What does it mean that Christ is the end of the law?


“Christ is the End of the Law”

Some teach that in the New Testament, the law is no longer binding on the believers and they quote the following verse as a support to their teaching: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). What does the phrase “Christ is the end of the law” mean?

This verse simply means that Christ is the end of the law as a means of attaining salvation (Romans 6:14). The apostle Paul is contrasting God’s plan of righteousness by faith with man’s effort at righteousness by law. Romans 10:4 does not mean that righteousness was gained by law in Old Testament times and that with the coming of Christ faith has been substituted for law as the way of getting justification.

The truth is that since the fall of Adam, the Lord has given only one path by which people may be saved, that is, by faith in the atoning blood of the Savior (Genesis 3:15; 4:3–5; Hebrews 11:4; Romans 4). God’s plan in teaching His laws to Israel was to show them their sins (Romans 3:20) and their need of a Redeemer (Galatians 3:24).

But the Jews had twisted God’s plan and had used the laws, both moral and ceremonial, as the way of obtaining righteousness by their efforts at formal obedience. So, the Messiah came to correct this wrong understanding of the law and end it and instead lead people to faith. This kind of faith does not annul the law but rather establishes it.

Apparently realizing that these verses could lead to the wrong idea that faith abolishes the law, Paul taught, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law (Romans 3:31). Jesus came to this earth to uplift the law (Isaiah 42:21) and to reveal by His life of perfect obedience that believers should do the same.

Jesus Himself affirmed, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one [b]jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17,18).

The Purpose of the law

The law serves only as a mirror to show sin in the life (Romans 7:7,8). It is not the function of law to pardon sinners and restore them to obedience to the law. For it can only reveal sin and righteousness and command obedience (Romans 3:20; 7:7). The law can point out the right way, but it cannot help the wicked to abide by it. Only God can do the work of restoration and change (Philippians 4:13).

The law has always been a revelation of the unchanged will and character of God. God did not give His Son in order to change or abolish His law, or to free men from the obligation of obedience. That would be contrary to His will. God sent His Son in human flesh, so that people might be empowered fully to keep its righteous requirements.

God’s Power to Obey

Sinners have been unable to keep its requirements, and the law had no power to help them obey. But thanks be to God who sent His Son to make it possible for men to give full obedience. Paul wrote, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,  that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3- 4).

God requires perfection of His children (Matthew 5:48), and the perfect life of Christ in His humanity is God’s assurance to us that by His power we too may seek for perfection of character (Philippians 4:13). For “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Thus, the Lord promises full transformation and perfect obedience to all that seek His help (Matthew 5:48; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Colossians 1:28).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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