21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
We saw in Day 17 that the law was given only until the Seed should come. We also saw in Day nine that justification is by faith alone and not by keeping the law. Paul further clarifies this truth in today’s passage by stating, “For if there had been a law which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.” This statement builds upon the truth that keeping the law perfectly could never justify us to God.
One of the reasons that this truth is important is because it opens salvation up to anyone who believes on Jesus. Christianity is the most democratic of all religious belief systems. If some could earn it, then others couldn’t. How would that be just? But God, in His perfect justice, confined everyone under sin so that He could then offer salvation to everyone by the same measure. Every person is able to choose to accept the gift of salvation. No one who puts faith in Jesus is rejected. What could be more fair?
Until such faith was revealed, Paul explains, the law served as a tutor to lead us to Christ. The picture here is that of a guardian whose job was to lead a young student to school and assist in the student’s proper social and intellectual development. Once the student graduated to maturity, the guardian was no longer necessary.
The law served to bring us to Jesus. Once we receive salvation by faith, the law no longer has a role. The Holy Spirit now leads and guides us into all truth with Jesus as the Master. This imagery provides a greater dynamic to people calling Jesus “Master” and “Teacher” in the Gospels. Indeed, He is all of that and more.
Paul explains that “once faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” In other words, to insist on condemning ourselves or others based on the law is to function as school children. The law is for the spiritually immature who have not understood faith in Christ. Once faith has come, the tutor can leave. Braving grace means understanding that by having faith in Christ, we have graduated from the elementary principles of law-keeping. We don’t need a tutor to hold our hands on the way to school anymore. We have the Master Teacher living on the inside.