Some thoughts on “Christ Is the End of the Law”


“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”

— Romans 10:4

Romans 10:4 reads, “For Christ is the end [G5056 τέλος te’-los] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Regrettably, most translators render the Greek word telos simply as “end” instead of giving Paul’s intended meaning of that word in this context.

Reasoning incorrectly that faith makes the law void, many have adopted an illogical assumption that Paul plainly rejected in Romans 3:31. This passage reads: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

Before any effort is made to determine what Paul meant by “end of the law,” Let’s take a simple example:

Someone might ask a college student, “To what end are you attending college?” The word “end” in that context would refer to the “objective” or “goal” the student has in mind. Receiving a degree and thus getting a good job would entail the “end result” or the “purpose” of his college years of learning.

The Greek word telos, translated “end” in Romans 10:4, can convey variations in meaning, including “the aim or purpose of a thing” ( Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “End, Ending”). This is very clear in the New King James Version’s rendering of 1 Timothy 1:5, where telos is properly translated as purpose in the clause “the purpose of the commandment is love.” In this same verse the NRSV translates telos as “aim” and the NIV renders it as “goal.”

Thus, Paul is using telos in Romans 10:4 to convey that the objective or goal of the law—the “aim or purpose” of it—is to point us to Jesus Christ.

It is altogether too common, even amongst faithful Christians, that the topic of God’s law in relation to faith and grace draws many conflicting ideas and for good reason. After all, there are many passages in scripture that seemingly support both sides of the debate:

In Ephesians Chapter 2: 8-9, Paul writes to the church of Ephesus and states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Galatians 2:16 (KJV) “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 5:4 also reads, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

Again in Gal 3:11 “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:28 (KJV) “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Again and again we read in the scriptures, the phrase, “not by the works of the law” but by faith that we are justified or made right with God. Unfortunately, many Christians erroneously have taken these passages to mean that the law is no longer binding to a Christian for they say, “we are no longer under the law”. Consequently, many are falsely led to believe that obedience nor disobedience do not in the least have any bearing on their eternal destiny.

By contrast, let’s compare the passages thus far with a familiar exchange between Jesus and the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.

Starting with verse 16, The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and asks, “. . . Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

In verse 17, Jesus emphatically responds by saying,

“Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Is Jesus contradicting Paul by telling this young ruler that in order to inherit eternal life he must keep the commandments of God and that works and obedience actually do have a bearing on salvation?

How about Paul’s own writing to the Romans in Rom 2:13 which states,

“For not the hearers of the law are justified before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

Is Paul speaking out of both sides of his mouth? Because, if you recall, it was the same Paul who also said, “not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

In general, most Seventh-day Adventists, do accept the claims of the moral law and are committed to keeping the commandments. Adventists believe that this is an essential part of our faith, particularly the 4th commandment. We quote such scripture like the one in Rom 3:31(KJV), “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” How about, Matthew 5:17-19, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

But as much as we defend the law and emphasize the importance of obedience, I am not so sure if some of us fair any better as to really understand the relationship between the law and faith/grace.

The Bible does say that we are SAVED BY GOD’S GRACE THROUGH FAITH (Eph 2:8,9) but it also strongly warns us that we will be JUDGED ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.

For example, In Matt. 16:27, we read,

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”

also in 2 Corinthians 5:10, it is stated,

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Again in 1Corinthians 6: 9-10, Paul writes,

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? BE NOT DECEIVED: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

How about Revelation 20:12,

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead WERE JUDGED out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.


1 Pet 1:17, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons JUDGETH ACCORDING TO EVERY MAN’S WORK, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” (Compare Psalms 62.12, Prov 11:31, Prov 24.1, 1Cor 3:8, 1Cor 4:5, Colossians 3:25)

These verses clearly indicate that God will judge us according to our works and that our “works” do matter in the judgment and Paul specifically warns us NOT TO BE DECEIVED and states very plainly that those who DO unrighteous works-works that are contrary to God’s moral law will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

So, how do we reconcile these seemingly contradicting passages? On the one hand, we are told that our justification or our salvation does not rest on our works but at the same time we are also told that we will be judged according to our very works.

