This post refers to our podcast. Can’t see the audio file above? Click here to listen!

The law is an x-ray to expose what is broken in our lives.⇦Tweet that!

mistrust-the-law-killsThose of you who have read my book, When God Breaks Your Heart, know how I feel about people who mistrust the medical community. I don’t buy the conspiracy theories and I feel that if a colin cleanse would actually heal my leukemia, then the doctor I have come to trust and who cares for me as a friend would have told me so.

Over the years a number of friends suffering from cancer have bought into the conspiracy theories and have tried what I call the snake oil remedies.

Sadly and tragically, they all died.

Just like Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’s Mistrust of Medicine Killed Him

According to Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, the mastermind eventually came to regret the decision he had made years earlier to reject potentially life-saving surgery in favor of alternative treatments like acupuncture, dietary supplements and juices. Though he ultimately embraced the surgery and sought out cutting-edge experimental methods, they were not enough to save him.

Jobs’ cancer had been discovered by chance during a CT scan in 2003 to look for kidney stones, during which doctors saw a “shadow” on his pancreas. Isaacson told CBS’ 60 Minutes last night that while the news was not good, the upside was that the form of pancreatic cancer from which Jobs suffered (a neuroendocrine islet tumor) was one of the 5% or so that are slow growing and most likely to be cured.

But Jobs refused surgery after diagnosis and for nine months after, favoring instead dietary treatments and other alternative methods. Isaacson says that when he asked Jobs why he had resisted it, Jobs said “I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” His early resistance to surgery was apparently incomprehensible to his wife and close friends, who continually urged him to do it.

Isaacson remembered conversations he had with the tycoon as the consequences of his mistrust of western medicine played out in his body:

Jobs’ postponement of surgery in favor of alternative means was a bizarre executive decision. “We talked about this a lot,” says the biographer. “He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. … I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner.” (Forbes Article)

Mistrusting the Law Will Kill You

These tragic stories help you and me understand Paul’s argument for the necessity of the Law

The Apostle’s defense of justification by faith in Galatians raises a question: If God originally gave the promise, then why did God add the Law. “The Law,” Paul answers, “was temporary (3:19-25) and inferior (3:26-29). The law’s relatively short-lived purpose was and is to remind the nation Israel and every person that works-righteousness is absolutely inadequate.⇦Tweet that!

That’s the deadly mistake law keepers make. They’re ignoring the reality of the Mosaic Law’s purpose while insisting that God accept their sorry attempts to keep the parts of the law they’re good at keeping or failures they’re hiding.

Here’s my outline of Galatians 3:19-26:

Paul explains the purpose of the Law and the Old Testament: To point people to Christ by enslaving would-be children of God to the harshly impossible demands of works-righteousness (3:19-26).

The law was added to temporarily restrain and reveal sin to provoke us to believe in the Descendant of Abraham through which the promise is claimed—Christ (19a).

Moses who stood between God and the Israelites mediated the conditional Mosaic Covenant and it seems a host of angels were also involved (Deuteronomy 33:2), but the unconditional promise of the Abrahamic Covenant needed no mediator (19b-20).

Note: The Judaizers seem to have made much of the presence of angels at the giving of the Law. The Scriptures imply that too much significance was placed on the angels, which even caused some to worship them (cf. Col. 2:18). This is apparently the background for Hebrews 1 and 2 in which the superiority of Christ to the angels is stressed. (Bob Deffinbaugh, Galatians 3:19-29, Bible.org). Note: The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17, 22) was unconditional. God made the promise and Abraham had no responsibility but to trust Him. The Mosaic Covenant (Leviticus 28; Deuteronomy 26—blessings and cursings) needed a mediator because Israel had responsibilities.

The promise and the law work together: The law, indeed all of the Old Testament (Scripture) cannot give life, but it can force us to admit we need to trust in Christ (21-22).

The law protected and disciplined us much like a nursemaid cares for the master’s children. But once we believe in Christ, we are free from the nursemaid’s demands and are under the personal care of the Master (23-25).

The Law Imprisons, Faith in Christ Sets Free!⇦Tweet that! That’s the title of the sermon my friend David Anderson preached and the point of today’s podcast and notes:

The Law exposes our sin and leaves us hopeless–to turn us to faith in Christ.⇦Tweet that!

I hope you’ll listen to the podcast and refer to the free online commentary of on Galatians.

Don’t buy into the deadly lie that the law is a way to righteousness. People who lean into that lie will die spiritually.

Question: What are some the less tragic but here and now dangers of viewing the law as the way to righteousness rather than evidence of personal unrighteousness?

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