BY: JOHN STOLWYK
FUNCTION OF THE LAW
EFFECTS OF THE LAW
LIMITATIONS OF THE LAW
FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
In this article we want to look at the Function, Effects, Limits and Fulfillment of the law
In this article we would like to explore some facets of the law. Mainly the Function, Effects, Limitations and Fulfillment of the Law. The objective is to grasp a better understanding and appreciation for the law as we see it in the light of God’s eternal purpose. It is also the author’s desire that through this understanding one would see his or her freedom from the law not as an escape of duty, but as greater freedom to walk in that newness of life that the Lord has given to us.
FUNCTION OF THE LAW
The Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was a revelation of the righteous character of God and how he desired man to be. So the first function was to show man what God desired him to be. Second it was to show man how sinful he was! Man could not know how sinful he was until the law was given. There was nothing to measure by except other sinful people. I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Rom 7:7. Although sin existed before the law was given, mankind had no idea how far he had missed the mark. Now man had God’s inventory list of what he was supposed to be and could clearly see his sinful state. For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:13. Many people believe God gave the law so that man could keep the rules and thus earn his way to heaven. If that was God’s plan then God’s plan has miserably failed. See, keeping the law is not the best out of 3 or 4 or a 1000 tries. It is 100% perfection all of the time. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Gal 5:3 Also James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. The function of the law was to show the utter hopeless sinful condition of man. But God never leaves man without hope but gives eternal hope in His solution. Also in the law we find provision for the “covering” of sin until the perfect sacrifice would come. God’s perfect Lamb as a sacrifice for sin. John the Baptist called him by that name when Jesus came to be baptized of him in the Jordan. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 God had promised to Abraham long before the law that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. So the law functioned as a teacher to focus man toward the promised deliverer Jesus Christ to whom all the promises where made. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, Gal 3:24 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Gal 3:18-19. In this way the law functioned as the revealer of both the problem and the promised solution.
EFFECTS OF THE LAW
Next we would like to look at the effects of the law. By the law showing what sin was it produced an awareness of the wrath of God. Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Rom 4:15. Not only did it reveal wrath but it showed sin for how bad it really was. It amplified the offense. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Rom 5:20. Mankind could now see clearly that he was rotten to the core and that no matter how many laws God could give them they would break them all! A shocking and hard to believe effect that the law has is that the law gives sin its power!
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. Rom 7:8 Also 1 Corinthians15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. Someone might conclude then that the law is bad but the problem wasn’t with the law it was with us.
LIMITATIONS OF THE LAW
This brings us to the third aspect of our study the limitations of the law. The law could only reveal sin it could not free us from it. Paul clears this thought up in Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Flesh speaks of man’s own ability to try to do the will of God. No flesh will ever be justified before God because our own strength can never produce the will of God. To try to become right before God by keeping the law is the same error Israel fell into. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; Rom 9:31-32. Jesus came to fulfill the law, that is to meet its righteous requirements. When people cannot receive the atonement of Christ as the one & only acceptable sacrifice they will start adding their works to it. This is a denial of faith in God’s provision & a manifestation of religion.
FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
Lastly we come to the fourth element of the law’s fulfillment. When Jesus offered Himself once for all He became the fulfillment of the law. Jesus said He had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matt 5:17-18. We need to see that all the promises God made even with Abraham was to His seed. If we receive Jesus’ life we are made complete in Him and receive all the promises of God. For all the promises of God in him are yes and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Cor 1:20 Once the fulfillment of the law was come we had no more need of it. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Gal 3:24-25. Once the law has brought us to Jesus Christ we no longer need the law. Because the Law is now fulfilled in us by the Holy Spirit who has empowered us with Christ’s life!
The conclusion is that the law was given to make us aware of sin and the wrath of God revealed against all unrighteousness. It actually could reveal the problem of sin but could not do anything to help those under it. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Gal 4:4-5 Jesus met all the requirements of the law and brought the law to its end. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Col 2:14. So Christ has become the fulfillment and the end of the law for all those that believe in Him. As we understand the true purpose of the law we see that the only righteousness that God will accept is the righteousness that He has provided for us in Jesus Christ. All those that haven’t trusted in him are still going about to establish their own righteousness. These will never be able to experience the grace of God reigning through righteousness unto eternal life. (see Romans 5:21)
The word is clear that the just (or justified) live by faith. Faith is a trust in the certainty of God to fulfill in us what he demands through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. We are not only saved by faith but we are kept by the power of God through faith. So many believers are deceived by religious teachers that the law still has a purpose in their lives once they have put their faith in Christ. This is one of the greatest misunderstandings of the carnal mind. First the law is not of faith therefore any relationship that a believer tries to establish with the law is not of faith. We learn from the word whatever is not of faith is sin and without faith it is impossible to please God. Paul explained that the law is made for the ungodly and for the sinner, not for the righteous man. What people fail to see is that the law was given to show sin and its solution. Once we are led to the provision of God in Christ we are set free from the law. The law has no purpose or power in our lives beyond this purpose. People who believe that the law is given to make them holy have totally miscomprehended the law’s purpose. These people are under the ministration of death (2 Cor 3:3) and have an inordinate affection with the law. Paul compares it to being married to one man while committing adultery with another. You cannot mix law and grace they are two different covenants!
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Acts 13:39
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom 3:20
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Rom 3:21
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Rom 3:27-28
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Rom 6:15
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Rom 7:2-4
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Gal 2:16
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom 10:4
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Gal 3:10
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Gal 3:12
Therefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:19
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Gal 3:21
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Gal 5:18
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1 Tim 1:9
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Heb 7:19
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law 1 John 3:4
THE LAW [John Stolwyk] 1