Galatians 3:19-24 19 So why was the Law given? It was added because of offenses, until the descendant would come to whom the promise had been made. It was put in place through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now the mediator does not take one side; but God is one. 21 So, is the Law against the promises of God? Absolutely not! If a Law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would in fact have come from the Law. 22 But scripture locked up all things under sin, so that the promise based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those who have faith. 23 Before faith came, we were guarded under the Law, locked up until faith that was coming would be revealed, 24 so that the Law became our custodian until Christ so that we might be made righteous by faith.
Without rules and law, would we know what is right or wrong? The book of Judges says over and over that everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Does having law keep us down and keep us from receiving God? No, in fact it point us to a life of faith and freedom.
Paul can be confusing in his writing. The Apostle Peter even says that Paul is hard to understand. But I think Paul is saying something awesome here. The Law was there to cover up (forgive) offenses against God and people. This meant a series of required sacrifices. I don’t know if we can fathom how many animals were killed and sacrificed as a way to receive forgiveness from God. Can you imagine if we had to still do that today?
So were the sacrifices enough to receive forgiveness of God? No. What was there, with the sacrifice offerings, was the faith of the people that God would forgive them. We can look at this as a precursor to Jesus Christ.
Today we do not need to offer any animal or grain sacrifices because Christ was the final sacrifice that we can look back upon in faith. So it is really by faith that we are free and it is by faith we can trust Jesus with our whole being. The Law was not meant to give live, but to show us we cannot live by our own righteousness, we need someone who can make us clean and holy. That person is Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law by removing our requirements to earn God’s forgiveness and favor and instead we receive it by faith.
The people in the book of Judges did what was right in their own eyes. We have the faith to be able to see life as God sees and gives us freedom to voluntarily (not out of obligation) to live as Jesus lived.