“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” – Galatians 3:22
If the Scriptures are good, and they are, why do they imprison everything under sin?
The wages of sin is death friends. (Rom 6:23)
But the Spirit is life…
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
So Paul teaches us here clearly that it is the Holy Scriptures themselves that condemn us. It is the Scriptures themselves that imprison us under sin.
“so that the promise by FAITH in Jesus Christ might be GIVEN to those who BELIEVE.”
Because we can’t read a book and be made righteous before a Holy God. Even if that book is very good, the very Holy testimony of God himself.
“By works of the law shall no man be justified.”
No man will find right standing before God by the things he DOES.
“The righteous shall LIVE by FAITH.”
So then what of faith? What does that mean? How does one live by faith?
Hebrews clearly defines faith for us:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
So faith is an assurance of that which we HOPE for, the conviction of the things we do NOT see but do HOPE for.
You know, like the forgiving of our sins and right standing before a Holy God.
So then how does faith come?
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
Through the “word” of Christ? What does that mean?
That word “word” in Greek is “rhematos” and it means this:
“1. properly, that which is or has been uttered by the LIVING VOICE (emphasis mine), thing spoken, word”
Here’s the link you can read it for yourself.
So Scripture imprisons.
The Spirit sets free.
And he does this by GRACE (that is a free gift) through FAITH (belief in that which is NOT seen.
And faith comes by HEARING the LIVING VOICE of Christ, that is the Holy Spirit.
Consider the following passage from John 10:
“1“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?””
So friends, who is the Door?
Jesus tells us plainly he is the Door.
But what of the Gatekeeper, the one who “opens the door for the sheep.”
Who opens the Door (Jesus) for the sheep?
Certainly not the Scriptures, they are those that imprison all things under sin.
It is the Holy Spirit that opens Jesus to us friends. It is God the Holy Spirit himself who sets us free in Christ.
And he does this by grace through faith, in the very good news that Jesus Christ died and rose for the forgiving of our sins and ALL of that… in accordance with the Scriptures, the very Scriptures that imprisoned us under sin.
Do you hear the cross and the resurrection in this friends?
Do you see how at once the Scriptures are the righteous demands of a Holy God that slay sin in the flesh? But the cross is not the totality of the good news! The Resurrection is the SPIRIT! It is He who sets us free from the bondage of sin and death because of the precious shed blood of Jesus.
So we see the cross is still at work. The Scriptures still crucify but when the reader enters the Door by the Porter, he’s made alive in the resurrected power of Jesus that IS the Holy Spirit.
The letter does indeed kill friends. But the Spirit so also gives LIFE!
“4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3
Grace and peace to you in Jesus’ name.