The Law as given by God at Mount Sinai. Part of its purpose was fulfilled and completed in the bringing forth of the Christ of God, Jesus, the incarnate Son of the one true God. For the believer, the Word of God says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Rom. 10:4) But, what does that mean? Is the Law done, over with, tossed out? What is the proper place for the Law in light of the Cross, for those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ?
In the beginning of Rom. 10:1 Paul writes his prayer for his beloved Israel is that they may be saved. He speaks of their zealous ignorance or ignorant zeal in not understanding or being able to properly transition from the Law and Commandments to the Covenant of Grace. They did not understand the way God had to set things up for the procuring of their redemption and their righteousness that would, once and for all, satisfy and do away the ceremonial law with its temple sacrifices and daily requirements.
Because they did not really understand all that had been lost and what had happened in the Fall, or the critical nature of the demands death had placed upon their souls because of sin, they were easily deceived into thinking they could get back what had been lost by simply being good. In their ignorance of God’s plan of salvation they sought to establish their own salvation by earning their own righteousness through the keeping of the Law. That deception of works or its sister lie, grace plus good works will get you into heaven, are both still pervasive in the church today. Works or grace plus works present some of the strongest opposition to gifts of God, grace, (Eph. 2:8-10), love, (Gal. 5:14), liberty,(Gal. 5:1) miracles and healings , (Gal. 3:5), and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the same false doctrine Paul cries out against in Galations1:6 where he says, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” Here he identified the true gospel as one of “grace”. He goes on to say “But even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel”, then the one I have delivered to you, let him be accursed!!!
God had originally given the Law for two reasons. It was given as a temporary mark of distinction and means of conduct to set His people apart from the heathen. Idolatry and permeated the earth. Idol worshippers snared in the web of Satan had followed him in his cunningly crafted counterfeits and seductive suggestions since the first act of deception and rebellion initiated in the Garden. Thus the need for there to be a distinction, a difference made between the followers of Satan and the seed of Abraham. Obedience to the Law allowed the people to exercise their free will to follow God while at the same time the commandments provided them a way to demonstrate their faith in the promises of God. Their obedience to God is what separated God’s people from the Devil’s and allowed God to defend the children of Israel against Satan’s relentless accusations.
The second purpose for the Law was as a keeper of the peace until Jesus could be brought forth to finish the sacrifice demanded by sin and death. The Law was like the womb used to bring forth the child. Though the womb is good, it is not the child, nor is it the desired end for which one labors. When we come to Jesus, Jesus becomes our righteousness. The Law was never meant to provide a means for earning or obtaining salvation or righteousness apart from the shedding of Blood any more than God intends the womb to be the child. The Atonement made by the Lamb of God provided for us by The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was God’s only means of rescue and redemption.
If God would have allowed two methods of salvation, works with its strict adherence to the Law, and the Cross, one of them would have been unnecessary. As He tells us through Paul, they would have canceled each other out. “And if by grace, then it is no longer works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace, otherwise work is no longer work.” (Rom. 11:6) If God would have allowed the Law to be used as a means of salvation, Christ’s death would have been in vain, (Gal.2:16) and He would have insulted His Own Son for the sacrifices of love and life He made in dying as our substitute. (See Gal. 2:16)
The Enemy, however, has taken great advantage of the Law. By confusing its original purpose with our innate desire and desire to be good he had used the keeping of the Law to persuade many good intentioned folks living in Israel at the time, to continue to use the keeping of the Law to establish their own righteousness and earn salvation through works. This makes God a debtor and a boss, obligated to pay the laborers their wages. Salvation then loses its merit as a “gift” given to those who receive it by faith – faith in the promises of God.
Freedom from the binding demands made on us by sin, (the wages of sin is death), could not be bought or earned with good deeds, no matter how perfect the Law was or how hard we tried to keep it. The Devil, however, continues to confuse the issues of grace and good works to give a lot of zealous, mis-taught seekers, false information on how to get out of the forest of sin and bondage they are lost in by giving them an ax and telling them it is up to them to resolve the issue of their lost-ness by getting rid of all the trees.
Ephesians 2:4-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
For the unbelievers, those who have not yet surrendered their works to receive the gift of God’s grace, the Law is still in effect as a mirror to show them the spot on their souls, though, like any mirror, it cannot wash away that spot. Only the Word of God cleanses us through the “washing of the water of the Word” (Eph. 5:26). The Law still presents the unattainable standard of righteousness that is not obtainable through human effort including self-will, self-discipline, self-ascending, or trying harder to do the right thing. It did not work for Cain bringing a fruit basket in place of the blood of the Lamb, and it will not work now.
For the lawless, the Law still remains, as a necessary standard of righteousness through which sin is defined. Much like the speed limit signs defines the acceptable limits in driving speeds, the Law continues to carry the standards for behavior and conduct for the lawless ones who have not yet surrendered to the grace of God and had His laws rewritten in their hearts as love.
For many of us set free by the love of God and His Grace, the revelation of the Gospel of Grace is twisted by the serpent to be seen as cheap, and a loop hole to keep sinning. God’s grace is not cheap!! “Grace is the ability of God to overcome sin Himself.” (Dr. Michael Lake, radio interview, June 9, 2015, Rescue Radio with Marjorie Cole)