31 July 2008

Purpose of the Law: the NT – 1.3.08

We mentioned last time that the law points to Jesus Christ by way of typology – the lambs, the offerings, the high priest, the tabernacle, etc. all represent the Lord Jesus Christ in some way or another. The second way in which the law serves as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ is to show us our need for the salvation He offers – that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

Over and over again, the New Testament states that the purpose of the law is to define sin, and in so doing to point us to the only one who can wash those sins away. Consider the following statements:

  • Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).
  • That every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).
  • For by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
  • Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound (Romans 5:20).
  • I had not known sin but by the law (Romans 7:7).
  • I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died (Romans 7:9).
  • Sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful (Romans 7:13).
  • The strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).

With this in mind, let's take a look at two passages.

We began this study with a quotation from 1 Timothy 1:8. But we know hat the law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Verse 9 says, Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane…Then verse 15, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…

So what is the lawful use of the law? It is to show a man his sin. What is the purpose of the law? It is to bring that man to the Savior.

Now, read Titus 3:3-4. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

Notice the order in which the Holy Spirit arranges these verses. Verse 3 describes a man's sinful condition. Verse 4 follows with the appearance of the love of God. The point is this: a man who does not understand the fact that he is condemned before God as a sinner is not ready for the message of God's love. The gospel message becomes meaningful and effectual when a man understands that God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Let me illustrate it this way. If I go down to Orlando or Daytona or DeLand on a Friday or Saturday night, and I stand outside the bar, and I hug everyone who comes out and tell those people, "God loves you, God loves you," they are more than likely to agree with my statement. And from that statement they will conclude (1) if God loves me, then I must be okay, don't judge me, and (2) if God loves me, then He wouldn't send me to hell…both of which conclusions are obviously incorrect.

However, if a man comes out of that bar and believes the preaching he hears about the wages of his sin, he is ready to receive the Christ that died for him and rose again. So when you are giving the gospel message, be sure to emphasize the reason that Christ died – for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).

Aren't you glad that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20)!

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