The law was our schoolmaster - Ὁ νομος παιδαγωγος ἡμων γεγονεν εις Χριστον· The law was our pedagogue unto Christ. The παιδαγωγος, pedagogue, is not the schoolmaster, but the servant who had the care of the children to lead them to and bring them back from school, and had the care of them out of school hours. Thus the law did not teach us the living, saving knowledge; but, by its rites and ceremonies, and especially by its sacrifices, it directed us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. This is a beautiful metaphor, and highly illustrative of the apostle's doctrine. See the note on Romans 10:4, where this figure is farther explained.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster - The word rendered schoolmaster ( παιδαγωγὸς paidagōgoswhence the word “pedagogue”), referred originally to a slave or freedman, to whose care boys were committed, and who accompanied them to the public schools. The idea here is not that of instructor, but there is reference to the office and duty of the “paedagogus” among the ancients. The office was usually intrusted to slaves or freedmen. It is true, that when the “paedagogus” was properly qualified, he assisted the children committed to his care in preparing their lessons. But still his main duty was not instruction, but it was to watch over the boys; to restrain them from evil and temptation; and to conduct them to the schools, where they might receive instruction. See, for illustrations of this, Wetstein, Bloomfield, etc. In the passage before us, the proper notion of pedagogue is retained. In our sense of the word schoolmaster, Christ is the schoolmaster, and not the Law. The Law performs the office of the ancient pedagogue, to lead us to the teacher or the instructor. That teacher or instructor is Christ. The ways in which the Law does this may be the following:
(1) It restrains us and rebukes us, and keeps us as the ancient pedagogue did his boys.
(2) the whole law was designed to be introductory to Christ. The sacrifices and offerings were designed to shadow forth the Messiah, and to introduce him to the world.
(3) the moral law - the Law of God - shows people their sin and danger, and thus leads them to the Saviour. It condemns them, and thus prepares them to welcome the offer of pardon through a Redeemer.
(4) it still does this. The whole economy of the Jews was designed to do this and under the preaching of the gospel it is still done. People see that they are condemned; they are convinced by the Law that they cannot save themselves, and thus they are led to the Redeemer. The effect of the preached gospel is to show people their sins, and thus to be preparatory to the embracing of the offer of pardon. Hence, the importance of preaching the Law still; and hence, it is needful that people should be made to feel that they are sinners, in order that they may be prepared to embrace the offers of mercy; compare the note at Romans 10:4.
God has given to every man talents in trust. To every man He has given his work. There can be no idlers in His vineyard. Each has most earnest, sacred, solemn work to do for the Master. To everyone is committed some work to do, and none are excused. The day of final account will come, when the Lord reckons with His servants. The Chief Shepherd is Judge and illustrates the great principles which are to regulate the proceedings of the reckoning with His servants who are justified by faith, judged by their works. Faith works by love and purifies the soul of moral defilement that it may become a temple for the Lord. TDG 208.2Read in context »
It was the love of God to man that prompted Him to express His will in the ten precepts of the Decalogue.... God has given man a complete rule of life in His law. Obeyed, he shall live by it, through the merits of Christ. Transgressed, it has power to condemn. The law sends men to Christ, and Christ points them back to the law. OHC 138.6Read in context »
The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith. I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner to confuse the mind on this point. The law of God has been largely dwelt upon and has been presented to congregations, almost as destitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His relation to the law as was the offering of Cain. I have been shown that many have been kept from the faith because of the mixed, confused ideas of salvation, because the ministers have worked in a wrong manner to reach hearts. The point that has been urged upon my mind for years is the imputed righteousness of Christ. I have wondered that this matter was not made the subject of discourses in our churches throughout the land, when the matter has been kept so constantly urged upon me, and I have made it the subject of nearly every discourse and talk that I have given to the people. FW 18.1Read in context »
Sin did not kill the law, but it did kill the carnal mind in Paul. “Now we are delivered from the law,” he declares, “that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “Was that then which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:13). “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). Paul calls the attention of his hearers to the broken law, and shows them wherein they are guilty. He instructs them as a schoolmaster instructs his scholars, and shows them the way back to their loyalty to God. 1SM 213.1
There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to transgress, and become loyal and true. As the sinner looks into the great moral looking glass, he sees his defects of character. He sees himself just as he is, spotted, defiled, and condemned. But he knows that the law cannot in any way remove the guilt or pardon the transgressor. He must go farther than this. The law is but the schoolmaster to bring him to Christ. He must look to his sin-bearing Saviour. And as Christ is revealed to him upon the cross of Calvary, dying beneath the weight of the sins of the whole world, the Holy Spirit shows him the attitude of God to all who repent of their transgressions. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 1SM 213.2
We need, individually, to take heed as we have never done before to a “Thus saith the Lord.” There are men who are disloyal to God, who profane His holy Sabbath, who cavil over the plainest statements of the Word, who wrest the Scriptures from their true meaning, and who at the same time make desperate efforts to harmonize their disobedience with the Scriptures. But the Word condemns such practices, as it condemned the scribes and Pharisees in Christ's day. We need to know what is truth. Shall we do as did the Pharisees? Shall we turn from the greatest Teacher the world has ever known to the traditions and maxims and sayings of men? 1SM 213.3Read in context »