But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
This statement by St. Paul creates interpretive anxiety (yes, that is a thing) for me, because I know that if I asked my Jewish friends if they considered the law to be something they needed to be redeemed from, they would probably laugh, or scoff at the notion. In fact, I know from my conversations with them that they regard their observance of the law as a faithful response to the grace of God.
So, I think it is important to clear some things up about what, I think, St. Paul was meaning. First, biblical scholars have given ample evidence that St. Paul was not anti-law or antisemitic—I mean, he was a Jew himself—and that he actually held the law in very high regard. Therefore, the rhetoric that seems to be disparaging of the law is actually a critique on piety and loyalty to God that is displayed only on the outside but isn’t there on the inside. Essentially, it is the difference between fear and faith.
Often, we ask the question during this season, “will we make room for the Christ child in our heart?” It’s a little bit of hackneyed question, but it’s still a good one to be asking ourselves right now. Are we living our lives from a place of fear and guilt or from a place of love and faith? I believe the answer to that question is to know that the latter only can happen when we have invited Christ in?