Let’s examine just how God’s law may find its proper place and meaning along side grace and faith.

And for the purpose of our discussion, when we are referring to the law we are referring primarily to God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments and secondarily, to the ceremonial law which deals with the sanctuary and the sacrificial systems.

And of course, we are also reminded that Jesus magnified the moral law by showing us the spiritual principles behind the law in that the claims of the law are not just limited to the external conduct but extend to the condition of the heart. (Matt 22:37-40-love; Sermon on the Mount: 5:21-22-kill; 5:27-28-adultery)

But first, Let’s turn our attention to 1 Timothy 1:8-9 (NKJV):

“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 person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, . . .” 1 Timothy 1:8-9 (NKJV)

In Paul’s writing to Timothy, Paul says that the “law is good, if a man use it lawfully”. He is also implying here that if the law is not used lawfully or properly, it is not a good thing. And Paul also adds that the law is not made for a righteous person but for the lawless and for sinners.

But what does it mean to “use the law lawfully”?

Well, let’s first understand how the “law” was generally understood by the Jews:

  1. In general, Jews saw the “moral law” as a set of external behaviors only and saw obedience as meritorious.

  2. Jews saw the “ceremonial law” and its ritual as a MEANS of obtaining righteousness-”a remedy.”

  3. Hence, if you break the “moral law”, you go through the rituals of the “ceremonial law” (killing of the innocent animal) as the remedy.

  4. Problem with this system was that it did not take care of the root of the problem, which is the depraved condition of the person’s heart. This system did nothing to change the heart!

For the Jews, God gave them the ceremonial law along with the moral law to teach them that to remedy their sins (violation of the moral law), they must kill. God wanted them to understand that death and shedding of blood was what was required (“And by the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Heb 9:22), as a just recompense for their sins but the killing of an animal had no virtue in it of itself; but this of course was only a type that looked forward to the Real Sacrifice.

While the moral law helped them to recognize their sins, in order to have their sins forgiven and be cleansed, they were required to bring a substitutionary offering-an innocent blood needed to be shed on their behalf-sacrificial animal must receive the punishment that the sinners deserved.

We can conclude here that God forgave them on the basis of people’s faithfulness in following the instructions of the given provision, not that the blood of animals actually had any virtue in it of themselves. The killing of an animal served as a TYPE; an object lesson of what only Christ would be able to do for man, in that, only His death and blood can truly take away our sin and guilt and the sinner be made right before God.

For many, obedience was nothing more than a formal, outward observance of the letter of the law. The ceremonies of the killing of the animals, was merely an additional “works” (a superficial remedy) to achieve that end. Thus, for the Jews, the law (both the moral and ceremonial law) was the MEANS of obtaining righteousness (right standing with God); The Jews did not realize the deeper problem of sin which required a new birth, the renewing of the mind/heart which can only come from Jesus.

Hebrews 7:19 “FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

Hebrews 9:9 “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, THAT COULD NOT MAKE HIM THAT DID THE SERVICE PERFECT, AS PERTAINING TO THE CONSCIENCE;”

Hebrews 10:11 “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, WHICH CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS:”

By the way, this is no different than many Christians who have not experienced the true deliverance from sin and are habitually going through the cycle of sinning and the subsequent “formal ritual” of confession in asking for forgiveness but not having the life of Christ to actually overcome sin and thereby “crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (He 6:6)

Then, how do we use the law lawfully, in other wards, what is the purpose (end) of the law?

In Rom 3:19 Paul writes,

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Not only are we incapable of obeying the law (without Christ) but we are already guilty and condemned before God; “For all have sinned, and come short of God’s glory.” (Rom 3:23) Furthermore we are all born with sinful nature, disconnected from God and therefore the inevitable result is “to bring forth fruit unto death”(Rom 7:5). This is the unfortunate, innate predicament of all humanity.

