Freed for His Glory

Whitney Capps

Day: 4 | Plan: Christ Alone

Today’s Reading: Galatians 3:15-29

Galatians 3:23-25 (NIV) “Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” 

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas have been imprisoned because of their faithful preaching of the good news about Jesus. They are shackled in the inner cell of the jail and guarded by a jailer. Sometime in the night, a violent earthquake shakes the foundation of the jail and breaks the chains that bound Paul and Silas. When the jailer awakens to find the doors opened and the chains loose, he draws his sword to take his own life. In Roman culture if a prisoner escaped from jail, the jailer was killed as punishment for his negligence.

Paul interrupts the jailer’s suicide attempt shouting, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:28). Paul and Silas had been bound to the jail and their jailer. They had no way to release themselves. They had no choice but to stay shackled. Yet, God supernaturally intervenes and frees them. They are bound no more. But rather than flee for freedom, Paul and Silas willingly remain in the jail cell. Why? The Bible doesn’t tell us their motives, but it does record the outcome of their sacrifice.

When the jailer realizes that these former prisoners chose to remain restrained, he asks, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30). Because they chose to stay, the jailer is saved. Paul and Silas had been freed from their bondage, and yet they willingly stayed restrained for the sake of the gospel and the salvation of their jailer. God’s glory and will meant more than their freedom.

This is a picture of what Paul is describing in Galatians 3:15-29. Before our faith in Christ, you and I are bound or enslaved to the Law. We had no hope to free ourselves from the duty and obligation of the Law. Just like the Gentiles of the Old Testament who joined the nation of Israel, we would have had to demonstrate our faith in God by observing every single one of the more than 600 commands of the Mosaic Law. The Law kept us shackled to a system that reminded us at every failure that we would never be able to fully obey God and rightly reflect His holy character. The Law was and is perfect. We were and are imperfect law keepers.

Like Paul and Silas, we could not free ourselves. But the Law births hope, and hope grows faith that one day, Someone might come who could fully obey all of God’s law. Someone would serve to release us from our slavery to this sacrificial system.

Someone did come, and His name is Jesus.

That’s what Paul means when he says, “Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:25). Our faith in Jesus Christ is the history-shaking earthquake that tore the curtain that separated us from the holy presence of God (Luke 23:45) and unshackled our chains. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a clear, but convicting, reminder that the Law is no longer my guard. Jesus has released the shackles that held me prisoner. By faith, I can walk in that freedom. But oh God, I see the wisdom of Your ways. Like Paul and Silas, I sacrifice my freedom to bring glory to Your name and freedom to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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