What does the verse “Christ is the end of the law” mean?


By BibleAsk Team

“Christ is the end of the law”

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”

Romans 10:4

This passage has been interpreted to mean that Christ is the termination of the law as a means of salvation (Romans 6:14). Paul is contrasting God’s way of righteousness by faith with man’s attempt at righteousness by law. The message of the gospel is that Christ is the end of law as a way of righteousness to everyone who has faith and is willing to surrender to God’s transforming grace.

This verse does not mean that righteousness in the Old Testament was obtained by law but in the New Testament, faith has substituted the law as the way of righteousness. For the Bible teaches clearly that since the fall of Adam, there has been only one way by which all men may be saved which is by faith in the Messiah and yielding to Him (Genesis 3:15; 4:3–5; Hebrews 11:4; Romans 4).

Christ Didn’t Abolish the Law

Jesus said, “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 jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17,18).

God did not offer His Son in order to abolish His law, or to free men from the necessity of perfect obedience. The law has always stood as an revelation of God’s unchangeable will and divine character (1 John 4:8; Romans 13:10).

God’s purpose in proclaiming His laws to Israel was to reveal to them their wickedness (Romans 3:20) and their need of a Redeemer (Galatians 3:24). But the Jews had corrupted God’s purpose and had used the laws, both moral and ceremonial, as the means of gaining their own righteousness by their own efforts at legalistic obedience. Christ came to correct this mistaken abuse of law and to lead the way back to faith and surrender.

Such faith does not abolish law but rather establishes it. Paul taught, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). The plan of righteousness by faith puts law in its proper standing. The purpose of law is to convict of sin (Romans 7:7) and to show the high standard of righteousness.

The sinner who is faced with the law sees his sin and wickedness. The law then directs him to Christ for cleansing and transformation (Galatians 3:24). Thus, faith and love produce in him a new obedience to the law of God, the obedience that springs from faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) and love (Romans 13:8, 10).

The Good News of the Gospel

The good news is that God enables the believer to obey the law by His strength. “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 8:4). God sent His Son in a human body, so that people might be empowered to keep fully the righteous demands of His holy law. Christ came to bring man’s life into harmony with the divine will. This is the ultimate purpose of the plan of salvation.

God requires perfection of His people. He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). And the perfect life of Christ in His humanity is God’s confirmation to us that by His power we too may obtain perfection of character. Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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