“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the Law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the Law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian …” Gal 3:23-25
Law has a bad rap among Christians. Since Law is that thing by which we cannot be saved, the opposite of grace (it is thought), it is regarded with suspicion, repulsion, or downright ignored, and grace emphasized. It is not wrong for grace to be emphasized, but Paul asks a very good question: “What purpose then does the Law serve?” For Paul said, “The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Jesus said, “Not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Children need Law. All of us need law; we would not want to live in a society without law. Society imposes control from the outside for those who will not be self-controlled, so that those who will be self-controlled can live in peace and safety. Families are the first unit of society. Parents impose control from the outside on their children, so that they can learn to be self-controlled, or controlled from the inside.
“What purpose then does the Law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. … Before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ …” Gal 3:19, 23-24
The Law is needed until a certain time: until the Seed – Jesus – should come to those to whom the promise was made. Yes, this passage speaks of the time in history when the promised Christ came in the flesh. But our children also await the coming of the promise, for they are not born children of God. The time will come when they will be asked, “Who do you say that I am?” and they must answer for themselves. Our children need the Law for their tutor, to guard them until they come to true repentance as adults – until they come to their own faith in Jesus Christ.
My husband and I were typical evangelicals when our children were little, and we did not teach our children the Law. We taught our children grace only. We lost our children to the world for a time. They have come back as adults — thank You Father! But life was hard for them, and if we had obeyed the Scripture from the beginning we could have spared them. In our churches we are doing a grave disservice to parents by not teaching the Law, and by not encouraging them to teach it also to their children.
“And these words that I command you today [the Law] shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deu 6:6-7
Continued: family law, part two