Sep 24, 2016
What is the purpose for the Old Testament Law of Moses? Why was it given if it wasn't to be obeyed to get men to heaven? Brother Jonathan explains using the scriptures and quotations from great men of God such as John Wesley, Martin Luther, and Charles Finney.
Here are the notes for this sermon:
The Purpose of the Law
What does “we establish the law” mean?
“Satan, the god of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all, which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he hath raised up a sect as such as teach…that men should not be terrified by the Law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.” –Martin Luther
Why don’t we see true heartbroken-for-sin conversions anymore?
Men don’t see themselves in need of a Saviour, because they don’t see their sin.
“I’m a pretty decent person.”
“Only the sick will seek for a physician.”
What does scripture tell us the purpose of the Law is?
The purpose for which the Law of Moses was given to man was to show him that he is a sinner, and guilty before God. (Romans 3:19-20; 7:7, 9-10)
The second purpose of the Law is to drive men to seek for the Saviour. (Gal.3:24 cf. Romans 5:20)
“The second use [of the Law] is to bring him unto life, unto Christ that he may live. It is true, in performing both these offices, it acts the part of a severe schoolmaster. It drives by force, rather than draws us by love. And yet love is the spring of all. It is the spirit of love which, by this painful means, tears away our confidence in the flesh, which leaves us no broken reed whereon to trust, and so constrains the sinner, stripped of all to cry out in the bitterness of his soul or groan in the depth of his heart, “I give up every plea beside, Lord, I am damned; but thou hast died.”” –John Wesley
“I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law…Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary when you have set aside the Law. You have taken from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ…They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.” –Charles Spurgeon
The Word of God says that men are condemned already (John 3:18), there is Judgment coming (Heb.9:27), and there is wrath to come because of it (Revelation): If we don’t tell them they’re condemned, how will they know? If we don’t tell them of the coming Judgment, why should they care? And if we don’t warn them of wrath to come, from what will they flee?
Why don’t we deal with people’s sin directly?
We don’t like the tension it creates. It makes us
(2Cor.7-8-10) They need godly sorrowing working repentance to salvation, and we are not showing them what to sorrow about!
But some say, “No, it’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance.” YES! God is good. We are not. So therefore, repent and be reconciled through the sacrifice he has made to pay for our transgressions.
Do we have scriptural justification to deal directly with sin, whether in the body, or when preaching the gospel to the lost? Absolutely: Jesus called men hypocrites to their faces , John the Baptist openly rebuked Herod for adultery, Paul rebuked Peter before the whole congregation, (2Tim.3:16-17), Paul tells Titus, “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” (Tit.1:13); Eph.5:11; Isa.58:1 “show my people their transgression”.
Even in the Law it is written, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Lev.19:17)
What do the revivalists of time past have to say about the purpose of the Law?
“It is a great mistake to give a man who has not been convicted of sin certain passages that were never meant for him. The Law is what he needs…Do not offer the consolation of the gospel until he sees and knows he is guilty before God. We must give enough of the Law to take away all self-righteousness. I pity the man who preaches only one side of the truth—always the gospel, and never the Law.” –D.L. Moody
“If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of “the plan of salvation” in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airwaves and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God and the Law of God, until sinners would cry out, “What must we do to be saved?” Then I would take them off to a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved. Don’t use John 3:16. Why? Because you tell a sinner how to be saved before he has realized that he needs to be saved. What you have done is gospel-hardened him.” Paris Reidhead
“Evermore the Law must prepare the way for the gospel. To overlook this in instructing souls is almost certain to result in false hope, the introduction of a false standard of Christian experience, and to fill the Church with false converts…Time will make this plain.” Charles Finney
What do the scriptures say about being “under the Law”?
Romans 3:19 says the Law is only applicable to them who are
Romans 6:14 says sin has no dominion over those who are not under the Law.
Romans 6:15-16 says we should not sin if we are under grace, that is in Christ Jesus, because if we yield ourselves to obey sin then we become the servants of sin; and the end result is death. (The underlying Greek word for “death” here is the same as in Romans 6:23 and Revelation 21:8 showing that it is spiritual death)
Galatians 4:5 says that we must be redeemed from under the Law to receive the adoption of sons.
Galatians 5:18 says, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.”
How do we know that we are not under the Law, but under grace?
To be under grace is to be in Christ. We only have access to stand in grace by union with Christ. (Romans 5:2)
How do we know that we are in Christ?
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:3-5)
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 John 3:10)
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:14-15) cf. (5:2-3)
Do these verses describe you? If not: you’re not in Christ.