Christ, the Law, and Christianity
Sin is the transgression of God’s holy law (1 Jn 3:4). God’s holy law is revealed to humanity, that we might see and know God’s perfect, immutable character. God is holy. He is pure light. He is living water. He is indestructible life. He is unchanging truth. His reign is supreme. His rule is righteous. His law is eternal and unfailing.
Christ Jesus is the holy one of Israel. If sin is transgression, then holiness is conformity to God’s law. The sinless Lamb of God is the holy one of God. Thus, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. This does not mean Christ put away the law, so that humanity could frolic in lawlessness before God and with gratitude to Christ. May it never be! It means Christ attained perfect obedience to the law, and by His merits, He is called, “the Righteous One,” and “the Lord our Righteousness.”
In fulfilling the law of righteousness, He alone has secured a right position before God the Father, the righteous Judge. The standard of God’s law was liberally interpreted by the Pharisees, so much so, that we have the Sermon on the Mount to show us Jesus’ superior and far more strict interpretation (Mt 5–7). The result of His interpretation should leave us terrified…who can stand? Answer: No one, except Christ. He was made under the law (Gal 4:4), and it was this law that He kept flawlessly. He alone has right standing before God by merit, while Christians have right standing before God, in Him, by His grace.
Instead of God abrogating the law because man protested its seemingly impossible harshness, Christ gave great honor to God’s law by meticulously keeping it. Satan deceives men into thinking Christ removed the law for them. Rather, Christ exalted the law in their presence, and then cursed Himself with it. He endured God’s judgment in His body on the tree, so to endure, and at the same time propitiate God’s just wrath, directed against those Christ loved (the church).
The failure of the law to produce holiness in people is not because the law has failed to fulfill its purpose. The law has showed man the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin in humanity. The law was never revealed to be the savior of mankind. It has not failed in any way. All are guilty before God, condemned for breach of the law. Religion says, “try harder and maybe God will be lenient or turn a blind eye.” Religion is a lie, from the father of lies (Jn 8:44).
It is the law that bears witness against all people. The death penalty is demanded. Christ died, enduring the penalty of the law, for many but not all. The law was satisfied with Christ’s perfect, sinless life. It was equally satisfied with His sacrificial death, as a substitute for His beloved church (Eph 5:25).
Christians, therefore, bear witness of the law being holy, just, and good. We also bear witness to our failure to keep the law unto righteousness. Further, Christians, filled with the Spirit of Christ, bear witness of the person and work of our Savior, who did everything required of the law of God, to secure our right standing and our state of holiness, demonstrated by the living and working presence of His Holy Spirit in us. We are saints, not because of our nature, but because of His nature now working in us. It is all of His grace and none of our works.
The Holy Spirit, causes Christians to walk in God’s statutes (Ezek 36:27), having written the law upon our hearts (Heb 8:10; 10:16). The Legalist spurs the Christian on to rules, demanding obedience and issuing punishments for non-compliance. The Antinomian thanks God for the removal of the law. The Christian often walks in confusion because of these false voices.
Christian, be encouraged. Your sanctification, that is, your being brought into an improved position for you to love God and love your neighbor, is being worked by God’s Holy Spirit, given to you as a gift, to accomplish God’s will for your life, which is that you would be conformed to the image of His Son, the perfect law keeper. Relax. Rest. Trust. Believe. He will do it. He promised (Phil 1:6).
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 7, 2021