite us with our heavenly Father.
Questions for reflection:
- What purpose has the law had in your life?
- Has your perspective about specific “Christian” behaviors shifted over time? How so?