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Why The Law?

Would it not serve to be unfair in sending souls into the battlefield short of informing them of how to identify the enemy? For the Christian, all opposition derives itself from three foundations of source; self (old self), Satan and society. I also believe this accounting is in the proper order of priority.

Yes, “the enemy within” (old man) is the greatest danger, for not only is it where accountability is incurred but I’m convinced the other two enemies must enter through this passage (old self or sinful nature) to reach the saint. Regardless of the evil which God reveals in and to the believer concerning the sinful nature, we must always be mindful that “the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom 5:20). “That the offence might abound” or shows us to learn the depths of our sin source, in order to continue to learn the heights of God holiness. “Grace did much more abound” is where faith in Christ’s expiation is progressively tested, resulting only towards maturity.

Why The Law?

We might consider the question, “What is the proof of the law?” If God meant to give the inheritance by promise, why bring in the law? If you examine the dealings of God with His people in the early days, He promised them a blessing, and they took it without looking at themselves to see whether they deserved it or not. This unquestioning confidence is all very blessed; but it is not for a man’s good not to know what he is. It is of great moment that I should learn what my condition really is*.

Now the object of the law was to bring out the sinner’s true condition of soul; not at all to bring him into blessing, but to bring out the fearful ruin into which man had got by sin*. The law was not meant to be the rule of life; indeed, it is rather the rule of death (Gal 3:10 – NC). If a man had no such thing as sin, it might be the rule of life; but he being a sinner*, it is an absurd misnomer to call it the rule of life.

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgression” (Gal 3:19). It is not said, “because of sins.” God never would do anything to make one a sinner—but “it was added because of transgressions.” What’s the difference? Sin is in every child of Adam; sin was in man before the law, as much as after. When the whole world was corrupt—when all flesh became so violent that God was obliged to judge it by the flood, it is too clear that they were all sinners. After He gave the law to Israel, they were no longer merely sinners, but became transgressors (which would have been the same for any people, as evidenced by the world’s ways since Christ). Rebels against God’s authority, they became actual violators of His law*.

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners” (1Tim 1:9). Whoever was made righteous by the law? Is he an honest man who merely refrains from taking your watch for fear of being locked up? The only really honest person is he who has the fear of God before his eyes. The law has the effect of punishing those that break it, but it is not what makes a man honest even in a human sense, much less in the divine. Through the faith of Christ one becomes a new man, the possessor of a new life which is dependent and obedient, loving to do the will of the Father because He wishes it, and not merely through dread of going to hell*.

If you take the law as well as the Lord Jesus, you become at least half a Jew. Actually, you become a spiritual adulterer (Rom 7:1-4). We are called to look at the Lord Jesus, and Him only—He being the source of our life (Col 3:4; 2Cor 3:18). He is the one who creates, and fashions, and constitutes every particle of righteousness and life that the believer possess. So the apostle Paul prays that they might be more and more “filled with the fruits of righteousness.” The natural man would allow the need of the works of righteousness which are demanded by the law*; but he knows nothing of those “fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil 1:11). The law was the rule of death for the sinner; the Lord Jesus Christ is the rule of life for the saint.

“Wherefore then serveth the law?” The law “was added because of transgressions, till the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made”* (Gal 3:19). God was pleased to use this platform negatively for a time (Acts 17:30 - NC); but now the Seed is come, and the platform is gone concerning the Christian—the believer has died to it*. It is all-important for convicting the sinner, the standard of what a sinful man ought to do for God. But it is neither the reflection of God nor the pattern for the saints; the Lord Jesus is both, and He only.

- Wm Kelly

Poster’s Notes:

*”learn what my condition really is”: It’s not for the believer to only be aware of the indwelling sin nature (old man) but to own up to it while the Spirit of God opposes it in us, which is in accordance to our “yielding to God” (Gal 5:17; Rom 6:13, 19); which nature was manifested even prior to the “transgression” (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:14; 1Tim 2:14).

It is interesting to note the consistency of Scripture by seeing how Genesis 3:6 and 1John 2:16 directly collate:
“The woman saw that the tree was good for food” / “the lust of the flesh.”
“It was pleasant to the eyes” / “the lust of the eyes.”
“A tree to be desired to make one wise” / “the pride of life.”

*”got by sin”: since the law reveals the offence, “the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom 4:15). Learning the wrong incurs accountability, hence Christ’s statement, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” And, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin” (John 15:22, 24). I believe this is why many would rather not know the wrong they do, because “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life” (2Pet 2:21 NLT).

*”being a sinner”: the value of a work consists not in the doing as much as it does within its intent (Heb 4:12; Mat 12:35). Therefore the new nature (new man) by the Spirit of God is what causes believers to bring forth works always with good intention, which is more significant than the outcome of the work, which may not necessarily be correct due to the effect of the old nature.

*”violators of His law”: God’s revelation to Israel (who were a type-representative of mankind) concerning their guilt was too show their need for Him, through revealing not only their condemnation but also redemption from it.

*”dread of going to hell”: though many initially seek God to avoid hell, which is a show of belief in God and in His Word concerning hell, they eventually learn that it is, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom 2:4), and it is in His “goodness” that He teaches us His love! It’s obvious that those who do not seek God do not believe in hell, otherwise there would no doubt be a different outcome for most. One never stumbles onto truth, for it must be sought to be found (Mat 7:7), thus condemnation is “inexcusable” apart from Christ.

