Tuesday: The Law and the Gospel

Though many understand that the Ten Commandments remain binding in the lives of Christians, the role that they play in the plan of salvation can get confusing.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

If we’re not saved by the keeping of the law, then what is its purpose?

How do the following texts help us to understand the role of the law in the lives of those who are saved by grace?

Rom. 3:19-20 

Ps. 119:5-6

Rom. 7:7

The law was never designed to be a means of salvation. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, the law creates in the sinner a need for the grace (gospel) of Christ. By pointing out what is right, what is good, what is true, those who fall short of that standard (which is all of us) realize our need of salvation. In this sense the law points us to the need for the gospel, the need of grace. This grace comes to us through Jesus. The function of the law, even in the Old Testament, was to show us our need of salvation; it was never a means of providing that salvation.

“To ask whether the law can bring salvation is to ask the wrong question as far as Scripture is concerned – in both the Old and New Testaments! Never does either Testament affirm, imply, or even hint that this might ever have been the case…

“It is a further error to argue that the writer of Hebrews (10:1-4) corrected the law, as if it had taught that ‘the blood of bulls and goats [could] take away sins.’… The sacrifices were pictures, types, and models of the one perfect sacrifice that was to come.” – Walter C. Kaiser, Five Views on Law and Gospel (Mich.: Zondervan, 1993), pp. 394, 395.

Look around at what violation of God’s law has done to humanity. How has your own life been impacted by the violation of God’s law? What does your answer tell you about just how relevant the law remains?

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