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The Glad Tidings

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    The Law a Jailer, a Taskmaster

    “So that the law hath been our tutor unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The words “to bring us” are marked both in the old version and the new as having been added to the text, so we have dropped them out. It really makes no material difference with the sense whether they are retained or omitted. It will be noticed also that the new version has “tutor” in the place of “schoolmaster.” This is better, but the sense is still better conveyed by the word that is used in the German and Scandinavian translations, which signifies “master of a house of correction.” The single word in our language corresponding to it would be jailer. The Greek word is the word which we have in English as “pedagogue.” The paidagogos was the slave who accompanied the boys to school to see that they did not play truant. If they attempted to run away, he would bring them back, and had authority even to beat them to keep them in the way. The word has come to be used as meaning “schoolmaster,” although the Greek word has not at all the idea of a schoolmaster. “Taskmaster” would be better. The idea here is rather that of a guard who accompanies a prisoner who is allowed to walk about outside the prison walls. The prisoner, although nominally at large, is really deprived of his liberty just the same as though he were actually in a cell. The fact is that all who do not believe are “under sin,” “shut up” “under the law,” and that, therefore, the law acts as their jailer. It is that that shuts them in, and will not let them off; the guilty can not escape in their guilt. God is merciful and gracious, but He will not clear the guilty. Exodus 34:6, 7. That is, He will not lie, by calling evil good; but He provides a way by which the guilty may lose their guilt. Then the law will no longer be against them, will no longer shut them up, and they can walk at liberty.GTI 148.2

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