The greatest efforts of one “under the law, still in the flesh”, under the power of corrupt principles, cannot set the heart right with regards to the love of God, overcome worldly lusts, or give truth and sincerity in the inward parts. In other wards, If you are disconnected in nature from God, then even if you perform actions that are in harmony with the LETTER of the Law, you are still not righteous. They are not actuated by a changed heart, nature, attitude, etc.

So let’s quickly review thus far. The Bible says that the law is made for sinners. And we also learned that all of us have sinned and are guilty which makes us all sinners. And because we are all sinners, we can conclude, according to 1Timothy 1:8-9, that the law is made for all of us.

And if God made the law for us, then there has to be a good reason . . . right? 

“The Law is the knowledge of sin”

So, Let us turn to Rom 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, FOR BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.”

Rom 7:7 further states, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I HAD NOT KNOWN SIN, BUT BY THE LAW: FOR I HAD NOT KNOWN LUST, EXCEPT THE LAW HAD SAID, THOU SHALT NOT COVET.”

Notice, Paul did not say he did not know sin until he encountered Christ. It was the law that convicted him of what sin is. Nowhere did Paul play down the law in order to lift up Christ. He hoisted the law as high as human words could do so yet presented the grace of God in Christ as greater. To play down the law is to denigrate (lessen) the necessity of Christ giving His life to pay the penalty for sin. To me, those who negate the law are ‘lessening’ what sin is.

Also in Rom 7:13 we read, “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; THAT SIN BY THE COMMANDMENT MIGHT BECOME EXCEEDING SINFUL.”

James 1:23-24(ESV) “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”

Thus the primary function of the law is to help us recognize what sin is. Not unlike looking into a mirror, we see our imperfections, our conditions, by looking into the law.

But what else? Well, it gets worst.

Again, Paul tells us in Rom 6:23(KJV) that “the wages of sin is death”.

So let’s kind of bring all the thoughts together thus far. We learned that the law was made for the sinners. And the “purpose” therefore of the law is to make us recognize what sin is and to tell us how sinful we really are. And furthermore the Scripture tells us that we are all guilty of breaking this law and that there is a dreadful penalty for each sinner, which is eternal death. So why did God gave us this law to basically tell us that we are doomed and hopeless?

Behold the Lamb of God

Let us turn to Gal 3:24(NKJV) “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Ellen White, speaking of the purpose of the law, intimates in the following statements:

“I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments. {1SM 233.1}

“Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. The death of Abel was in consequence of Cain’s refusing to accept God’s plan in the school of obedience to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood which symbolized the blood of Christ to be shed for the world. This whole ceremony was prepared by God, and Christ became the foundation of the whole system. This is the beginning of its work as the schoolmaster to bring sinful human agents to a consideration of Christ the Foundation of the whole Jewish economy. {1SM 233.2}

“The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking ESPECIALLY OF THE MORAL LAW. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. {1SM 234.5}

WITH OUT THE LAW, MEN HAVE NO JUST CONCEPTION OF THE PURITY AND HOLINESS OF GOD OR OF THEIR OWN GUILT AND UNCLEANNESS. THEY HAVE NO TRUE CONVICTION OF SIN AND FEEL NO NEED OF REPENTANCE. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God’s law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life. Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the church who have never been united to Christ. {GC 468.2-469}

“The Gentiles had no light upon the law of God, and had not followed after righteousness, but those who believed in Christ attained unto righteousness through faith in him. THEY ACCEPTED GOD’S LAW AS THE RULE OF CHARACTER. The unbelieving Jews had not attained to the righteous requirements of the law, because they refused the only virtue that could avail to make them righteous and acceptable before God. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness [which is of the law], have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” CHRIST IS THE END, OR PURPOSE, OF THE LAW. THE LAW CONDEMNS THE SINNER, AND THUS DRIVES HIM TO CHRIST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” {ST August 5, 1889, par. 8}

You see, when we see our hopeless condition, the law (both the moral and the ceremonial) should compel us to turn to Christ, the Savior, who will provide the right remedy by offering us His gift of grace that we may accept it through faith. Thus the “purpose,” the “goal” or the “END” of the Law is to bring us to Christ!

