“So the law was our guardian until
Christ came that we might be justified by faith.” Gal 3:24
Observing the law does make us feel better about ourselves and give us a false sense of
I don’t drink, smoke, or gamble, therefore I am fine. Besides, I fare much better when
I compare myself with my neighbors.
What the law does is to guard us from falling too deeply into sin. It brings us back when we
wander away from the right path, but it does nothing to keep us there. It does
not give us new life; it merely keeps us alive, for utter lawlessness makes
Kathy and I were guardians to someone for a few years, and our main concern during that
time was that the boy stayed on the right path and did not get himself into any
sort of trouble. There was no life-connection between the guardian and the
The law tells us what not to do, yet it does not impart us with the strength and power to do
good and to shun evil. It creates within us a sense of guilt, since knowing
does not equal doing. Didn’t the apostle Paul once lament: “Woe is me!”
For us Gentiles, we may not have the law, but we do have a conscience, which has a similar
function as the law. Don’t we often hear a nagging voice within our heart
telling us we have gone astray, after we do something against the mandate of
It’s the voice of our guardian, doing the admonishing and correcting.
I am indeed very grateful to the guardian within my heart who kept me from falling too
deeply into sin and lawlessness during the days of my youth. I didn’t become as
corrupted as I could have become, solely because of its guardianship.
I tried to be a good man, yet apart from the cross, my righteousness was only “filthy rags.”
What I needed as a pagan wasn’t constant admonition from my guardian, but a
thorough transformation by the Holy Spirit. I became a new man, not a better
man when that took place.
Have I left my guardian behind? Not completely. We may sometimes find ourselves seeking
justification through keeping the law.
The life of following Christ and following the law are entirely different. Indeed I still
falter and stagger in my walk, but my performance as a Christian has nothing to
do with my deliverance, and my imperfection as a person does not rob me of my
inner serenity, since I am under the authority of a loving Father who
always forgives, not a cold-hearted guardian who often seeks to condemn and to
May we constantly be reminded that Christ has come and we no longer live under the tyranny of the guardian.