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“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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The Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Galatians 3:24 –
‘…the Law… our tutor to lead us to Christ…’
explained.

Galatians 3:24 reads as follows;

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:24 NASB

A great number of dear people have currently, and sadly inherited the incorrect interpretation of Galatians 3:24.

The portion of this verse that is often recited out of context, most is;

‘…the Law… our tutor to lead us to Christ…’,
(Galatians 3:24 NASB)

A dear though mistaken person, might currently say that this verse is thus saying something along the lines of;

‘… the Law of Moses (Torah) was simply a thing to observe until Christ came to complete his mission on the earth…’

^ Civilly, such an interpretation is incorrect, and let us know understand why.

Firstly, one should note that in no place does the verse state that the Law of Moses has been abolished, when it says ‘…the Law… our tutor to lead us to Christ…’.
 Rather, this well known phrase is actually the lead-up to the core context of the verse, and the core context of the verse, is located toward the end of it – when it says;

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:24 NASB

^ This means that the verse is thus speaking on the matter of ‘justification by faith’, and as we will continue to see, is not stating that the Law of Moses has been abolished.

Verse 11 confirms context for us again, when it says;

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Galatians 3:11 ESV

And in verse 10, this is explained even further for us;

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Galatians 3:10 ESV

^ When it says ‘…all who rely on works of the law…’, this is speaking of a person who is counting on their own merit and good deeds to be declared righteous before the Holy G-d. Such a ‘works-based’ approach is also referred to in verse 23 as seeking to be ‘under the law’;

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
Galatians 3:23 ESV

If one rely’s solely on their good deeds of Torah Law to be justified, Galatians 3:10 (above) says that such a person is ‘cursed’ – why is this? Here, it is referencing the Torah when it states;

Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Deuteronomy 27:27 NIV

^ A person who relies on the law to be justified without believing in Messiah (Christ) is ‘cursed’ because no man born of fallen man’s seed can do what the Holy G-d commands, and the command is to observe ‘all‘ of it;

‘…do all his commandments…’
(Deuteronomy 28:1 ESV)

‘…do all his commandments and his statutes…’
(Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV).

Fallen man simply cannot observe all of Torah Law here without sinning (ref. Ecclesiastes 7:20 KJV). The Law of Moses then goes on and literally states what the punishment for breaking the Law is;

‘…curses shall come upon you and overtake you.’
(Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV)

 Furthermore, and briefly, when in Galatians 3:23 it says;

‘…we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
(Galatians 3:23 ESV)

^ This is referring to fallen man being ‘imprisoned’ and in slavery to their sinful desires (ref. Romans 6:20) , and therefore is highlighting the need for a person to be set ‘free’ from such carnal slavery – by receiving G-d’s Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) within them, and a ‘new’ heart (ref. Ezekiel 36:26-27), and become ‘new’ in Christ (ref. 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV) – hence the term ‘born again’ (ref. John 3:3).
 This ‘new’ spiritual state allows a person to ‘put to death’ the carnal trappings of the flesh (ref. Romans 8:13 ESV), if G-d wills, by His Holy Spirit.
 For brevity’s sake, this ‘imprisoned’ component for Galatians 3:23 will conclude here.

With this, Galatians 3:24 is communicating to us that one’s approach to observing the Law of Moses, should be as per the example of faithful Abraham – as provided in the Law of Moses and as also referred to in Galatians 3:6;

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 KJV 

Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Galatians 3:6 NASB

^ Here we see that Abraham believed G-d, and then G-d counted Abraham’s faith as righteousness to him – whilst he was uncircumcised.

Abraham then went and upheld G-d’s commandment (e.g. circumcision [Genesis 17:26]) without relying, or being under G-d’s Law to be justified.

With his faith, righteous Abraham went and continues to observe G-d’s Law, because;

‘…the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’
(Romans 7:12 KJV) 

 This pleasing faithful approach is the way of the L-RD G-d, and is also thus confirmed for us in the New Testament (Brit Chadasha);

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Romans 3:28 ESV

and with this faith in Messiah (in Christ);

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31 ESV

‘…we uphold the Torah.
(Kehillah in Rome 3:31 OJB)

Hence the examples of faithful Abraham are cited again;

‘He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised….’
(Romans 4:11 ESV)  

and,

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
James 2:22 NIV

 In brief summary, with regard to Galatians 3:24 we see that correct context cannot be arrived at easily by only quoting the first portion of the verse. Rather, when read in it’s entirety; we see that the verse is showing us that one is justified by faith in the risen Christ (Messiah), and is not declared righteous by their good deeds alone – as;

‘…the righteous will live by his faith.’
(Habakkuk 2:4 NASB)

and now that we have the context – at the same time;

‘…faith without works is dead…’
(James 2:26 KJV)

May the Holy G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; bless you, with a beyond maximum increase – in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Omayn (Amen).

Biblical Copyright Translation Disclaimer

“Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” 

 “Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org ” 

 “Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Standard Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™”

 “Scripture quotations marked (OJB) are from the Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl. Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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