“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Gal. 3:22)
This is verse 19 restated. In 19 Paul uses the revealing of sin until the seed should arrive. Here he uses faith rather than seed and imprisoned instead of revealing of sin. When the law reveals the sinfulness of man it is in that way putting man in prison. We already have discussed that the promised seed was Jesus. When Jesus came, faith came. The law held the Jews as prisoners of sin but Jesus came to free them from that prison. He said that He came to set the captive free. Setting the captive free entailed removing what was holding them captives in the first place. Whether we say sin or law Jesus came to demolish both.
On the cross, Jesus nailed the law and ended its reign. On the cross, Jesus paid the ransom that sin demanded. Living under a time of works was over and living under a time of faith began. Scripture imprisoned the world to sin. That’s what the law did. Jesus came to set the world free from the prison on sin. Paul deals with this aspect in more detail in Romans 7. First, he says that without the law he would not have known sin. Then he says, “When the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” Lastly, he tells the Romans that sin seized the opportunity through the law and deceived him bringing about his death. The law brought about sin which imprisoned the sinner. It put the sinner in the body of death. At the end of chapter 7, Paul asks an important question, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” The answer is easy, isn’t it? God delivers us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus has released us from the law because we died to the law and to sin. We died in baptism to that old way of living to be ushered into a new way of living. That new way of living is through the spirit and not in a written code. (Rom. 7:6) Out of Christ, we are imprisoned by sin but in Christ, we have been set free from sin. Our trusting faith allows us to live in a totally new way. We obey the gospel and the grace which put Jesus on the cross sets us free. This is total freedom from the law of sin and death. Those in Christ are free indeed.
Again, in his Roman letter, he tells us that there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. When Paul talks about being in Christ he uses the metaphor of putting on clothing. He says that one puts on Christ. (Rom. 13:14) Later in Galatians 3, he will tell how this is done. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” Gal.3:27. Are you in Christ? If so, how did you do that? Compare what you believe happened with what the Bible says. Find all the scriptures that deal with being in Christ. Does accepting Jesus as Lord put us in Christ? No. Does believing in Him put us in Christ? No. Does going to church put us in Christ? No. What does the Bible say does?
Task for Today: Are you in Christ? Not, do you believe in Him? Not, do you go to church? Not do you try to live a good life? Are you in Christ? Have you put Christ on? Can you do that in a non-biblical way? Can you just say I believe in Jesus, therefore, I am in Jesus? Not what Paul tells the Galatians is it? Please put on Christ. Be baptized and wash away your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You will never regret obeying Jesus and His word.