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BC Weekly Digest
Monday, August 30 1999

In this issue:

	Galatians 3:23-29
	Galatians 3:21-25
	Galatians 3:26-29

Galatians 3:23-29

Galatians 3:23-29 (ASV)
23 But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the 
law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be 
24 So that the law is become our tutor [to bring us] unto 
Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith is come, we are no longer under a 
26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ 
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put 
on Christ.
28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be 
neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; 
for ye all are one [man] in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, 
heirs according to promise.

Comments by Howard Justice

*3:23 "But before faith came, we were kept in ward under 
the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be 
  Before the advent of the law of Christ, all Jews were 
held under the care and authority of the Law of Moses. 
They were "shut up", i.e. they were sealed by the covenant 
of God with the Jews, awaiting the promise of the era of 
faith that was to be revealed in His Son, Christ Jesus. 
  The concept here is that of a child or ward of the state 
whose care has been assigned to a special interest of an 
overseer or "schoolmaster" as the King James version 
notes. It is the basic concept of custody being granted to 
a third party (the Law of Moses) much like is done in the 
courts regarding the care of an orphaned child. God gave 
the custody of His people, the Jews, to the Law of Moses 
for a while until the era of faith would come in Christ 
  This denotes the temporary nature of the Law of Moses to 
which we alluded in a recent lesson. The Law of Moses was 
never intended to be a permanent law but was only 
temporary. It was to serve until the "fullness of time" 
when God could send His Son to serve as a sacrifice for 
mankind (Galatians 4:4). 

*3:24 "So that the law is become our tutor [to bring us] 
unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
  It was the Law of Moses that was assigned the oversight 
of God's children until Christ would come.
  This comparison is matchless. The Roman custom of 
assigning a trusted slave to the oversight of the Roman 
child went far beyond that of a simple schoolmaster or 
even a tutor of today. This slave was entrusted with the 
very life of the child and knew full well that his own 
life would be lost if the child suffered any harm 
whatsoever. His duty as a "schoolmaster" or "tutor" as the 
ASV has it, was to accompany the child to the academy 
where he would receive his basic education. The slave 
would wait on his charge  and then accompany him home at 
the end of the day. In addition, he was responsible for 
the total maturing of the child by constantly directing 
his development along Roman guidelines. We would call this 
slave a guardian today. It is vital that we understand 
that his duties were far greater than just that of being a 
"tutor" (one who teaches) or a "schoolmaster" (one 
assigned to the task of teaching), but entailed the total 
responsibility for the child under his care. In much the 
same way, the Law of Moses was not only a religious or 
spiritual law, but was also a civil law in that it 
directed not only the relationship between Jews themselves 
but also between the Jews and their neighbors.

*3:25 "But now that faith is come, we are no longer under 
a tutor."
  We are no longer under this legal arrangement with this 
special guardian because the era of faith, under Jesus 
Christ, has come. I can find no more compelling passage 
that supports the concept that the Law of Moses has been 
taken away than this. It is clearly evident, from the 
language here, that the Law was only a temporary 
"guardian" for the people of God's promise (the Jews) 
until the era of faith had come through Christ Jesus.
  In Colossians 2:13-15, there is a reference to the 
removal of the Law of Moses that is often used. However, I 
believe that it is not only often misapplied but is far 
more meaningful that is commonly accepted.
  Paul teaches that all mankind was "dead" in his 
trespasses (under the Law of Moses as well as the Law of 
the Patriarchs) but God made man "alive" by the 
forgiveness of his trespasses. It is the removal of this 
"true bill of conviction"; this death warrant much like 
that of the grand juries of today when they indict someone 
for their crimes against the state.
  In much the same order, man is freed from this 
indictment by the forgiveness of sin through the blood of 
Jesus Christ. To me, it is the curse of sin that has been 
removed and was nailed to His cross more than the Law 
itself. The Law of Moses was legally removed on the day of 
Pentecost, some fifty days after the Sabbath of the 

*3:26 "For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in 
Christ Jesus."
  All who have obeyed the requirements of God in the Law 
of Christ, have become "adopted" sons of God. In Romans 
8:14-16, we find Paul telling us that those of us who have 
accepted the terms of God through Jesus Christ have become 
"adopted" children and joint heirs with Christ. This is 
also a fulfillment of the promise made in John 1:11-12.
  It is the same as today when a couple adopts a child 
into their home as one of their own which makes this child 
a "joint heir" with their other children who were 
naturally born into that home. Hallelujah, what a great 
God we have!