Again, for the Jews, God gave them the ceremonial law along with the moral law to teach them that to remedy their sins, they must bring an animal sacrifice, an unblemished lamb to offer for their sins. God wanted them to understand that it is through the moral law that they may recognize their sins. But in order to have their sins forgiven and be cleansed, an innocent blood needed to be shed and that the sacrificial animal must receive the punishment that the sinners deserve.

John the Baptist declares in the gospel of John 1:29 (KJV) referring to Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”. So even for us, we need an innocent blood to be shed on our behalf. Jesus is the true Lamb of God (antitype) who has shed His innocent blood. He is the one who is able to truly take away our sins.

When we look into the Law, the Holy Spirit should convict us by revealing to us what sin is and that we are all great sinners before God, whose penalty is eternal death. The sinner realizes he cannot save himself and he comes to God and confesses, “God, I am a great sinner but I believe in Jesus and I accept His death on my behalf. With a broken and contrite heart, he confesses his sins and asks for forgiveness and claims God’s precious gift of sacrifice and mercy. God places the life and death of His Son to the sinners account. The sinner is forgiven, his guilt is cancelled, he is accounted righteous, and stands approved, justified, before the divine law.

“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory. ”— Ellen G. White {FW 103.1}

The Bible is abundantly clear! BEFORE the law can become our guiding principle, its primary function is to shows us and to lead us to recognize our greatest need. Our greatest need is to experience Jesus and His saving grace. This must be the foundation upon which we may begin to move forward in our Christian walk.

Again, the “law is good, if a man use it lawfully”

Woman caught committing adultery-an object lesson

In John chapter 8:1-11(CEV) you read about a woman caught committing adultery. But the story becomes even more fascinating in light of this principle of the lawful usage of the law.

And we all know the story very well. Starting in verse 1, the story describes Jesus going to the temple in the morning and there were many people gathered there and Jesus taught them. Then a woman, accused of adultery, is brought to Jesus by the scribes and the Pharisees and is about to be stoned to death. They say to Jesus, [v.5] “The Law of Moses teaches that a woman like this should be stoned to death! What do you say?” They asked because they wanted to test him and bring some charges against him.”

You see, if Jesus forgives the woman, they can accuse Him of not upholding the law of Moses, but if Jesus endorses the stoning, They can also accuse Him of not upholding the Roman civil law which they were under at this time and would bring charges against Him as a rebel. (Rom 13:1,12; 1Pet 2:13,14)

As you recall, Jesus ignores their provocation and simply writes something on the ground with his finger and when they continue to press the issue, he tells the crowd, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And the words convict the crowd and, one by one, they flee the scene.

Then Jesus says to the woman, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus says to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

In light of what we’ve discussed here thus far, there’s an important aspect to the story, which I don’t want us to overlook. Because, this story in John Chapter 8, actually illustrate this principle of the lawful usage of the law, which we’ve been discussing.

The scribes and the Pharisees knew the law, although they only applied it partially. Because, the Law of Moses, which they’re referring to (Lev.20:10) actually condemns both the adulterer and the adulteress. And if the woman was caught in the very act as the story is told, they should also have brought the man as well.

Moreover, it was through the law that they were made aware of what sin was. Because if they hadn’t known the law, then they wouldn’t have known that the adultery was sin. And because the law condemns the law-breaker and demanded penalty for that sin, they were ready to punish her by stoning her to death. The woman must face death for her sins! But here is the great irony. Before they actually punish the adulteress, they bring her to Jesus. Although their intentions may not have been in the right place, and unbeknownst to themselves, they actually do the right thing. They actually used the law lawfully by bringing the sinner to Jesus. But again, they applied it only partially. Because, unfortunately, when it came to their own sins they didn’t use the law lawfully.

