May 17, 2001, revised January 19, 2007
"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." [Galatians 3:23-26 ]
I've noticed down through the years that God's people so often misunderstand the "schoolmaster" verses above. They figure that since they are now under grace and not under the schoolmaster of the law anymore that their freedom means that they can live with one foot in the world. They feel kind of like they are living under "KING'S X." Do you remember "KING'S X."???
In the 50's, if a kid claimed "KING'S X," he was SAFE, and he couldn't be tagged in that ancient game of tag. God's grace is NOT "KING'S X." Sin can still tag you if you dabble in it.
God's law is kind of like the "training wheels" which I put on my daughter's first bicycle. Those "training wheels" saved her from so many bad crashes. That's one of the purposes of God's Law. It is to guide us toward Christ. It doesn't save us from sin, but it keeps us from falling any deeper into darkness as we go along toward Christ. When we first receive the Lord, the Law can help us stay somewhat on course until we can yield ourselves to the full control of the Holy Spirit.
New believers need to continue along with their "training wheels" of the law, for a time. I'm not speaking about Jewish Ceremonial Laws! I'm talking about the Ten Commandments, and the admonishions of the New Testament. New believers need to follow these directives in a kind of mechanical way for a time, until they get hooked up with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can bring a perfection that is far beyond the mechanical beginnings of the faith.
My daughter came to a time, in her bicycle riding, when the "training wheels" needed to come off. She took a few spills after that because she found that the wheels were gone. But, she didn't keep on falling. Soon she learned the secret of bicycle balance. She was kept upright by a higher, invisible law of physics. And you know what??? She stayed more perfectly upright under the "higher law" of physics than the "training wheels" ever kept her. When she rode with "training wheels" she kept bouncing back and forth from one "training wheel" limit to the other! When she graduated from the "training wheels" and she learned to ride properly, she never again hit those extremes, and she seldom ever lost her balance. She moved with a smoothness and grace that was far improved over the "training wheels."
There are thousands of "born again" believers who have had their training wheels, of the law, removed and now they think that they have a license to fall. They think they can pollute their body with various bad habits. They think they can become "sipping saints" going to the local wine tasting party. They think they can stop off at Vegas and put some nickels in the slots, and take in a show or two with an eye for the show girls. They have no problem buying a "Power Ball" lotto ticket or a "Scratcher." They don't feel funny at all about asking their secretary out, alone, for lunch...after all they are going to be witnessing to her. At the book store they scan some of the literature of darkness. At the video store they rent an "adult" movie. They chalk it all up to God's grace. They feel they have "KING'S X."
After all they are free from the Law. Their sins are forgiven...under the blood. They go to church every Sunday and get a shower of the Word of God. They love that Eternal Security doctrine that some churches push, that says: "Once in Grace Always in Grace...we sin in word thought and deed all the time; since sin is any imperfection (they've been told) and we are all imperfect, might as well "live a little." They've got "KING'S X."
Back when they were just coming to Christ, or had just been saved, they still had their "training wheels." And those confounded wheels were SO legalistic. I mean if they leaned over a little bit, a training wheel would save them with a sharp jerk!
I've got a friend who lingered near death for three months. One night his soul left his body and an angel took him to see Hell. He was shocked that he not only saw Hell, but those in Hell could see they had a visitor. The residents of that awful place saw him and begged for him to help them. They said, "We know you! You are one of those Christians. We used to be Christians, but we backslid, and now we are here! Help us! Help us!!"
My friend returned from the vision determined to live a better and a holier life. Tears welled up in his eyes as he told me of the awful suffering of those backslidden ones. He said, "I never realized there were so many in Hell who had once known Jesus."
So, saint of God...if you've got your training wheels off, don't make it a license to keep falling and skinning your knees and scratching up your soul in sin. Get up and ride straight and true for Jesus by the Power of the Holy Ghost. Get filled with the Holy Spirit. Seek for the fullness of God, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. You need a personal Pentecost! Get free! Being free in Christ means you live a purer life than the one you lived under the law. It is a higher, purer calling.
While you are waiting and seeking for the fullness of God, it won't hurt you to put your "training wheels" on again. In fact it will help if you mechanically follow the Word of God until you find the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Law isn't evil. It can help you stay upright until you get under the higher power of the Holy Ghost!