As we continue to look at the Gospel, we now turn to the purpose of the Law. As inherently sinful people how can we ever overcome our personal sin, and how can we overcome the problems of human society? The next component in the Gospel is the Law.
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? James 4:11-12
Where does Law originate? The only true basis of Law is by revelation from God. God alone declares something to be good and lawful, and God alone declares something to be evil and unlawful. He alone gives Law. All human law must be based upon His revealed will. His Law teaches us His character and will.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. 1 Timothy 1:8-11
What is the purpose of Law? Law only serves to expose guilt. Law cannot change man’s nature. Law cannot make men good. It can only expose that man is not good.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:19-25
The Law is intended to expose men’s guilt and drive them to the Savior.
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:6
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Romans 13:1-5
God ordained human government to enforce His Law. Law is used to avert the wrath of God by restraining men from evil.
In summary, Law is not given to change men’s nature. Law is only given for three reasons:
- Reveal the will and character of God.
- Expose men’s guilt, sinful nature, and need of a Savior
- Restrain men from evil