In my wallet right now I have a crisp $50 bill. On the front, rests a picture of President Ulysses S. Grant. On the back, a rendering of the United States Capital. You know what I have found out about this bill? It is not edible. That’s right, you cannot eat it. Well, I suppose you COULD eat it, but it would provide no nutritional value. I can back up my claim with statements from the world’s top scientists and dietitians, but I doubt you will require me to “show my math.”
Since this bill is not edible, I have decided it is worthless. I will just throw it away … wad it up in the wrapper of an already eaten Big Mac and toss it in the nearest waste basket. I am tired of hanging onto things I don’t need.
Are you paying attention yet? If so, how are you responding to my tirade above? Some of you are shaking your head at my feigned ignorance. Others of you are running over to the nearest trash bin to see if there are any empty Big Mac containers I may have just discarded. Whatever it is … my ignorance is evoking in you a response.
And that is my point.
What is the root of the problem I just identified? My chief problem was that I was expecting a $50 bill to be something that it was never intended to be … and when it fell short of my self-fabricated standard, I wanted to declare it worthless. A $50 bill is not food, but it IS valuable, and should not be discarded … understanding its intended purpose and using it for that purpose is critical.
I say this today because this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at Galatians 3:19-24 in part 3 of our “New Way” sermon series. In this week’s verses we will seek to understand the meaning of the Old Testament … particularly the “Law” section of the Old Testament. Paul has been quite clear in Galatians that the Law cannot SAVE anyone … our salvation has always been about the promise of God. Paul’s opponents believed that Paul saying the Law cannot SAVE anyone was akin to Paul wadding up the Law in a Big Mac wrapper and throwing it away. In this week’s verses, though, Paul speaks up and makes a profound statement.
Though the Law was not given to SAVE anyone, it still had a profound purpose. The Old Testament Law was a MEANS to an end … therefore it has MEANing. What is that meaning? What was the purpose of the Law, and how do we as Christ followers accurately understand the first 2/3 of our Bibles? Well, we will seek to understand this on Sunday as we unpack Paul’s answer.
Before we go and throw our Old Testaments into a trashcan, let’s see if we can understand the reason God gave the Law to Moses in the first place. When we see that purpose, we will understand that the Law IS valuable, as we grasp its intended purpose in salvation history.
I sure hope you can join us this weekend as we continue our series. See you at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 (in person) … or online in the stream at 10:15 at wildwoodchurch.org/live