September 2 Epistle Reading

Galatians 3:23 – 4:5

[23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.[24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.[25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.[26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.[27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.[28]
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there
is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.[29] And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.[1] Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;[2] But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.[3] Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:[4] But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,[5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Marius Victorinus in his Epistle to the Galatians wrote:

"The law was not empty or against the promises. How does he say it was necessary? Because it looked forward to the faith that was to be, and the promise came through faith. 'First,' he says, 'before the law came we were under a tutor; that is, under the law as a sort of custodian and guardian we lived a life that was pure through the avoidance of and repentance for sins, so that when Christ came we, being as it were confined for the purpose of that faith which was to come, should expect his coming; and being prepared through the law, should have faith in him; and, as we avoided sin and did the works of the law, should easily be able to have what was promised from his advent, namely, faith in Christ.' 

St. John Chrysostom in Chapters 3 and 4 of Commentary on Galatians said:

"The expressions 'we were kept' and 'shut up,' signify nothing else than the security given by the commandments of the Law, which like a fortress fenced them about with fear and a life conformable to itself, and so preserved them for Faith…Now the Tutor is not opposed to the Preceptor, but cooperates with him, ridding the youth from all vice, and having all leisure to fit him for receiving instructions from his Preceptor. But when the youth's habits are formed, then the Tutor leaves him, as Paul says…The Law then…is not the adversary but the fellow-worker of grace; but if when grace has come, it continues to hold us down, it becomes an adversary, for if it confines those who ought to go forward to grace, then it is the destruction of our salvation. If a candle which gave light by night, kept us from the sun when it became day, it would not only not benefit, it would injure us; and so does the Law, if it stands between us and greater benefits…"

"Why does he not say, For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have been born of God? for this was what directly went to prove that they were sons: because he states it in a much more awesome point of view. If Christ is the Son of God, and you have put on Christ, you who have the Son within you, and are fashioned after His pattern, have been brought into one kindred and nature with Him…He who was a Greek, or a Jew, or a bond-man yesterday, carries about with him the form, not of an Angel or Archangel, but of the Lord of all; he actually displays within his own person the Christ…the word 'child' in this place denotes not age but understanding, meaning that God had from the beginning designed these gifts for us."


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