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Galatians 3:25 (preached on 1/16/2000)

November 17, 2006

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  (NAS)

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (NIV)

Isn’t the law still a tutor to us to lead us to Christ?  Doesn’t the law still convict us of sin?  Doesn’t it still have things to teach us?  I understand that we are no longer under the curse of the law, but why are we no longer under the tutelage of the law? 

To answer this question we need to consider more carefully the meaning of this word “tutor”  You will notice that I have translated it in the sermon outline “We are… 

III. No longer under a schoolmaster  

word is paidogogos.  pedagogy.  In the classrooms of the ancient Greek-speaking world there were two adults supervising the pupils, not just one.  one was the teacher and he stood at the front and was focused just on teaching the lesson, but there was another man standing in the back with a stick.  He was the paidagogos.  If the kids started fidgeting and not paying attention, his job was to come up behind them and “Whack! Listen to the teacher!  Whack! listen to the teacher!”  As a high school teacher for three years, I think this is a great idea and should be the cornerstone of the next education reform bill.   

But that is a great picture of what the law does to us before we come to faith.  It convicts us and condemns us and says “Whack! look to Christ!”    Now it is significant that Paul doesn’t say that the law can no longer be our teacher, but he says that we are no longer under it as a schoolmaster.  It can teach us, but it can no longer wound the conscience because the curse of the law is taken away.  Paul says elsewhere that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, and that of course includes the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law.  It guides us in knowing the paths of holiness, it clarifies our transgressions when we look into it as in a mirror, but the stick is taken out of its hands.      

Let me change the illustration a bit from a classroom to a private tutor.  In the household of a king, the paidagogos was a slave entrusted with the moral supervision of the child prince. He was inferior in rank but he was given the duty of discipline.  This is another good picture of the Mosaic law and Paul paints it for us in 4:1-2.

Galatians 4:1-2 the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

For a time the slave-pedagogos is entrusted by the father with the office of disciplining his child so that he will attend to the teaching.  But imagine the slave trying to come and discipline the prince after he has reached adulthood and come into his inheritance!  The slave would be put to death for even suggesting such a thing.  The prince is no longer under a schoolmaster.   

But if over the years the prince has formed a friendship with the slave, he may still hire him on as a teacher and listen to his wisdom. 

But he no longer fears the sting of the rod. 

And so we read the law to learn wisdom, to be guided in the paths of righteousness, but we are no longer frightened by the terrors of Sinai.  For Christ has hushed the law’s loud thunder, He has quenched Mt. Sinai’s flame.

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