*3:27 " For as many of you as were baptized into Christ 
did put on Christ."
  Here Paul tells us exactly how it is that we become 
members of God's family. It is the "putting on" of the 
name of God by becoming a child of His great family. There 
is every assurance that we will be equally accepted, just 
as Christ is, in the great family of God. This "putting 
on" comes when we submit ourselves to the will of God 
through baptism (the final initiatory act of salvation) 
which is a demonstration of our complete acceptance of His 
authority rather than our own. To teach anything except 
baptism would be to thwart the authority of God and show 
our unwillingness to accept His terms.
  In Acts 2:38, Peter told those repentant Jews: "Repent 
ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus 
Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
The logical and legal sequence to this promise is that one 
must first submit to baptism (following the required 
hearing, faith, confession and repentance) in order to 
receive the forgiveness of sins. We are forgiven after and 
only after we have "fully" demonstrated our willingness to 
obey Him.
  In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter notes that like the ark was able 
to save Noah and his family, even so "baptism doth now 
also save us (not the putting away of the filth of the 
flesh, but an answering of a good conscience unto God) by 
the resurrection of Jesus Christ"(KJV). It is this 
"answering of a good conscience" that is accomplished when 
we agree to accept His will over that of ours.
  In Colossians 2:11-12, Paul compares baptism to the act 
of circumcision under Judaism. He demonstrates that like 
the circumcision of the Law of Moses had removed the 
filthy foreskin of the Jewish male, even so baptism 
removes the "body of sins" from the convert under the Law 
of Christ.
  This means that we remain unjustified until the moment 
that we arise from the watery grave of baptism. In Romans 
6:3-7, Paul compared the act of baptism to the death, 
burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ where the old man 
of sin is buried with Him through baptism and the convert 
is raised to walk in "newness of life." In the unbaptized 
state, we are unclean and unforgiven.
  It is in the act of baptism that God washes away the 
guilt of sin. It is then, and only then, are we able to 
enter the kingdom (Matt 7:21).

*3:28 "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be 
neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; 
for ye all are one [man] in Christ Jesus."
  In God's eyes, there is neither national, racial, 
cultural or sexual difference. Those relationships are 
only temporal and fleshly. Nothing of this nature is able 
to inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50).
  The kingdom to which all baptized believers are added is 
a spiritual relationship within the family of God and is 
not of this world, but is reserved and sealed by the Holy 
Spirit until the end of time (Eph 1:13). In the kingdom, 
all of God's children are equal. 

*3:29 "And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, 
heirs according to promise."
  Because all men have received access to the promise made 
unto Abraham in the long ago (Genesis 18:18), those who 
have truly accepted Jesus have become Abraham's seed 
through the redemption found in Christ Jesus. The 
fulfillment of this "seed" promise unto Abraham has truly 
come in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Praise God!
Howard Justice


Galatians 3:21-25

Galatians 3:21-25 (OPV)
21 Is law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! 
For if a law was given, capable of making alive, indeed 
righteousness would have resulted from law.
22 But the Scripture placed everything in confinement 
under sin that by [the] faith of Jesus Christ the promise 
might be given to those who believe.
23 But before the faith came, we were being guarded under 
law, held in confinement for the faith which would later 
be revealed.
24 Thus, the law has been our custodian [to bring us] to 
Christ so we might be justified by faith.
25 But since the faith has come, we are no longer under a 

(Comments by Roy Davison)

*3:21 "Is law then against the promises of God? Certainly 
  Although law brought a curse and condemnation rather 
than the promised blessings, the law was not in opposition 
to the promises. It served a temporary, yet vital, purpose 
in God's plan.

*3:21 "For if a law was given, capable of making alive, 
indeed righteousness would have resulted from law."
  Righteousness is required for eternal life. But we are 
dead in trespasses and sin. Law makes this lost condition 
obvious. Righteousness cannot proceed from law. Law just 
makes it clear how unrighteous we are!
  The law itself was righteous: "And what great nation is 
there, that hath statutes and ordinances so righteous as 
all this law, which I set before you this day?" 
(Deut 4:8 ASV).
  As Paul explains, however, law is not the problem, but 
sin, for which law offers no solution: "So that the law is 
holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good. 
Did then that which is good become death unto me? God 
forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by 
working death to me through that which is good; -- that 
through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful" 
(Rom 7:12,13 ASV).
  Law cannot give life because it just shines a spotlight 
on our lost condition. Rescue must come from another 

*3:22 "But the Scripture placed everything in confinement 
under sin"
  In verse 10 a Scripture was quoted that places us all 
under a curse because of our sin. The function of law was 
not to justify, but to convict. We are hemmed in, 
confined, imprisoned by our own sins! Paul uses the same 
word to express a similar idea in Romans 11:32. "For God 
hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have 
mercy upon all" (ASV).

