What is 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. God’s law is the standard of right, and whatever fails to obey the law is sin, for sin is lawlessness or disobedience to law (1 John 3:4). The more one becomes familiar with the standard, the more he sees his sins (Rom. 7:24). This knowledge brings him to Christ (Gal. 3:24) for forgiveness and cleansing. The law 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 laws of OT ended with Christ. But Paul explains, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid” (Rom. 3:31). Jesus came to this earth to magnify the law (Isa. 42:21; Matt. 5:17) and to reveal by His life of perfect obedience that a Christian can, through the enabling grace of God, to obey His law. The plan of justification by faith shows God’s respect for His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith abolishes law, 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.

Thus, the function of law is to convict of sin (v. 20) and to reveal the high standard of goodness. Thus, the law leads a sinner to the Savior (Gal. 3:24). Then, trust and love bring forth a new obedience to God’s law, the obedience that comes from faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26) and is motivated by love (Romans 13:8, 10).

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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