Christ “fulfilled the law”

The only One (as a man, born in fallen nature) who has ever been successfully lived the life (“fulfilled the law”) under the law is Christ Jesus Himself. He is the only One who never broke God’s law and He offers us His own righteousness (His perfect obedience) to take the place of our unrighteousness. Moreover, by dying on our behalf, he has also “fulfilled” the consequence of sin required by the law that is due to the sinner. Christ lived a life that is in harmony with the law from his birth and that the very life He offers to us along with the substitutionary death. Therefore, His unblemished life and his death can be accounted as our own. (“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” Gal 3:13) The reality that Christ fulfilled the law, however, does not relieve the jurisdiction of the law over the people nor does it make the law no longer binding. What it does provide, however, is for the people to come in harmony with the law without being condemned by it.

Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the law:

The spirit of the law builds upon the letter of the law; you cannot separate the two. In other words, it would be inconsistent to say, “I’m now only following the spirit of the law and not “lust” (Matt 5:28) but continue to violate the 7th commandment (Exodus 20:14) and physically commit adultery with another woman. You cannot say, I love my neighbor (Mark 12:31, Romans 13:8) but violate the 9th commandment that says “thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15) If the law was done away with, as some claim, then is it okay for me to sleep with your wife? Of course not! Nor is it ok to violate the 4th commandment (Exodus 20:8-11)

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

Not under the law but under grace:

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Rom 6:14

Having received the “life of Christ” as a newborn man, we stand before God justified, covered by Christ’s righteousness and are no longer under the condemnation of the law and hence are equipped (by the indwelling Spirit) to obey the law more perfectly. Sin (its power and punishment) no longer has dominion over us. This however does not remove the jurisdiction of the law-obligations we have towards God’s law, as it is explicitly expressed in His law. The good news however are that those who are “under grace” have appropriated all of the gifts of God’s “unmerited favor” (Substitutionary death-Heb 2:9, Mercy-Heb 4:16, Spiritual fortitude-Heb 13:9, James 4:6-7, Acts 20:32) wherein he no longer allows the sin to rule (“have dominion”) over him. He is a new creature, having being “born-again” in the inner man (Rom 12:2, Titus 3:5, 2Pet 1:4) and thus his external behavior is now the outworkings of the changed inner principle, which is consistent with God’s will or God’s law (both the letter and the spirit). 

Quick Summary

There are many who suffer and carry a tremendous guilt but do not know how to remedy their awful condition. Or there are many instances where we introduce the law to the “law breakers” without leading them to Christ first. We use the law to judge, to accuse and to crit
icize and to condemn rather than bringing them the solution. Not only that, we even try to obey the law and preach and urge others to do the same before we truly experience the new birth in Christ and His healing power of grace to actually enable us meet the demands of the law.

To simply put, the Law reveals sin and condemns the sinner and this should compel the sinner to turn to the remedy-Christ. This is its end or purpose! But once the remedy is appropriated (repentance/forgiveness of sin/empowered with Holy Spirit), we can be lead by the spirit. But being led by the Spirit does not negate the law; it actually helps the believer to adhere to it more perfectly.

However, when we don’t use the law lawfully; we actually harm ourselves and harm other and we fool ourselves of thinking that it merits God’s favor.

But here is another point. When Jesus says to the woman, “go, sin no more”, don’t you think He also enabled her to actually accomplish what he has commanded her to do? You see God’s pardon or mercy is always coupled with power; the power that can release the sinner from the bondage of sin; the power that can enable us to obey His Commands. God’s bidding does not come without enabling.

We are the woman caught in the very act of adultery who is burdened with sin, desperately in need of God’s mercy and His renewing and regenerating power to actually walk the Christian walk. Perhaps we are also the scribes and the Pharisees who may know the law but are far from Christ.

And if all of our teachings of the law do not lead us to genuinely experience Christ personally and to experience the power of His saving grace, we have completely missed the point.

Jesus says to us, “by grace I have died for you (Heb 2:9), by grace I have forgiven you, and have cleansed you.” “And by grace I am giving you the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) whereby the very life of Christ may abide in you and will give you the power to live out a new life, He says to you and me, ‘go and sin no more’ ‘Obey My commandments!’’’

