Tell me, those of you who want to live under the Law: Are you really listening to what the Law says?Galatians 4:21(ISV)
The Galatian Christians had come to faith in Christ by grace through faith. Having heard the truth of the gospel, Paul was disturbed to discover many false teachers trying to cut these believers off from the truth of the glorious gospel of grace and the wonderful freedom they had found in Christ. For by faith in His death and Resurrection, the power of sin in their lives had been severed, its deathly consequences had been destroyed, and they had all been set free from the curse of the Law.
Ironically, these false teachers did not understand that although the perfect Law of Moses could certainly identify sin, it could never correct it, nor could it forgive sin. The Law is able to accuse and point the finger of accusation at the sinner but is incapable of dealing with the principle of sin. The Law is the tool that God used to show fallen man that they are lost sinners in need of salvation, but the Law can never correct sin which only comes by grace through faith in Christ. And so Paul asked the challenging question, "Tell me, those of you who want to live under the Law: are you really listening to what the Law says?" Do you really understand the purpose of the Law? Don't you see that the Law is man's accuser and not man's saviour?
Those that seek to place believers back under the Law do not understand the purpose of the Law, which is to get man to see that he is a sinner who is under its curse but is incapable of doing anything about it. But thanks be to God, that the Lord Jesus came to free us from bondage to sin and the curse of the Law. He was sent to empower us with His life, for having been saved by grace through faith, Paul was teaching these Christians how to live by grace through faith so that in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, they would grow in grace. They were to live by faith so that Christ would be formed in them by the power of the indwelling Spirit - as they died to self and lived for Him.
And much of Paul's ministry was refuting the false teachers who sought to turn the freedom these Galatian believers had in Christ into enslavement under a variety of rules and regulations. Indeed, these false teachers were not only placing believers back under subjection to the Mosaic Law and the other legalistic practices from which they had been freed, it was being used as a way to subjugate them through fear and exercise ungodly control over their lives.
The freedom the new believer has in Christ is reversed into bitter bondage to rules and regulation. Legalistic teachers mistakenly insist that the only way to live the Christian life and to please God is through strict adherence to a variety of legalistic practices - whether they be the principles of law in general or the Mosaic Law in particular. Sadly, believers become enslaved to rules and regulations instead of being free to live their lives in the liberty we have in Christ - by grace through faith.
Paul's challenge to those that insisted on strict adherence to any law was: Tell me... you who are demanding that believers try to attain holiness by strict adherence to legalistic practices, rules and regulations, meritorious works of the flesh etc - tell me... whether it be through the broad principle of 'law' or the specifics of the Mosaic Law. Tell me... don't you understand what the Mosaic Law is actually showing you.. don't you understand the reason that the Law was given in the first place? Tell me...those of you who want to live under the Law: Are you really listening to what the Law says?
Then, as now, there are those that think we should live our lives under some form of law and legalism by trying to carry out sets of rules or regulations in order to live a Christian life that is pleasing to God. What they do not understand is that Christ was the end of the Law for all who trust in Him. Christ was made a curse for us. Christ was made sin for us so that the power of sin and the curse of the Law are no longer able to wrap their icy fingers around our throats and accuse us.
From the moment that we are born from above, we are new creatures and part of God's new creation. As soon as we are born again, we are under a new governance with a new federal Head and a new life in Christ. As soon as we are saved, we are released from the bondage to the Law and its deathly consequences and are subjects of a new rule - the rule of Christ and His rule of love and life. When we are born again, we are not under the Law of sin and death... we are under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
No surprise that Paul sought to hammer home the freedom we have in Christ by challenging these legalists with the question: "Tell me, those of you who want to live under the Law: Are you really listening to what the Law says?" Are we?
Heavenly Father, thank You that sin no longer has power over me, and I am no longer under the condemnation of the Law because there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. Keep me from becoming ensnared under the curse of legalism, and may I live my new life in Christ in freedom. In Jesus' name, AMEN.