Summary: It is amazing how many of “us” have a performance-based religion! There are many who believe that a right relationship with God can be attained through the performance of the law.
INTRODUCTION: It is amazing how many of “us” have a performance-based religion! There are many who believe that a right relationship with God can be attained through the performance of the law. Read Ex. 20:3-17; Deut. 5:6-21; Matt. 22:35-40.
God did not give the law so that people could become right with Him based upon lawful behavior. Neither is lawful behavior the way to remain right with God. A right relationship with God is a settled gift based on what God did through Christ. You can’t earn it.
Why then did God give the law?
I. TO CONVICT US OF OUR SINFULNESS
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the law. It is a manifestation of God’s perfect holiness. The problem is with us! The law points out how unholy we are. Study carefully Rom. 3:19-31. The law shows us how sorely we have missed the mark.
II. TO CONVINCE US OF OUR HELPLESSNESS
We are helpless creatures through our own efforts. See Rom 11:32. The word “bound”
there means consigned. It refers to being locked up as in a prison. God’s law was not given as a means to peace with God. Neither is it a challenge to live holy lives. It was given to show us that peace with God and holy lives are unattainable through self-effort. His law imprisons and defines us as persons who are in a state of missing the mark.
III. TO CHART US TO HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
He wants to bring us into a grace relationship with Himself on the basis of His work through Christ. Again see Rom. 11:32. He does for us what we cannot does for ourselves. He offers peace and reconciliation as a gift at His own expense. Once this is accomplished, the purpose of the law has been fulfilled. Look closely at Rom. 10:4.
Examine closely Gal. 3:23-25. See the words “put in charge.” It is “tutor” in the KJV. It can be translated teacher or schoolmaster. The Greek word is “paidagogos” or child disciplinarian. This is a reference to a person hired by parents to escort their children to school. When the child veered from the path, the tutor would hit the child with a long stick. The kids were literally driven to school. But once the child got to school the tutor’s job was over. The schoolmaster took over. The tutor’s job was to lead the child to the true place of learning.
The law acts this way. It acts as our tutor to drive us to Christ. As we stray, the law strikes us to remind us that we don’t measure up. It beats us back onto the right path.
Once we are in a relationship with Christ, the tutor is out of a job. We are no longer under the tutorship of the law. If one returns as a means to live the Christian life, one will feel tired and beaten-up or beaten-down. Trying harder is the incorrect response to spiritual rules and will result in either self-righteousness or more tiredness. The correct response is to rest again in the performance of Christ on the cross for life, and through His spirit for living.
CONCLUSION: In closing, look at Rom. 7:4. Note the word “fruit”. We only bear the fruit God produces. Many of us are trying to get people to bear fruit. How? By putting them back under the law, from which Christ died to free us.