*3:22 "That by [the] faith of Jesus Christ the promise 
might be given to those who believe."
  This confinement is of course extremely unpleasant. As a 
consequence, from that position, one can see freedom from 
sin in Christ (Gal 5:1) shining in all its glory. Christ 
came to set us free from the prison of sin in which we 
have been locked up by law.
  Jesus explained this to the Jews, who did not value His 
offer of salvation because they expected to be saved 
simply because they were sons of Abraham. "Jesus therefore 
said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in 
my word, [then] are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall 
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They 
answered unto him, We are Abraham's seed, and have never 
yet been in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall 
be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant 
of sin. And the bondservant abideth not in the house for 
ever: the son abideth for ever. If therefore the Son shall 
make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are 
Abraham's seed: yet ye seek to kill me, because my word 
hath not free course in you" (John 8:31-37 ASV).
  The faith of Jesus Christ refers to the teachings of 
Christ embodied in the New Testament.
  To those who believe, who allow the word of Christ "free 
course" in themselves, this freedom comes through baptism 
by which we have fellowship with the death, burial and 
resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:4,5), "knowing this, that 
our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin 
might be done away, that so we should no longer be in 
bondage to sin" (Rom 6:6). "But now we have been 
discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we 
were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and 
not in oldness of the letter" (Rom 7:6 ASV).

*3:23 "But before the faith came, we were being guarded 
under law, held in confinement for the faith which would 
later be revealed."
  As mentioned above, "the faith" refers to the doctrine 
believed by Christians (compare with Gal 1:23; 3:25; Acts 
  In the next chapter it is mentioned that Christ Himself 
was under law that He might redeem those who were under 
law (Gal 4:4,5).

*3:24 Thus, the law has been our custodian [to bring us] 
to Christ so we might be justified by faith.
  The Greek word translated "custodian" is so rooted in a 
particular custom of the Greek-Roman world that its full 
force and its extreme suitability can only be understood 
by explanation. This word refers to a person assigned as a 
chaperone, teacher, guardian and protector of a young man. 
He took him to school, brought him home, supervised all 
his activities, helped him with his homework, and in 
general was responsible for his safety, well-being and 
  Thus, the law was not against the promise, but was given 
as preparation for the realization of the promise.

*3:25 But since the faith has come, we are no longer under 
a custodian.
  This custodian provided strict supervision! This was 
required because of the inexperience of the boy who, 
without the help of the custodian, might be harmed or 
might find himself in situations where he did not 
recognize the danger.
  It was the custodian's responsibility to guide the boy 
to manhood when he would no longer need such supervision, 
but would have become a responsible and mature adult.
  In chapter 4 Paul will expand on this guardian function 
of the law (Gal 4:1,2).
  The concept of no longer being under law is often 
misunderstood and misapplied.
  At one extreme, the principle is misused to excuse 
continuing in sin. John's first letter refutes this 
  At the other extreme, the concept is rejected entirely. 
Law-keeping is imposed as a means of salvation, often in 
conjunction with an intermixing of the Old and New 
  Not being under law means that we have God's law written 
in our hearts and expressed in our lives so we are living 
self-motivated examples of what the law requires (see Rom 
8:10-12; 10:16,17 and compare with Rom 2:14-16). It also 
means that when we fall short of this high goal, we have 
access to forgiveness by the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
  "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are 
not under law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, 
because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid" 
(Rom 6:14,15 ASV). "If you are Spirit led, you are not 
under law" (Gal 5:18).
Roy Davison


Galatians 3:26-29

Galatians 3:26-29 (OPV)
26 Because -- through the faith -- you are all sons of God 
in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have 
put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave 
nor freeman, nor is there male and female, because you are 
all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, 
heirs according to promise.

