WHAT REALLY WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW?


Bro. Hess has given a good presentation on the law

            Being the God who knows everything, is the same God that gave the Law as is recorded throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  So did the all-knowing (omniscient) God really think that it was possible for man to be able to keep the whole law without messing up at all?  If so, why would He give such a law that would condemn those who broke it to death, physically and spiritually?

            Look at what James wrote in James 2:8-11. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:9  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 

  So what does this tell us?  Any one infraction of the Law, regardless of whether one considers it a “small” infraction or not, it still pronounces us as guilty and therefore, we have missed God’s mark of perfection, which is what is called sin.  What are we told in Romans 6:23?  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

            So, in this respect, the Law worked against man in that it showed man what God considered as sin and therefore man is guilty if he breaks the law in any way.  Man has absolutely NO excuse for doing ANYTHING that God doesn’t want him to do.  The Law, that Paul wrote about in Colossians 2:14 is called “the handwriting of ordinances”.  What did he say about the law?  “.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;  So why did God give us a Law “that was against us and contrary to us”?

            Here is what Paul stated in Romans 7. In verse 7 Paul said that “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.   In his early years, Paul THOUGHT that what he was doing was right in the sight of God and that he was safe.  But when the law was revealed to him, it was by the law that he knew what God considered to be sin.  Now look at what he said in Romans 5:20.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

  The law exposed sin in such a way that it gave sin a broader perspective in the mind of man.  The Jews did not fully understand how big sin really was in God’s eyes.  They considered, as many do today, that there were “little” sins that didn’t carry as much weight as the “bigger” sins.  But in God’s eyes there are NO “little” sins or NO “big” sins.  Sin is sin.  So the law made it possible for man to see just how “BIG”  ALL sin was in the eyes of God.  And as such, sin of any kind had the overall penalty of death.  Therefore, the necessity of “GOD’S GRACE” became more important and necessary to a man.  We see these words when we read all of Romans 5:20-21. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 

            In Galatians 3:10 Paul wrote 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.”  In Galatians 2:16 we read, “ 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.  Then on to Galatians 2:21 where we read, “ I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  And what about what Paul wrote in Romans 3:20?  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.”  Isaiah 64:6 gives a message of no hope when it comes to what we can do of ourselves.  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” 

            So seeing what we have read in these references, what really WAS the purpose of the Law? 

                        (1)  As we saw in Romans 5:20 and 7:7 God gave the Law so that man would be able to see sin through the eyes of God.  Sin was “bigger” than man realized.

                        (2)  As we saw in Galatians 3:10; 2:16,21 ; and 3:20 the law was totally impossible to keep to the point of gaining righteousness in God’s eyes.

                        (3)  Isaiah’s message from God was that our best “good” doesn’t even come close to bringing us to God.

            But look at the beautiful information that Paul gives us in answer to the question, “What really was the purpose of the law?”.  In Galatians 3:23-25 we read these magnificent words. “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” 

Notice these words; “…kept under the law, …”we were imprisoned under the law.  Those words were followed by “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,”the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ.

            Man needed something to show him how helpless he was in being able to make it possible for him to come into the  proper relationship with God. The law was what God used to show man that he needed a MEDIATOR between himself and God.   Jesus Christ was that Mediator.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; ” (I Timothy 2:5).  Jesus was the One and only Way to the Father.  Jesus was the REAL truth in physical form to point man to the Father.  Jesus was the only one who could give man the spiritual, eternal life that was necessary to prepare man to meet and live with the Father.  No human being can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ.

            I hope and pray that this lesson has answered the question “What really was the purpose of the law?” for you.

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