Introduction: Let’s review for just a minute. Last week we learned
that the original contract between God and Abraham was that Abraham
would believe God (trust God) and God would credit righteousness to
Abraham. These were the promises between Abraham and God. This
contract was operative even though Abraham was a sinful man. We also
learned that we inherited Abraham’s side of this contractual
agreement between God and Abraham. After the original contract, God
gave humans the Ten Commandments (and other laws), and after that,
Jesus came to make good on the contract between Abraham and God. So,
where does this leave the law? Is it a relic of the past? If so, why
was it given after the original contract? If it is not a relic, what
role does it play in our day to day lives? Let’s wade into our study
of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Law Versus the Promise?

    1. Read Galatians 3:21. What do you think Paul is really
      asking the Galatians? On the face of it, Paul seems to be
      asking if the law in some way nullifies God’s side of the
      contract. Is that correct?

    2. Look again at Galatians 3:21. What answer does Paul give?
      What does this answer tell us about the question Paul was
      asking? (Paul essentially says, “What would make humans
      righteous? Would the law do that? No!” Since the law
      cannot make us righteous, Paul tells us that the law
      cannot be “opposed,” or be a substitute, for our inherited
      contractual agreement.)

    3. Read Galatians 3:22. What is your relationship with sin?
      (If you are a part of the world, then you are “a prisoner
      of sin.”)

      1. What is Paul’s authority for saying that the “whole
        world is a prisoner of sin?” (Paul tells us “the
        Scripture declares.” The Bible tells us that we are

      2. What does common sense tell you? (As we discussed
        when we studied Galatians 2, Paul argues that we
        inherently know that we have a continual problem with
        sin – a problem that the law cannot cure.)

    4. Look again at the last part of Galatians 3:22. What is the
      cure for our continual sin problem? (God’s promise is that
      if we trust Him, which means believing (trusting) in what
      Jesus has done on our behalf to give us righteousness, we
      will be righteous.)

  1. The Law

    1. Read Galatians 3:23. Wait a minute! Paul has been arguing
      to us that the promise (the contractual promise of
      righteousness) came before the law. How can he now write
      that the law “locked [us] up until faith should be
      revealed.” (The fulfillment of God’s side of the promise
      was Jesus coming to earth as a human, living a perfect
      life, and dying on our behalf to pay the penalty for our
      sins. Before that we were “locked” into eternal death
      because of our sins.)

    2. Read Galatians 3:24. Paul states the purpose of the law.
      What is it? (To “lead us to Christ.”)

      1. How does the law lead us to Christ? I thought Paul
        previously told us ( Romans 7:7-12)that our sinful
        reaction to the law caused us to do the very things
        we are not supposed to do. Just like the “do not
        touch” signs in a car museum make you want to touch
        the cars! How does this lead us to Jesus? (We realize
        that we cannot keep the law. The law is the standard,
        and the only way we meet its perfect standard is
        through what Jesus has done on our behalf.)

      2. Instead of “lead us to Christ,” the King James
        Version translates Galatians 3:24 as “the law was our
        schoolmaster.” What additional insight does that
        provide? (When you look at how different translations
        render the original language, it is like looking at a
        gem from different angles. We learn something when we
        find ourselves in violation of God’s law. We learn
        His law is right, and we learn that we are lousy at
        keeping it. That teaches us that the law is good and
        we are not. We need to claim Jesus’ perfect
        substitute on our behalf.)

    3. Read Galatians 3:25. What does it mean that we are no
      longer “under the supervision of the law?” The law no
      longer has anything to teach us? How can that be?

      1. Is there a difference between a teacher and a
        supervisor? Is there a difference between a school
        teacher and a police officer? (This would be a great
        distinction based on the way this verse is translated
        into English. But, when I looked this up in Strong’s,
        the same Greek word is used in verse 24 (teacher) as
        is used in verse 25 (supervisor).)

      2. This puts us in a logical box. Galatians 3:24 tells
        us that the law leads us to Jesus. Galatians 3:25
        says we no longer need the leading of the law. Can
        you explain this?

    4. Read again Galatians 3:24-25. If the role of the law has
      changed between these two verses, has anything else
      changed between these verses? (Verse 24 says that the law
      “lead[s] us to Christ.” Verse 25 says, “now that faith has
      come.” On the face of it, I would have thought that “faith
      coming” meant “Jesus coming.” But, if you read “faith
      coming” as your faith in Jesus arising, then we can see a
      reasonable distinction. The law supervised us (taught us)
      about our need for Jesus. When Jesus came, and we believed
      He is our perfect substitute, then the Holy Spirit becomes
      our primary teacher, not the law.)

    5. In case you are doubtful about this explanation, let’s
      review what Paul says about the law in Romans. Read Romans
      8:1-2. What does Paul say has changed here? (He says that
      the “law of the Spirit of life” set us free from “the law
      of sin and death.” This sounds like a life led by the
      Holy Spirit has set us free from a life led by the Ten

    6. Read Romans 8:3-4. What does this tell us the law is
      powerless to do? (It cannot save us because we are “sinful
      man.” However, in Jesus “the righteous requirements of the
      law might be fully met.”)

      1. What is the qualifier here? (That we live “according
        to the Spirit.”)

      2. Does this now make sense to you? Before Jesus came,
        the law taught us about God and taught us about our
        inability to live a perfect life. Since Jesus came,
        He fulfilled our obligation to the law (if we accept
        His sacrifice on behalf of our sinful life), but
        Jesus has done more than that. Jesus has given us the
        Holy Spirit to be our life guide.)

    7. Read John 16:5-7. Who comes after Jesus departs to heaven?
      (The Holy Spirit.)

    8. Read John 16:8-11. What is the job description of the Holy
      Spirit? (Exactly what Paul is telling us! Just as the law
      revealed to us our inadequacies, the Holy Spirit convicts
      us of guilt. He convicts us of “sin and righteousness and

      1. Do you think that the Holy Spirit has a different
        standard for living than set forth in the Ten
        Commandments? (Read Romans 3:31. There is nothing
        wrong with the law, there is something wrong with us!
        That is why we need grace. The Holy Spirit is God. It
        is most illogical to think that the Holy Spirit would
        lead us to do things that the law identifies as sin.)

    9. Read Romans 8:5-8. What does Paul say is the relationship
      between the leading of the Holy Spirit and the law? (If
      the “sinful mind” does not “submit to God’s law,” this
      suggests that the mind “set on what the Spirit desires”
      does in fact submit to God’s law.)

      1. Is “submitting” the same as “obeying?” (If we make a
        loop here and end up saying that we must obey the law
        in order to be saved, then we are just like the
        “bewitched” (see last week’s lesson) Galatians! As
        Galatians 3:3 warns, we must not begin with the
        Spirit and then return to trying to attain
        righteousness by our human effort.)

    10. Read Hebrews 8:10. What does it mean to have God’s law
      written on our heart? (This is the place we want to be.
      The Holy Spirit lives in us and brings us to the point of
      wanting to do God’s will. We are no longer rebels, we are
      grateful followers of God.)

    11. Friend, do you want God’s law written in your heart? Do
      you want a living relationship with God, and not a
      relationship with a relic (human obedience to the law)?
      Why not ask the Holy Spirit every day to lead your life?

  2. Next week: From Slaves to Heirs.