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“Dead to the Law”
“I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” — By Adam's sin, all have come under condemnation. By the curse of God’s holy law which we have broken, all are cut off from God, and life, and light, and holiness, “dead in trespasses and in sins.” Under the curse of the law, we cannot have grace. The law’s curse is a barrier which excludes the purifying streams of divine grace.
In this situation and condition nothing we do is acceptable to God. — “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 15:8; 21:7). — “The plowing of the wicked is sin” (Proverbs 21:4). Though fallen man, under the curse of the law, might bestow all his goods to feed the poor and give his body to be burned for Christ, it would profit him nothing. You may be very respectable and amiable in the eyes of men; but the holy Lord God will not receive you. He will not come to you; and he will not let you come to him. Until the law has no claim on you God will not accept you. The law is our jailor. It keeps us firmly bound until we pay the debt we owe. It is a debt we can never pay; but our inability does not free us from our obligation to sinless obedience, perfect righteousness and complete satisfaction. The debt remains. As transgressors, we are justly under the law’s condemning power. Thus the sinner is kept in chains.
That is the situation in which the gospel finds us, under the curse of the law, without any apparent possibility of escape. Christ, the supreme Lawgiver, alone had power over the law. How did he exercise that power? He did not abrogate the law, set it aside, or require it to accept of less than justice demanded. That could not be, for God cannot deny himself. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son assumed our nature, became our Substitute, went down into the pit in which his elect lay. He bore our curse. The Only-begotten not only yielded to the law the obedience it demanded, but endured its full penalty and drank the cup of divine wrath to the last bitter dregs. Being made sin, he died under the penalty of sin. Bearing our sin in his own body on the tree, he justly suffered all the fury of God’s holy wrath in the place of God’s elect.
End of the Law
“Christ is,” therefore, “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4). He fulfilled it in its precept and its penalty; and his resurrection is the demonstration that the debt is paid and justice satisfied. The law has no claim upon the redeemed of the Lord! Its curse is gone! Its power is completely abrogated! In Christ, with Christ, when Christ died and we died in him, God’s elect have given the law full satisfaction. We have endured the curse. We have paid all which it demanded, and received a full discharge. By our indissoluble union with Christ God’s elect are dead to the law, that we may live unto God.