Before Faith Came
Instead of Christ, the object of our faith, and instead of the doctrine of faith, as is mentioned by John Gill, this is saving faith in my opinion. Everyone, whosoever he may be who is saved by the grace of God was sometime in the past without faith, had no hope, and was without God in the world (Eph. 2:12). Each one of us had to wait until faith came to us, for faith is the object of God's grace, the result of his great love for us, a divine fruit of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22). Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
We Were Kept Under The Law
In ancient times slaves were used in the daytime sometimes to turn the mill, but they were not free. At night they were put down into a pit, and a grinding stone was put over the pit to prevent their escape. They continued to be slaves until they were redeemed or set free from their slavery. Also, as a soldier, the slaves were guarded from escape, keeping each slave on guard against a resistance to the law of his owner. So, the law of God kept watch over us before faith came to us. We were guarded and made responsible for each and every law issued forth by God and were due condemnation for each error made against the law.
Shut Up Unto The Faith Which Should Afterwards Be Revealed
But the law cannot condemn a man who has been set free from the condemnation of the law. The law has no more control over him, but his Redeemer is his lawyer, his teacher, his comforter, and his Master. To every believer this faith was to be revealed. This faith came after the law had condemned us and had shut us up; but Christ broke through the chains of the law and gave us faith by measure (Romans 12:3).
Jesus Christ has set us free; we are no longer under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14-15). Jesus Christ was made "under the law" (Gal. 4:4) so that he might redeem us who were under the law (Gal. 4:5). Therefore, we are free from the law, "oh happy condition." Being led by the Spirit of God, we are not under the law, guarded by it, or condemned by it (See Gal. 5:18; Romans 8:1).