“Christ Is The End Of The Law”
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:4-9
It’s been so much fun reading through Romans this time. Of course, it’s been great previous times. However, getting to know Paul and his mindset from the Hebraic/Messianic perspective has made so much of this book fall into place like never before.
Years ago I came across a wonderful note on Romans 10 in the Bible Knowledge Commentary of The New Testament. It is an exposition of the Scriptures by the Dallas Theological Seminary Faculty. I’ve had this commentary since 8/30/1987. It was a gift for my Installation as Pastor of my church.
When I first read this note after coming into the Hebraic mindset, I was floored. I wasn’t really sure I was reading what I thought it was saying. But after much reflection, I do think it is saying what I think it is saying. I guess if a broken clock can be correct twice a day then commentaries can get things right every now-and-then too.
Here’s what the note says. PLEASE take the time to read it. It’s worth it.
“The word translated “end” (telos) stands in the emphatic first position in the Greek sentence. It means that Christ is the designed end (termination) or Purpose-Goal of the Law (cf. Gal. 3:24), the Object to which the Law pointed.
“The Law did not and could not of itself provide righteousness before God for individuals (cf. Rom. 3:20; 7:70). But Christ fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17-18) by keeping it perfectly during His sinless life (cf. John 8:46) and then gave His life in payment for the penalty of sin and the broken Law (cf. Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:13-14). The Law then pointed to Him as the Source of the God-provided righteousness it could not supply (Gal. 3:24).
“A godly Jew who trusted Yahweh and followed the Levitical system, including the sin offering and the trespass offering, would most likely be inclined to respond to Christ by faith and would receive God’s righteousness (i.e., be justified; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:24; 4:3, 5). He then could meet the requirements of the Law by the indwelling Holy Spirit (8:4).
“Conversely, a Jew who sought by works to establish his own righteousness would not recognize Christ as “the end of the Law” and would stumble over Him.
“Paul also quoted Moses in support of his righteousness-by-faith position centered in Christ as “the end of the Law” and the means by which righteousness is available for everyone who believes.
“It does not seem appropriate that Paul was merely borrowing Moses’ words and applying them to something foreign in Moses’ thought. This suggests, then, that RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH is not a new concept, but had been proclaimed to Israel by Moses.”
I think that is an awesome note.
What baffles my mind is how someone can write this and not take it to the logical “end.” This is the sort of thing that added to my confusion about whether Christ did, or did not, do away with the Law.
It seems most Christian commentators ultimately teach something akin to the following:
Christ came to do away with the Law while, at the same time, He was in the process of fulfilling it — thereby nullifying, or at least, diminishing it. Therefore since we are now under grace and no longer “under Law,” we are not required to practice those aspects still possible to adhere to.
At some point I came to realize that you can’t have it this way. Christ either did away with the Law or He didn’t. And if He didn’t do away with the Law, what then did He do with it and what are we supposed to do with it?
Here’s what I think …
I think we grow accustomed to thinking about subjects in the Bible in an abstract sort of way. We grab onto a loose cloud of an idea that creates a self-imposed haziness which blocks truths that lie within. I don’t know how else to explain the contradiction so many Christians have regarding the subject of Christ doing away with the Law.
To explain this discrepancy, what usually happens is the Law gets divided into sections. They are: Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral. It’s not within the range of this blog to ferret that out for you. Suffice it to say, any honest perusal of the OT/Law will show that it IS IMPOSSIBLE to divide up the Law in such a way.
Rather, here’s the basic truth. Those so called “divisions” of the Law are, in reality, all entwined. Pull on any thread within these and you have just what we have … a theologically tangled, self-inflicted confusing MESS.
And for me, I’ve determined that God is not the author of this sort of confusion. He is, in fact, the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and for all eternity. Therefore, the Bible is one unified Book from start to finish.
If you believe Jesus came to do away with the Law, please reread the above commentary note. It’s a good jumping off place.
I just wish they would actually follow, in the rest of the commentary, their own logic to the logical “end.” Sadly, they never do.