The Function of the Law
The function of the law is to expose sin. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). It serves as a mirror that shows sin to man but cannot erase it. It is the standard of right, and whatever fails to obey the commands is sin, for sin is disobedience to God’s commands (1 John 3:4). The more one becomes familiar with the standard, the more he sees his sins (Romans 7:24). This knowledge brings him to Christ (Galatians 3:24) for forgiveness and cleansing. This standard of right and wrong has no power to justify.
Paul teaches, “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19). And the seed is Christ. Justification can be gained in only one way- through believing in Christ.
Some wrongly interpreted the above verse to mean that God’s commands in the Old Testament ended with Christ. But Paul explains, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid” (Romans 3:31). Jesus came to this earth to magnify His moral commands (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17) and to reveal by His life of perfect obedience that a Christian can, through the enabling grace of God, to obey them.
The plan of justification by faith shows God’s respect for His commands in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith abolishes His commands, then there was no need for the atoning death of Christ to release the sinner from his sins, and restore him to oneness with God.
Real faith, based on real love for the Redeemer will give the fruit of obedience. A Christian will only hate the sins that caused extreme suffering to the Savior. One of the main functions of the plan of salvation is that while the plan makes possible the sinner’s justification through faith, it also gives him a real new desire to obey and victory over sin.
Thus, the function of God’s moral commands is to convict of sin and to reveal the high standard of goodness. Thus, it lead a sinner to the Savior (Galatians 3:24). Then, trust and love bring forth a new obedience to His commands, the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) and is motivated by love (Romans 13:8, 10).
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In His service,