The Babysitter

Scott Hoezee

Read: Galatians 3:23-26

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came. (v. 24)

Paul has established that God did not give the law as a way to salvation. In the previous verses we saw that Paul claimed the law was like a mirror to show us our sinfulness. Check yourself against God’s law and you are driven to Christ as the only way to salvation.

Now he brings in another image: the law was like our “guardian,” or a more colloquial way to translate the Greek is that the law was our “babysitter.” A babysitter is provided for children to keep them safe when they are too young to be trusted to stay alone. Babysitters watch over children and make sure they don’t eat anything bad or wander into the street or do something else perilous. Babysitters also enforce the rules of the parents: if the children are not allowed to watch a certain TV show, the babysitter makes sure they don’t. If the children’s bedtime is seven o’clock, the babysitter gets the children to bed right then.

That’s God’s law. Until Christ came, the law kept us safe, kept us close to God, kept us on God’s pathways. But even as a child eventually outgrows the need for a babysitter, so we outgrew our need for the law once Christ arrived. The law was God’s gift to keep us safe. It did not bring salvation, but it kept us close to God so we’d be right there in God’s bosom when salvation fully came in Christ. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Thank you for keeping us close to you, now and always, O God.