THE LAW AND CHRIST
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Signs and stickers proclaim “God's Ten Commandments.” Probably everyone knows that the ten commandments are a part of the Old Testament law of God. Paul wrote, “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully,” (1 Timothy 1:8). There is a right use of the Old Testament law and there is a wrong use of it. One is “lawful” while the other is not.
Paul explains the law's purpose, saying: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight,” (Romans 3:19-20). The purpose of the law is not to enable men to be righteous in God's eyes by their good works. Just the opposite is true. The law was given to shut men's mouths and stop them from boasting in their own good works. That is, to prove to individuals that they are “guilty before God.” The law does this since no person has ever nor can ever keep the law of God.
The Lord's brother, James, wrote: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” (James 2:20). Peter called the law a “yoke” saying, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). Saved or lost, no man can keep the law!
Farther along in Romans 3 (quoted above) we read these words: “To declare, I say, at this time his [God's] righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith,” (Romans 3:26-27). Because of the sacrifice of Christ in the place of His sheep, God can now be just (fair) and at the same time “the justifier” of those who believe in Jesus. This is “the law of faith.”
This method of justification (God's declaring men righteous) does away with bragging! If God declared men righteous based upon their good works (law-keeping) they would have a right to boast. But “the law of faith” is this: God declares sinners righteous at the point of faith in Christ and so excludes boasting! Sinners saved by Christ have nothing in which they can boast! Even their faith “...is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8). They can only glorify Christ for their salvation. After all, it is God's purpose, “That no flesh should glory in his presence,” (1 Corinthians 1:29). And so God's preachers proclaim this great truth: “And by him [Christ] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses,” (Acts 13:39).
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726