Kept in Custody

Monday January 9, 2017

Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. (24) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

I was actually studying Deuteronomy Chapter 30, verses 15-18 when I cross referenced to the above verses in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The apostle Paul originally planted Christ’s church in Galatia in the region of Asia Minor. It was not long before these planted churches became apostate.

Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

False teachers had made their way into the churches in Galatia and began to alter the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Paul returned to Galatia to prove that justification is by faith alone and not the deeds of the law.

Let’s go back for a moment and look at the verses I started with in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy:

Deu 30:15-18 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; (16) in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. (17) “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, (18) I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.

I especially like verse 17 and the first sentence of verse 18:

  1. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, (18) I declare to you today that you shall surely perish.

Let’s return to Galatians 3:23:

Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

What is meant by “custody under the law”? Let’s look up the Greek:

custody:

φρουρέω

phroureō

froo-reh’-o

From a compound of G4253 and G3708; to be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in,protect: – keep (with a garrison). Compare G5083.

Law:

νόμος

nomos

nom’-os

From a primary word νέμω nemō (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), generally (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): – law.

So we can see that prior to being justified by faith (when Christ came as the sacrifice for our sins) man was kept in custody-or protection under the law of Moses. The ancient Israelites were “shut up”. In modern English the term “shut up” has a negative conotation in telling someone to be quiet in a rather nasty sort of way. We have all had the need to instruct our children not to use this term “shut up” But what does this term really mean in the Greek?

συγκλείω

sugkleiō

soong-kli’-o

From G4862 and G2808; to shut together, that is, include or (figuratively) embrace in a common subjection to: – conclude, inclose, shut up.

In verse 23 (being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.) it is telling us that they embraced and were in common subjection to the Old Testament law as revealed by Moses up until the time in which Christ was revealed as our Savior and the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

Matthew Henry states that The law did not teach a living, saving knowledge; but, by its rites and ceremonies, especially by its sacrifices, it pointed to Christ, that they might be justified by faith.”

Galatians 3:24:

Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

The law became our tutor. What exactly do we mean by that?

παιδαγωγός

paidagōgos

pahee-dag-o-gos’

From G3816 and a reduplication form of G71; a boy leader, that is, a servant whose office it was to take the children to school; (by implication [figuratively] a tutor [“paedagogue”]): – instructor, schoolmaster.

The law became our servant whose office it was to take us to school, to lead and instruct us. Christ was to become the sacrificial lamb for our sins.

Gal 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Act 13:39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

I am not sure who stated this but I like it and will include this without giving proper credit:

God does not reward me for good efforts, or even good performance. God blesses me because He loves me. And He loves for me to just trust in Him. And He loves it when I seek to please Him. But even that is not the basis for what God gives to me. The basis is God’s love and grace for me. He bestows upon me His blessings, His love, as I simply believe in Him to do it and trust Him to do it.

The following quote is from the late Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel:

You see, God does not reward us for our works, for our efforts, for our goodness. Whatever God gives to me, He gives to me on the basis of my believing in His grace. And these men have learned to believe in the grace of God. Not really looking at their own selves, weaknesses, failures or whatever, and they have learned how to inspire people to look to God through faith. And God honors the faith of the people who have come to receive from God.

Our last Galatians Chap 3 verse for the day:

Gal 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

In our day we no longer have need of a παιδαγωγός (pahee-dag-o-gos’) tutor. Faith has come and we receive freely the gift of eternal salvation by the completed work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 7:14 kind of gives a summary of this transition from the sacrifice under Mosaic law to the New Covenant:

Rom 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

We are no longer under the law, but under the covenant of grace.

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

As we conclude today let’s look at this final excerpt from Chuck Smith:

So I stand in the grace of God. I walk in the grace of God. Now, does that mean then that I can just go out, and you know, live any kind of an old lascivious life? No, no, no, no, no. The love of Christ constrains me to walk a life that is pleasing, and when I use that as the criteria for my activities, I find that I live a more strict life than when I try and use right and wrong as the basis for my particular activity. Is this right to do? Is this wrong to do? I so often hear that question. That should not be the consideration. The consideration should always be, “Is this pleasing to God if I do it?”

We are getting off subject a bit at this point, but this is such an important point that I would be remiss if I did not bring it up. We will cover so called “backsliding” extensively at another time. But let’s not take grace for granted and as license to sin.

If I indeed believe, my belief will be demonstrated by my actions.

