The law makes us slaves. It directs our behavior at every turn and provides the consequences when we fail. We all fail! But the law was good in a world of sinners. It still is. Without law there is no peace, security, or property. But the restraining feature of the law is not necessary when we live in a family. We don’t write laws for each other that determine who belongs and who doesn’t belong. We live together on the basis of love. The 09 more thanlaw simply preserved society until Christ came. It still preserves society in some ways until Christ comes again. But God’s family, the church, is the real restrainer of evil today. This is the way Paul says it in Galatians 3:24-26, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

I know the world often speaks to us of “the family of man.” It puts all mankind into the same camp. This is true in that we are all children of God by creation. God made us all and He made us all to be equal. I’d argue first and foremost that we’re all equal sinners. But this family that Paul is talking about is a family formed by redemption. It’s the lot of believers in Jesus who have been “born again” into the family of God. John Butler observes, “Many religionists do not want to say the whole sentence here. They want to say, ‘You are all the children of God’ and then stop. But that is grossly misleading. We are children ‘by faith in Christ Jesus.’ Leave out Jesus Christ and you will not become a member of this great family. The requirement to be a member of this family is to be ‘born again’ (John 3:3,5,7). And being born again occurs when Christ is received ‘by faith.’”

Richison adds some strong comments to this passage as well. He writes, “This verse does not put a period after the words ‘sons of God’. The Bible does not say everyone in the world is a son of God. True, we are all creatures of God. That does not mean we are God’s children. No one is a child of God without placing exclusive faith in Christ Jesus. Those who do not exercise faith in Christ are mere creatures of God just like a bird or donkey. They do not have a personal relationship with God.” Although I might not want to compare a non-believer with a bird or a donkey, I get the point. We are all “creatures” of God and therefore His children in one respect. But to be part of the “Family of God” we must become “new creations” as Paul tells the Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”