The Role of the Old Testament Law in Galatians

Tom Schreiner: Communicating the role that the law played in God’s overall plan of salvation was one of the New Testament church’s biggest challenges. As Jews accepted that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, they struggled to understand how to bring their Jewish roots into this new reality. The Christian who had come out of Judaism had to reconcile their understanding of what the law actually accomplished and how it worked. In their understanding, the law purified them and made them righteous. Was that true? If not, why were they given the law? In his online course on Galatians, Thomas R. Schreiner explains Paul’s take on the law from Galatians 3:19–20. The following post is taken from Schreiner’s course. Why was the law given? “Then why was the law given? It was added on account of transgressions”—Galatians 3:19a–b If the law is not the primary covenant but is subordinate to the Abrahamic covenant, and if eschatological salvation is obtained through the

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The greatest of enemies

But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.  Galatians 4:29 “The persecution of the true church, of Christian believers who trace their spiritual descent from Abraham, is not always by the world, who are strangers unrelated to us, but by our half-brothers, religious people, the nominal church.  It has always been so.  The Lord Jesus was bitterly opposed, rejected, mocked and condemned by his own nation.  The fiercest opponents of the apostle Paul, who dogged his footsteps and stirred up strife against him, were the official church, the Jews.  The monolithic structure of the medieval papacy persecuted all Protestant minorities with ruthless, unremitting ferocity.  And the greatest enemies of the evangelical faith today are not unbelievers, who when they hear the gospel often embrace it, but the church, the establishment, the hierarchy.  Isaac is always mocked and persecuted by Ishmael.”

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