CHRIST, THE END OF THE LAW Lesson 7 for May 17, 2014
FROM TRANSGRESSION TO JUSTIFICATION “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (Romans 5:14) In Romans 5:12-21, Paul states that sin and death infected humankind through Adam. In the same way, justification and life were made available through Christ to everyone who wants to accept them.
FROM JUSTIFICATION TO THE LAW “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15) In Paul’s writings, being “under the law” stands for having sinned and being under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10, 13) On the other hand, being “under the grace” means that we have been forgiven for our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Are we free from keeping the law because our sins are forgiven? Are we then allowed to sin again? “Certainly not!” Romans 6:20 NIV. When you were slaves to sinyou were free from the control of righteousness. Romans 6:18 NIV. You have been set free from sinand have become slaves to righteousness. Law and grace are not opposites. We are slaves; the Law exposes our master. Grace sets us free from sin.
FROM JUSTIFICATION TO THE LAW “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22) “The condescension and agony of God’s dear Son were not endured to purchase for man liberty to transgress the Father’s law and yet sit down with Christ in His throne. It was that through His merits and the exercise of repentance and faith the most guilty sinner might receive pardon and obtain strength to live a life of obedience. The sinner is not saved in his sins, but from his sins.” EGW (Faith and works, cp. 2, pg. 31)
THE LAW AND THE CONFLICT IN CHRISTIAN LIFE “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) Are there two laws in conflict? What is the law of God? What is the law of sin? Transgressing the law brings frustration. Nevertheless, we learn from Romans 7 that those who feel helpless to fulfill the law don’t despair. The Law is a constant reminder of freedom from condemnation for those who live in the Spirit. Only Jesus Christ sets them free.
“By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. Many realize their helplessness; they are longing for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God, and are striving to obtain it. But in vain. In despair they cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24, margin). Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, “Wilt thou be made whole?” He bids you arise in health and peace.” EGW (Lift Him up, March 14)
FROM THE LAW TO CHRIST “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4) The Greek word for “end"—télos,may be translated in different ways: Christ is the ending of the law. Christ is the goal or purpose of the law (Galatians 3:24) Christ is the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17) Christ is the ending of the law as a means for salvation (Romans 6:14) Christ doesn’t forgive our sins by repealing the law—as we studied that in the previous lesson. Therefore, we must dismiss the first meaning of “end”. The other possible meanings for “end” can help us in understanding how is the Law related to Christ.
FROM THE LAW TO CHRIST paidagogós “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3: 24) The word tutor (paidagogós) was used for slaves who took care of the master’s children. They were not teachers (didáskalos); they just took care of children since they were 6 until they became an adult. They had to protect them, look after them, teach them moral virtues and take care of all their needs. On the other hand, they had to correct them and to punish them as necessary.
FROM THE LAW TO CHRIST “I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.” EGW (Selected Messages, vol. 1, cp. 31, pg. 233) The law is responsible for two main tasks, just like the old tutors were. It must point out our sin and instruct us. Then, it must scold us and condemn us as sinners. So the moral code points out our sin, scolds us and condemns us. The ceremonial law instructs us and leads us to repentance before God. Then, the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ brings us forgiveness and peace.
“There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to transgress, and become loyal and true. As the sinner looks into the great moral looking glass, he sees his defects of character. He sees himself just as he is, spotted, defiled, and condemned. But he knows that the law cannot in any way remove the guilt or pardon the transgressor. He must go farther than this. The law is but the schoolmaster to bring him to Christ. He must look to his sin-bearing Saviour. And as Christ is revealed to him upon the cross of Calvary, dying beneath the weight of the sins of the whole world, the Holy Spirit shows him the attitude of God to all who repent of their transgressions. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)” EGW (Selected Messages, vol. 1, cp. 26, pg. 213)