In Galatians 3:19, Paul told us that the Law was given because of transgression. And later, in Galatians 3:24, he said it was our guardian until Christ came. By nature, humanity is fallen and in rebellion against our creator. The Law was given to show us our sinfulness. The Law itself could not change our sinful nature. It could only reveal it to us. But in revealing to us our inability, it made clear our need for a savior, one who could transform our sinful nature. And that savior is Jesus. The Law serves to point us to him. And once we have come to Jesus, it has served its primary purpose.
The Value of the Law
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
But the Law has another purpose. A purpose that Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath demonstrates. The Sabbath was made for us. It was for our benefit. The rest it mandated had a practical value to those who obeyed it. And I believe that applies to all of the individual commands in the Law. The Law was not just a collection of arbitrary commands that God gave. Instead, each of them enabled those who followed them to live better and fuller lives. The Law was beneficial to those who obeyed it.
As a follower of Jesus, I am not under the authority of the Law. The primary purpose of the Law has been accomplished in my life. But the Law is still beneficial to me in my day-to-day life. The sacrifices we offer as believers differ from those prescribed by the Law. And many of the regulations given for ancient Israel are no longer applicable in our modern setting. But the Law was given for our benefit. It has much to teach us about holiness, relating to other people in our lives, and living healthy lives. Think of the Law, not as a legalistic code to follow, but as instructions given by a loving Father to help guide his children through life.