Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Galatians 3:23 speaks of our life as captives until we are freed by the Gospel. This idea of enslavement and freedom is a common motif in the Bible. It's also one of the easiest to misunderstand.
Are we in jail under the law? Is that the idea Paul is getting at? And if we are in jail, why is that? People can be imprisoned for all sorts of reasons. They may be paying a penalty for crimes. They may be incustody so they don't harm anyone. They may be there so they don't hurt themselves. They may be in protective custody so nobody kills them. We really can't predict it based on the location.
Paul says we were captive under the law. Maybe we were more like a child is a captive. The toddler might still use a crib to prevent midnight toddles. The child with a tricycle or training wheels is not ready for the motorcycle. The young teen with a small bank account is learning about finance in a safe environment.
We, in captivity under the law, could learn about God's principles and values. We could see how the world works. We could see what Jesus cares about and what he saves us from. We had Jesus as our guardian.
What happens as we grow up in faith? We become like adult children of Jesus, children who are pleasing to him. We have taken on his values, his concerns, his character, so we can walk in his truth even if we don't think he is watching.
The Christian, then, learns to be a child of God by faith. This is itself a gift of God. It is for the good, both in us and our neighbors. It brings glory to God.
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