Galatians 3:23–29, Moving Beyond the Law To Faith

Verses 23–25m: “Before this faith came, we were close prisoners in the custody of law, pending the revelation of faith. Thus the law was a kind of tutor in charge of us until Christ should come, when we should be justified through faith; and now that faith has come, the tutor’s charge is at an end.”

My favorite definition of faith is from The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune. She states faith is:

“The conscious result of supraconsciousness experience which has not been translated into terms of brain consciousness, and of which, therefore the normal personality is not directly aware, though it nevertheless feels, possibly with great intensity, the effects, and its emotional reactions are fundamentally and permanently modified thereby.”

Faith is not the belief in an idea or doctrine or dogma but is the state of consciousness that comes from an experience of God Within felt as something larger than our ego/self. Faith is an experience of superconsciousness we are not able to adequately capture in words. Yet, faith changes us. Something in our drive, our way of being with our selves, God Within, and others changes. The change is spontaneous. We can choose to go with it or stay loyal to our former ways.

The writer of Galatians notes when we have faith, we are no longer “prisoners in the custody of law.” He describes law as a “tutor in charge of us until Christ should come.” It’s interesting to think about the psychological structure that Freud termed superego as the mental equivalent of religious or spiritual law. The superego develops from the internalized shoulds, musts, and ought tos learned from family, school, church, society, etc. Superego is the precursor to our conscience and autonomous sense of self.

To the degree we are stuck in the internalized “laws,” we are a prisoner. We serve the learned ways even thought they may contradict our Self/God Within. We don’t have the ability to move in alliance with our larger Selves.

Think for a minute about where you feel like a prisoner. In spite of your desires to experience or act differently, you find yourself limited by the learned ways. Often, the authority of “should, must, ought to” squeezes out the space of silence in which we can hear the voice of the Self/God Within. When we find ourselves caught in these places, we can invite an experience of faith by clarifying what we know.

The movement towards knowing the Christ/the Self/God Within begins with acknowledging, clarifying, and understanding what is within us. Carl Jung wrote about an organic process, known as the Transcendent Function, through which a uniting third emerges when we consciously hold two opposing states of consciousness (thoughts, feelings, desires, etc.) simultaneously. This means bringing conflicting thoughts, feelings, etc. to the light of consciousness and struggling to hold what is there with the intention of finding the Self/God Within. In this way, we open our psyche/soul to receive the transcendent or the supraconsciousness of the Inner Divine Spirit.

Inner Reflection
Take a few minutes to clarify your inner conflicts. What are the opposing perspectives of the superego or learned authority and your experience or felt sense? Write down what you know about each. Invite a focusing statement that holds the essence of the struggle. Listen to hear what comes. Faith comes as we consistently ask and seek the Self/God Within.