googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Why was the Law given?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why was the Law given?

A lot of Christians today struggle with the belief that we are not under the law but are under grace. While it is true that keeping the Law does not save us (Ephesians 2:8-9), we must remember that Jesus did not do away with the Law. It still continues and serves much the same purpose today as it did when God gave it to us.

There are at least 3 functions of the Law:

First, it helps us live lives that are happy, joyous, and successful (Joshua 1:8) while at the same time are pleasing to God. The Law isn’t a list of restrictions that stop us from “having fun.” Rather, it shows us the best way to live. The Psalmist said that he delights in the Law and without it he would perish in his affliction (Psalm 119:92). It’s been my experience that people who habitually live immoral lives tend to be miserable people.

Next, the Law is our judge. For the Christian, we are going to be judged for our rewards (1 Corinthians 3:11-13). The lost person will be judged by his works for salvation (Revelation 20:12). But how can God be a just Judge if He has not made known to us His standard? If I’m arrested and thrown into jail, I want to know what crime I’ve committed. If the judge just says, “We’ll I’m sending you to prison just because you’ve been ‘bad’” then he would be an unjust judge; he has not shown me how I’ve broken the law. The Law of God, then, is the standard by which we will be judged. When the Christian receives his reward, and the lost person receives his fates, they will know that God has dealt with them justly because they know what the standard was.

Finally, the Law shows us the need of a Savior. Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) If we do not see that we are sinners, then why would we believe we need a Savior? If you think about it, no one has kept ANY of the commandments (let alone all of them). If we stand before God in judgment, we would have no hope of salvation. But I will not stand before God alone; I have an advocate – Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). It is only by His works that I am made righteous. I lament for that person who will stand before God thinking he’s been “good” but has rejected the only One who was good.

So, concerning the Law, remember the words of Jesus, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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.” Matthew 5:17-18


Anonymous said...

Two questions regarding modern relevance of the Law - what did Jesus mean by "fulfilling" the Law with His arrival, and should we then still be practicing the Mosaic law as it has not been destroyed? Was Jesus referring to two separate "fulfillments" in Matt 5 (one where He "has come to fulfill," and the other when "heaven and earth pass") or are these both relating to a single event?

Fulfillments typically only refer to the completion of a covenant or prophecy, so I am interested in hearing your take on this.

I always enjoy reading your articles.

RKBentley said...

Thanks for visiting. Wow, I haven't read this post in a while. Did you notice that I posted this almost 9 years ago? I'm glad to see that even some of my older posts are still being read.

I wrote the following in a more recent post but it directly applies to your question. I'm just going to cut and paste it here:

“Jesus came to fulfill the law. He said this overtly in Matthew 5:17,Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. But what does it mean to “fulfill” the law? He accomplished this in several ways. A Savior was necessitated by Adam's sin in the garden. When Adam fell, he brought death into the world and death has passed on to all men because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). But even as God judged with the Curse, He also promised a Redeemer, the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). Jesus fulfilled that promise.

“When Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked (Genesis 3:7). They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves but God killed an animal and made skins to cover their nakedness. This is the first recorded death in the Bible and ushered in an era of sacrifices where the followers of God would sacrifice animals as a covering for their sins. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. But the system of sacrifices proscribed in the Old Testament was only temporary; they were pictures of the ultimate sacrifice that would come: Jesus, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The death of Jesus did away with the need for animal sacrifices. He fulfilled the Law by covering our sins permanently with His own blood.”

Thanks so much for visiting and for your comments. God bless!!