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Recent Chapel Meetings

Deuteronomy 8:11-14

Remembering the Lord Your God (Part 2 of 4)

Today we will switch back to Deuteronomy where we left off a couple weeks ago. Previously we covered Deut. 8:1-10. At that time I had planned to divide chapter 8 into two parts, since then I have decided to divide the second half of this chapter into three parts-making for a total of four parts. Let’s start by reading the text of verses 11-14.

Deu 8:11-14 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; (12) otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, (13) and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, (14) then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Moses then spelled out the danger inherent in abundant prosperity. Whereas in the wilderness they had to depend on God for the necessities of life, their newfound prosperity might conceal their need for the same dependence. Moses prescribed a sure antidote for this danger: praise the Lord your God. In fact failure to praise Him for His blessings was a step toward forgetting God and then disobeying His commands. Bible Knowledge Commentary

Verse 11:

Deu 8:11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;

It is so easy for us to become forgetfull of the great things God has done for us! We may even seek God earnestly for the things we need-or even for the things we want. Out of His great love for us and according to His will for us He will grant us our requests made before Him. Yet how many times have we neglected to be thankful to God?

Psa 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt,

And God will oftentimes just put us through tests to prove us, to show to us our areas of weakness that we would not have confidence in our flesh but that our confidence would be in the living God. So God’s purpose was to humble them and to prove to them whether or not they would keep the commandments through the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Chuck Smith

Hos 2:8-9 “For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil, And lavished on her silver and gold, Which they used for Baal. (9) “Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time And My new wine in its season. I will also take away My wool and My flax Given to cover her nakedness.

The following excerpt is by John Gill:

Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God,…. The Father of mercies and fountain of goodness, the author and donor of every good and perfect gift. Plenty is apt to induce a forgetfulness of God, when on the contrary one would think it should keep him in continual remembrance, and engage to daily thankfulness to him:

in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day; gave a repetition of, and in the name of God afresh enjoined them, even laws moral, ceremonial, and judicial, which, when not observed, God is forgotten. Gill

Verse 12:

Deu 8:12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them,

Remembering that in the previous 40 years the Israelites had wandered around the wilderness living in tents and moving about frommplace to place all the while enduring unforseen circumstances. Finally there became what we may consider some stability in their lives. They began to build a community, they had plenty to eat, and their physical eeds were being met. And yet:

Pro 30:9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Hos 13:5-6 I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. (6) As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.

Ecc 2:4 I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;

Wealth is apt to engender in the possessor of it a spirit of self-gratulation and pride, and abundance of good things to induce men to be luxurious, “to trust in uncertain riches,” and to be forgetful of the bounteous hand from which all that they enjoy has come. Against this the people are hero cautioned and warned. Pulpit Commentary

Amo 5:11 Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.

Luk 17:28 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;

Verse 13:

Deu 8:13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies,

And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply,…. Having good pasture for them in so fruitful a land:

and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied; by trading with other nations:

and all that thou hast is multiplied; children, servants, and substance John Gill

The sin of greed. We certainly see a lot of that going on today. Let’s look at one verse in the Psalms, then two verses in Luke:

Psa 39:6 “Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

Luk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”

The words of Jesus as recorded by Luke:

Luk 12:15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

Verse 14:

Deu 8:14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

I grieve as I remember a person, one whom I used to be close to, who once claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior at a time in the past when times were more difficult. While this is a complex story and I shall only give generalities let’s just state that there was an abundance of sin involved and a forsaking of the Lord. This person who had been rescued from slavery by Jesus (the bondage of living for oneself) had forgotten his/her God, became so arrogant and nasty that very few would choose to associate with this person.

then thine heart be lifted up,…. As the heart is apt to be when riches increase; hence the advice in 1Ti_6:17.

and thou forget the Lord thy God; from whom all good things come, and who can take them away when he pleases, and therefore should be ever kept in mind, for ever looked to and trusted in for the continuance of them; yet such is the evil heart of man, and such the stupefying nature of riches, that they bring on forgetfulness of the author of them, lead off from dependence on him and obedience to him; in order to prevent which, an enumeration is given of wonderful instances of divine goodness to Israel, as follows:

which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; into a land abounding with all the above good things, and therefore it must be the highest ingratitude to forget such a God, and disobey his commands. John Gill

2Ch 26:16 But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.

Just like the person I referred to above. There is nothing new under the sun.

Psa 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt,

Jer 2:6 “They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no man dwelt?’

Please join us next time as we Remember the Lord Our God Part 3 (verses 8:15-17)