Thursday, 12 September 2013
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:4
For the third time in only four verses, Paul begins with “For.” This time, it looks back to the thought that Israel, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, sought instead to establish their own righteousness. By doing so, they “have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” Based on this, Paul explains, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.” The law was put in place to show us of our desperately sinful state (refer to Romans 7) and to lead us to our need for Christ (see Galatians 3:21-25).
Jesus, being born without sin, was qualified to replace Adam. And living perfectly under the law without sinning, He fulfilled the law on our behalf. Now God offers us a trade. If we accept what Jesus did, believing that it was all-sufficient for us, He grants us Jesus’ perfect righteousness and places our sins under His shed blood. In Him, we have peace with God. This is offered “to everyone who believes.”
Nothing is said here, or at any other place in Scripture what Calvinists teach – that God first regenerates us in order to believe and then we exercise our faith. Belief is an act of the volitional will. We hear the message, we accept the premise, we believe that it is true, and God grants us Christ’s righteousness. This is how it works and this is how the Bible describes the process time and time again.
So a question remains for consideration. “What happens to the law?” If Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, then what does that mean about the law itself? The answer is twofold. First, the law remains in full force and effect for those who fail to believe in what Christ does. They must fulfill the law perfectly in order to stand justified before God. But Paul explains in Galatians 3:10-12 (and elsewhere) that no one is justified by the law. Because of this, those who fail to accept Christ stand condemned. Secondly however, the law is over for those who have accepted Christ. It is:
1) Annulled (Hebrews 7:18)
2) Obsolete (Hebrews 8:13)
3) Taken away (Hebrews 10:9)
4) Wiped out, taken out of the way, and nailed to the cross (Colossian 2:14)
5) Etc. elsewhere in multiple statements, explicitly and implicitly
In other words, we are free from the constraints of the law – completely and entirely. They are not binding on us. Our righteousness is an imputed righteousness based on the work of Christ. Therefore, to re-introduce the law in any precept (mandatory Sabbath day observance, circumcision, dietary restrictions such as “no pork”, etc.) is to say to God, “I believe that what Christ did was insufficient to save me.” It is a slap in the face of God.
The doctrine for our lives and conduct comes not from the law then, but from the New Testament epistles, particularly the writings of Paul who was selected to guide us during the church age.
Life application: Have faith in what Christ did, believe that what He did is all-sufficient, and be free from the requirements of the law which could never make you righteous in and of themselves.
Oh God, I am so thankful for Jesus. You gave the law to Israel with so many commands – over 600. And then You told the people, “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them.” Then, after 1500 years of proving that no one could do this, You sent Jesus to do them on our behalf. Now You offer His righteous work in exchange for my failures. I believe… I receive! Thank You for Jesus. Amen.