Hebrews 4:16(KJV) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of GRACE, that we may OBTAIN MERCY, and FIND GRACE TO HELP in time of need.

Col 1:29(Amp) says, “For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.”

But still, why the obedience?

John 14:15 says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Again in John 14:21, we read, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

John continues in vs. 23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)


John 15:5-10(NKJV) says this,

“[5] I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. [6] If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. [7] If ye abide in me, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. [8] Herein is my Father glorified, THAT YE BEAR MUCH FRUIT; so shall ye be my disciples. [9] As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. [10] IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; EVEN AS I HAVE KEPT MY FATHER’S COMMANDMENTS, and abide in his love.”

There are only two things we can take to heaven; our character and the souls we have won for Christ; the fruit of our character and the fruit of our labor. But notice, we can only bring forth these fruits by abiding in Christ and without Him we can’t do anything.

But how do we abide in Christ and how did Christ abide in His Father’s love? “If ye keep my commandments”

Thus, we see that “keeping” Christ’s Commandments and keeping His Words (John 14:15, 21; John 15:7, 10) are an essential part of how we may abide in Christ in bearing the fruit.

“The Saviour prayed for His disciples: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17. And Paul teaches that believers are to be “sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:16. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His disciples: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13. And the psalmist says: “Thy law is the truth.” By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is “holy, and just, and good,” a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that A CHARACTER FORMED BY OBEDIENCE TO THAT LAW WILL BE HOLY. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” “I do always those things that please Him.” John 15:10; 8:29. The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.” (GC; p.469)

My son’s hair cut-An Illustration

I have a 15-year-old son…when he was much younger, my wife would give him a hair cut at home.

My son needed to obey (to sit still) in order for my wife to perform the task at hand, which is to cut his hair. But the problem was that he was extremely restless and had the most difficult time keeping himself still, so I had to step in and help to constrain him. And while he was able to obey WITH MY HELP, his obedience or cooperation was NECCESSARY in order for my wife to continue to cut his hair and finish the task. Furthermore, my son being obedient (keeping himself still) in it of itself does not cut his hair; the cutting of the hair is ultimately done by someone from without-by my wife.

Here is the point: My son cannot cut his own hair. He had to depend on my wife (and myself in keeping him still), to do for him what he could not do for himself, and yet his cooperation is what was needed to finish the task.

Salient point here is that we cannot make ourselves righteous (my son cannot cut his own hair) but we still need to cooperate with God so that He may perform for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Me constraining my son’s behavior in order to have him sit still is analogous to us needing the help of the Holy Spirit:

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Titus 3:5

The “help” or the means by which we can accomplish the task is not of our own. It is by God’s grace. Our job is to submit to the influence of the Spirit. The submission/obedience therefore is an indispensable ingredient with which God will ultimate bear the fruit of righteousness in us. Obedience is NOT THE MEANS of obtaining righteousness in it of itself but it is nonetheless an essential component and has every bearing upon developing our character and consequently will determine our destiny. Hope this makes sense.

“MAN DOES NOT BUILD HIMSELF INTO A HABITATION FOR THE SPIRIT, BUT UNLESS THERE IS A CO-OPERATATION OF MAN’S WILL WITH GOD’S WILL, THE LORD CAN DO NOTHING FOR HIM. The Lord is the great Master worker, and YET THE HUMAN AGENT MUST COOPERATE WITH THE DIVINE WORKER, or the heavenly building cannot be completed. All the power is of God, and all the glory is to redound to God, and yet all the responsibility rests with the human agent; for God can do nothing without the co-operation of man. When a man believes in Jesus as his personal Saviour, and accepts of his righteousness by faith, He Becomes A Partaker Of The Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; and he escapes from corruption THROUGH THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WITHOUT DIVINE NATURE, without the influence of the Spirit of God, man cannot work out his own salvation. Said Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” (Review and Herald, 25th October 1892, ‘The necessity of cooperation with God’)

It is my prayer that we may use God’s law lawfully and that we may encounter Jesus and his amazing saving grace to experience the new birth so that Jesus may produce the right fruit that is pleasing in His sight.