Comments by Roy Davison

*3:26 "Because"
  Paul now explains why Israel was no longer under a 
*3:26 "Through the faith"
  Sonship does not come through the law (the custodian) 
but through the Christian faith.
  The words "the faith" (in Greek) in verses 25 and 26 are 
sometimes translated simply as "faith". But faith existed 
under the Old Covenant. It was the coming of "the faith" -
- - the Christian faith, that brought maturity and freedom 
from the guardianship of the law.
*3:26 "You are all sons of God"
  Here Paul changes from "we" to "you". He has been 
talking about the guardianship of his own nation Israel 
under the law. Now he starts discussing sonship in Christ, 
which is available to all. "But as many as received him, 
to them gave he the right to become children of God, 
[even] to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12 ASV).
  Whether they are Jews or non-Jews, sonship comes through 
Christian faith, not through law or physical descent: 
"having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but 
of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth 
and abideth" (1 Peter 1:23 ASV).
*3:26 "In Christ Jesus"
  This sonship is in Christ who is the seed to whom the 
promise was given: "That is, it is not the children of the 
flesh that are children of God; but the children of the 
promise are reckoned for a seed" (Rom 9:8 ASV).
  "The blessing of Abraham" is "for the nations in Christ 
Jesus" (Gal 3:14).
  Being in Christ means being part of His body, the church 
(Eph 5:29,30; Eph 1:22,23).
*3:27 "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ"
  The statement "for as many of you" allows no exceptions. 
To be "in Christ" we must be "baptized into Christ." There 
are no "unbaptized" Christians.
  "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all 
the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also 
is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one 
body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and 
were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor 12:12,13 
  In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains this more 
fully: "Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized 
into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were 
buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that 
like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory 
of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 
For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of 
his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his 
resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified 
with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that 
so we should no longer be in bondage to sin" (Rom 6:3-6 
  Law brings bondage to sin. Baptism (a burial in water) 
unites us with the death, burial and resurrection of 
Christ to free us from bondage to sin.
  That is why Paul himself, after he had believed and 
repented of his sins, was told by Ananias: "And now why 
tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy 
sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16 ASV).
  There is one baptism (Eph 4:5). We must be born of water 
and the Spirit (John 3:5). When a penitent believer is 
immersed into Christ, he is given new life by the Spirit: 
"Not by works [done] in righteousness, which we did 
ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through 
the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy 
Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus 
Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we 
might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" 
(Titus 3:5-7). 
  "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, [he is] a new 
creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are 
become new" (2 Cor 5:17 ASV).
*3:27 "Have put on Christ"
  When we are baptized into Christ we are clothed with 
Christ. As a consequence, we are also clothed with His 
righteousness. "I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah, my soul 
shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the 
garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of 
righteousness" (Is 61:10 ASV). We cannot be righteous 
before God on our own merits: "For we are all become as 
one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a 
polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our 
iniquities, like the wind, take us away" (Is 64:6 ASV).
  "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not 
provision for the flesh, to [fulfill] the lusts [thereof]" 
(Rom 13:14 ASV). 
*3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek"
  Nationality and ethnic origin are of no significance in 
Christ: "seeing that ye have put off the old man with his 
doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed 
unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: 
where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and 
uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but 
Christ is all, and in all" (Col 3:9-11 ASV). "For there is 
no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same [Lord] 
is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him" 
(Rom 10:12 ASV). 
*3:28 "There is neither slave nor freeman"
  "For he that was called in the Lord being a bondservant, 
is the Lord's freedman: likewise he that was called being 
free, is Christ's bondservant" (1 Cor 7:22 ASV); "knowing 
that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall 
he receive again from the Lord, whether [he be] bond or 
free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, and 
forbear threatening: knowing that he who is both their 
Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of 
persons with him" (Eph 6:8,9 ASV).
  Notice that the distinction is not denied. But in Christ 
it is neutralized.
*3:28 "Nor is there male and female"
  "From the beginning of the creation, Male and female 
made he them" (Mark 10:6 ASV). Although there are physical 
differences, and different roles in the home and in the 
church, this does not affect ones worth in Christ. After 
the resurrection, this distinction will no longer exist 
(Luke 20:35,36).
*3:28 "Because you are all one in Christ Jesus"
  Paul discusses the oneness of Jews and Gentiles in His 
letter to the Ephesians. "For he is our peace, who made 
both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 
having abolished in the flesh the enmity, [even] the law 
of commandments [contained] in ordinances; that he might 
create in himself of the two one new man, [so] making 
peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God 
through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and he 
came and preached peace to you that were far off, and 
peace to them that were nigh: for through him we both have 
our access in one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph 2:14-18 
  Before returning to the Father, Jesus prayed that His 
followers might be one: "Neither for these only do I pray, 
but for them also that believe on me through their word; 
that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, [art] in 
me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the 
world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory 
which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they 
may be one, even as we [are] one" (John 17:20-22 ASV).
*3:29 "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's 
  Christ is Abraham's seed (verse 16). We are baptized 
into Christ (verse 27). In Christ we are descendants of 
Abraham, and therefore heirs of the promise.
  Because we are in Christ (who is the son of Abraham and 
the Son of God) we too are sons of Abraham and sons of 
God. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Christ brings 
many sons to glory (Heb 2:10).
*3:29 "Heirs according to promise"
  "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are 
sons of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage 
again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth 
witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and 
if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs 
with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we 
may be also glorified with [him]" (Rom 8:14-17 ASV).
Roy Davison