Galatians 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
(Guardian) tutor, i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood. This is the implication to the Jews. A more accurate translation for this verse is “guardian to bring us to Christ” The law as a guardian, Tutor,or School Master illustrates the role The law played for the Israelite.
The law performed this office of a schoolmaster until the coming of Christ; which shows that till that time the church was in its infant stage. That the Jews were but children in knowledge and understanding, and therefore stood in need, and were under the care of a schoolmaster, the law, by which the whole Mosaic administration is designed. They were taught by the moral law, the letter, the writing on the two tables, with other statutes and judgments, their duty to God and men, what is to be done and to be avoided, what is righteousness and what is not, the nature of sin, its demerit and consequences.
But these gave them no instructions about a Saviour, and life and righteousness by him. The ceremonial law gave them some hints of the Gospel scheme, and the way of salvation by Christ, but in a manner suited to their estate of childhood; by sights and shows, by types and figures, by rites and ceremonies, by shadows and sacrifices. 1. It taught them by divers washings the pollution of their nature, their need of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin; by circumcision. 2. The necessity of regeneration, and the internal circumcision of the heart; by the passover, the daily sacrifice and other offerings. 3. The doctrines of redemption, satisfaction, and atonement, by the brazen serpent. 4. The necessity of looking to Christ for life and salvation, and by various other things in that branch of the legal economy: but besides the instruction the law gave, it made use of discipline as a schoolmaster does; it kept a strict eye and hand over them, and them close to the performance of their duty; and restrained them from many things their inclinations led them to, threatening them with death in case of disobedience, and inflicting its penalties on delinquents; hence they that were under its discipline, were through fear of death it threatened them with, all their time subject to bondage: even the ceremonial law had something awful and tremendous in it; every beast that was slain in sacrifice was not only an instruction to them that they deserved to die as that creature did; but carried in it a tacit acknowledgment and confession of their own guilt; and the whole was an handwriting of ordinances against them. Does this make the law bad? absolutely not, a moral life is honorable. But it could not impart to them eternal life.
The Law did it’s job in that it was a moral compass, for immoral men. through its snippets of the Gospel, it was a shadow of the coming Promise. The gentile who were raised apart from the Law are a law unto themselves. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-16) So than all men are without excuse, all men have broken the laws and therefore deserve condemnation. But the promise of Christ came and hopeless man now has hope. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12, 13)
Gregory Lane (07/19/2013)