*”works of righteousness which are demanded by the law”: which are required by God, not to man but to Christ, which is manifest in His “propitiation,” and which can only be performed by One who is without a sin nature, thereby amplifying the strength of our faith in His atonement alone for receiving and retaining our salvation.

*”the believer has died to it”: how could one who was never under the law die to it? For the Gentile it refers to the moral law of God (Gen 2:16, 17), which all have always been under. The Gentiles were those “that are without law” e.g. Moses’ Law of God, but were never “without law to God” (1Cor 9:21) e.g. were always accountable to God for morality towards one another. Godliness traverses beyond morality, in that it is the conduct of man towards man, rather than conduct of man towards God.
I can under the reasons why people would think that the Eze/Jer prophecies would relate also to the Gentile believers, and I can understand why they relate solely to those of Israel blood posterity. I also realize the obscurity of Scriptures relating to this issue, but I believe God is gradually demonstrating His revelation in His Word concerning this very significant teaching.

I've been for a long time now attempting to biblically determine this issue without spiritualizing Israel to be the Church because I'm best convinced by Scripture confirmation, which for this issue supports mostly that the prophecies mentioned above are Jewish when taken as they read. I'll just share why my understanding is where it is by looking at a model that is apart from spiritualizing and that relates to the mandates of these prophecies.

"I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." If this covenant included Gentiles there's no sensible reason why they are never mentioned concerning this final covenant with Israel. Plus the covenant Jesus revealed, which is in His "Blood" clearly includes every believer, as revealed in the Gospels. Christ's Blood covenant is not with Israel nor the Gentiles, but with the Father, which is another obscure teaching in Scripture but nonetheless true. If it were a covenant between Jesus and man I believe He would plainly state it just as the prior and future covenant is stated. Hence, this prophetic new covenant of Israel has yet to occur.

"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers." Clear confirmation that their final covenant will be similar to the prior covenant, which include statues, ordinances and judgments, which are not related in the Blood covenant because it is not law-centric (Jer 31:33); and law (in the specific sense, i.e. ordinances etc,) and grace are separate systems (John 1:17).

Israel (those who believe in God, but not in Christ until they see Him when these prophecies will take place) will never cease to be a nation on this earth, nor in the new earth (Jer 31:36, 37). When these prophecies occur it will include at least most of the last surviving descendants of Israel.
I've been for a long time now attempting to biblically determine this issue without spiritualizing Israel to be the Church because I'm best convinced by Scripture confirmation,
"I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." If this covenant included Gentiles there's no sensible reason why they are never mentioned
Keep in mind the church of Corinth, this of course is a church of Gentiles, not Jews.

1 Cor 11:23; For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
1 Cor 11:24; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
1 Cor 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
1 Cor 11:26; For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
1 Cor 11:27; Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
1 Cor 11:28; But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1 Cor 11:29; For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

So here we see that Paul (who calls himself the apostle to the Gentiles a few places) in this letter to a Gentile
church, "I delivered to you" (you the Gentile members of the Church at Corinth) this new covenant.

2 Cor 3:4; Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
2 Cor 3:5; Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
2 Cor 3:6; who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

So again we see that the Gentiles at Corinth are "servants of a 'new covenant". Obviously this wasn't just for the Jews.
The thought about the "spirit" of the law, vs the "letter" of the law. Is that the law remained the same.
(i.e. the commandments God gave to Moses)
However, we no longer have to follow them perfectly 100% to the letter. Now there is grace.
We should still abide by the spirit of the law as best we can, but when we come short... grace covers the rest for us.

1 Cor 7:19; Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God

Why would Paul tell Gentiles that?
Keep in mind the church of Corinth, this of course is a church of Gentiles, not Jews.

1 Cor 7:19; Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God

Why would Paul tell Gentiles that?
There were also Jews in the church at Corinth but it was predominantly Gentiles.
Concerning the Jer/Eze prophecies, they unavoidably refer solely to Patriarchal descendants and their offspring, e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I believe the intention of God's persistence with these, esp. concerning Israel is to confirm the permanency of His words to the world through His union with Abraham and the lineage of his blood posterity.

It's my conception that God's confirmation of an unbreakable union with believers is the most important issue concerning His Word to us and our conscientious eternal security in Him, and this is well demonstrated in His union with His people whom He first used to reach the world.

Of course among those whom He has called within the nation of the last Patriarch (Israel), He chose only those whom He knew would be believers to be the soul representation of His people until Christ!
Faith "establishes" the Law (Rom 3:31) by showing works (of the Law) are not needed for justification, but "works" (not of the Law but in general) are for manifesting justification. Faith and the Law are separate entities, for "The law is not of faith," but is only of "doing" (Gal 3:12); and justification (to render righteousness - Rom 3:26; 8:33) is never effected by works, for works can only justify (to manifest righteousness - Jam 2:24) faith.

Notice the two different usages in the words "justification" or "justify." The Greek sense for the first is to render or effect righteousness, as in Christianity, to "impute" righteousness. The latter sense is to manifest ("bear," not produce - John 15:8) righteousness, not effect it.

Hence the closeness and confusion in the usages between these two passages:
Romans 3:28: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified (render) by faith without the deeds of the law

James 2:24: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified (manifest) and not by faith only."

Greek proof-usages: Genesis Chapter 1 (KJV)

"Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Gal 2:15 NLT).