The Law


  • [Rom 10:4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
  • [Gal 3:13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:
  • [Gal 2:19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
  • [Gal 2:21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
  • [Rom 8:2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
  • [Rom 7:6] But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
  • [Rom 7:9-10] For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
  • [Gal 2:16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
  • [Gal 3:10] For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
  • [Gal 3:24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The cross of Jesus Christ has separated believers once and for all from the law. J Hudson Taylor, the great founder of China Inland Mission, made an amazing statement regarding this verse: [Rom 7:4] ‘Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married [joined] to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God’.

The missionary claimed that our death to the law and union with the Lord Jesus is so profound that it ‘makes heaven and hell incidental’.   His fruitful life demonstrated it. Romans 7:4 not only confirms that believers are dead to the law, but gives the reason: that we may be married, or joined, to the Lord Jesus.  The normal result of the marriage union is children.  In the same way our union with the Lord Jesus is to bring forth spiritual fruit.

Many of the verses listed above refer to the uselessness of the law to bring about our justification. We must also realize that the law is powerless to enable one to live a sanctified life as well. [Gal 3:3] ‘Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?’ We are to live by the same way we received Christ Jesus the Lord (Col 2:6), by faith. H A Ironside, in his commentary on I Corinthians, said this:

    Paul continued, "The strength of sin is the law." Some people think that the law is the strength of holiness. They imagine that the way to be holy is to be under the law, and they try to obtain sanctification by keeping the law. But the law simply stirs up everything in the human heart that is opposed to God, and instead of producing holiness, it produces greater transgression. The law never produces holiness; it is the heart's being occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ that produces holiness. When you have seen that the law condemns, but that Christ has borne the condemnation for you, you can look away to Him; and as you are occupied with Him, you will be a holy man or woman. You cannot make yourself holy by obeying rules and regulations. Not even God's law given at Sinai has the ability to make men holy; but the living glorified Christ can change people into His image as their minds dwell on Him, and in that way they become holy.

There is nothing that incited the wrath of the Apostle like legalistic teachers. Listen to this scorching rhetoric: [Gal 1:6-9] ‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed’. And again: [Gal 5:11-12] ‘And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off [castrated] which trouble you’.

Why such an outburst against legalism? Living by the law is mutually exclusive with living by the Spirit of God, which is the only way that an authentic Christian life can be lived. [Gal 5:16] ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’  Before Paul learned to walk by the Spirit, he experienced a great struggle in trying to live according to the law and with his natural strength.

He records some of that struggle in Romans Seven: [Rom 7:23-25a] ‘But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’  

Paul then gives us the solution: [Rom 8:4] ‘That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. May the Lord help us all to acknowledge our death to the law -- not just the Mosaic law, but legalism in any of its insidious forms -- and to walk by the Holy Spirit. For further study, see this article on the Believer’s Rule of Life.

    Free from the law -- O happy condition!
    Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
    Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
    Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

                                     Philip P Bliss

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