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To Redeem Those Under the Law

by Danny Mihailovic last modified Feb 23, 2014 12:54 AM
The law of God as we have seen thus far is more than a set of rules to live by.

The law is Holy, Just and Good. It is the revelation of God of His Holy and Just nature. Man by nature is not like God at all. Although in our last study, we saw the connection between God and Man in that man in his natural being, even though flesh and blood, because he is made in God’s image is given a soul. This sets him apart from the animal kingdom. The soul is the “kitchen” where the character of a human being is forged and where the Divine is reflected. Try to picture the Holy Spirit as the one who is constantly in that “kitchen” fruit bearing, maturing, bringing the life of God into the soul. It is the life centre, or the place where God interacts with us. Jesus called it the closet; the place of prayer where God hears and sees us as we are. The soul is the centre of all that God does in us and for us. But then those works of God must get expression through actions. Sin not only distorts those actions but kills them. In addressing the soul, the law implies certain things about us. For instance, it implies that worship is central to our humanity. Our soul needs to worship a higher being. They were made for that purpose. “Bless the Lord O my soul…”captures the very essence of worship. An animal however does not have this ability. Its very name “Behayma” means, “In it, is what it is”. An animal is an animal. It does what it is designed to do. God called them Behayma because He simply described them for what they were — living creatures. Man was not the same and never could be. He was given a soul to progress from clay to a living being; to reflect a Holy Creator. So then, what was the significance of the law in this context? Why does Paul refer to this as something that hangs over us like a weight? “Born UNDER” the Law suggests a weight of authority over us.

The law defined sin and righteousness. This is where its weight comes from. Jesus spoke of the “weightier matters of the Law”. The law identified the classifications of sin. For example, blasphemy, murder, adultery, covetousness etc. Man is guilty of all the classifications. On the other hand, the Law also positively asserts how God wants us to live. Opposite to what we have just classified as sin is to Worship, Preserve Life, Honour marriage, be content with what we have. So the dual purpose of the law is clear. It warns and it motivates. Paul states that Christ was born “UNDER” this Law. Does that mean He needed motivation to live a holy life? Does it mean that He was sinful like us needed to be subject to the law for that reason? Of course not! But what it does mean is that He willingly subjected Himself to its scrutiny, its judgments and its demands, in order to redeem those “under the Law”. i.e. to buy back that which God already owned by reason of Him being the Creator and owner of all things making us twice His possession. Jesus in His role as mediator not only arbitrated, but rather fully compensated the Father’s sense of justice by subjecting Himself as the last Adam to the penalty of transgression carried out by all humans. As redeemer, he buys back because He can pay. He is the rich merchant who purchases the field where the treasure is buried! Who else can buy it? Who has the “prince’s purse” but the Prince Himself, the Lord Jesus. Who else gives up all that He has to purchase the “elect”? These were the ones “under the law”. The law was their schoolmaster to Christ. Both the elect Jew and Gentile who were under the Law until Christ, were redeemed by the blood of Christ. This was always and is now the Israel of God. In our next study, it will become evident why Paul uses the imagery of slaves and adopted sons in relation to redemption.