Well, today is August 5th and the Indianapolis Public School system started the new school year this morning. They must be kidding – August is barely here and already the kids are back for another year in class. In fact, to me, it seems impossible to believe. Now I know that there are countries that require children to go to class all year long but we don’t live in one of them; and I’m sure it feels that kids barely get out for the summer and then, before you know it, they are back at it for the new year.
I just can’t get used to this kind of school year. When Janet and I were back in grammar school, we started classes right after Labor Day and then got out for the year somewhere near the end of June. Today, the classes are skewed earlier in the year. Kids get out in May and then head back in August, but I never recall classes starting on the 5th. Carmel schools are the latest this year to head back and in several weeks, all the kids in the state will be back in class.
There are several references to school and teaching in the Bible. Some of them refer to giving credit to teachers and recognizing their contribution to educating the rest of us. But there is one passage in particular that I want to focus on this evening. In one section of Galatians, Paul teaches us that the Old Testament was like a schoolmaster, one who kept us in line until the arrival of the New Testament and our continuing education from Jesus. On first pass, these verses seem somewhat confusing, but if you understand the context of the message, it becomes quite clear right away.
In the “olden” days, the children of the master’s house were raised by the slaves during their early years of life. When the slaves had taught all they were capable of teaching, and when the children had become old enough, they entered the home of their parents, the home of the “master” and continued their education well past what they would have learned under the slaves. Paul lets us know that this is what the Old Testament did for us until the arrival of Jesus in the New Testament.
We were really born into God’s house, the master, created in His image, but the Old Testament, living under the Law, was like living in the home of the slaves. When we had learned all that we could under the law, and realized that we couldn’t live sinless lives, Christ came into our lives and we entered the house of the Master, the New Testament, and continued to learn more about the Father from Jesus Himself. I know that this all seems a little convoluted, but the simple message is this…
We lived under the Law until we learned that no matter how good we were, we couldn’t live sinless lives. Then, with the advent of the New Testament, we learned about Jesus and His earthly ministry. Of course, this also led to finding out about salvation and the possibility of eternal life – assured for those who believe in Him.
The verse for tonight is the verse that Paul references in Galatians 3:23-26 (KJV), “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
My encouragement this evening is that we all continue to attend “school” and learn as much from our teacher, Jesus Christ, as we possibly can. My prayer is that you will continue to grow in your faith and always sit at the feet of the ultimate teacher, Jesus. Also, I pray that if you have children about to start another year of school, they will have a healthy, happy year of learning new and exciting things. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…