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Sermon #114 — Romans Series
Title: “CHRIST IS THE END
OF THE LAW!”
Text: Romans 10:4
Subject: Freedom from the Law in Christ
Date: Sunday Morning — April 2, 2017
Reading: Galatians 3:1-3, 10-14, 19-29, and 4:21-31
I want you to listen very carefully to my first statement. It may be shocking to some. But it is a fact demonstrated, over and over again, in Holy Scripture. Do I have your attention?
There are many who earnestly desire salvation and eternal life, who will never be saved. — There are many thoughtful and zealous men and women who very eagerly seek salvation, who will perish under the curse of God’s holy law. They want to be saved, but they will not bow to God’s way of salvation. — “I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3).
Mark those words, “submitted themselves”. —Many will not be saved, multitudes will perish forever in hell under the wrath of God, because they will not submit to God’s righteousness, that righteousness established by God in the Person and by the work of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of you sitting here are not yet saved, simply because you will not submit to salvation by grace alone, through the righteousness of a substitute. You talk about grace, waiting for grace, and praying for grace. You may talk about wanting to trust Christ. But you only deceive yourself. Your problem is that you keep trying to do something, find something, feel something, or experience something, anything of your own that you can bring to God with the blood and righteousness of Christ for salvation.
Spurgeon once said, “Nine out, of ten of the arrows in a preacher’s quiver ought to be shot at the sinner’s good works, for these are his worst enemies.” — I fully agree with Mr. Spurgeon.
Proud man wants to save himself. You believe you can do it. You will not submit to salvation by Christ alone. I am here to tell you that if you would be saved, you must make your suit before the bar of God as an undeserving, hell-bent, hell-deserving sinner, seeking the unmerited gift of his salvation on the footing of mercy alone!
This is the thing the carnal mind cannot do. — It cannot beg for grace. You think that you can work out a righteousness of your own that God will accept, or at least you can say, or do, or think, or feel some good things that will supplement the righteousness and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will not be saved by pure grace alone.
In order to be saved, you are going to have to throw away your filthy rags of self-righteousness. You will have to come to Christ in your naked guilt, sin, and loathsomeness, or you will never be an heir of eternal life.
“Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked come to Thee for dress,
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
Illustration: The Artist and the Beggar.
Proposition: The only way for a sinner to obtain righteousness before God is by submitting himself to Christ by faith.
I want you to see that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” Whenever I preach about Christ being the end of the law, there is always someone who either misunderstands or misrepresents what I am saying. So, let me be perfectly clear.
1. I am not saying that the law is evil (1 Timothy 1:8-9).
(1 Timothy 1:7-11) Paul is here describing those apostate religious leaders who profess to be saved by grace but… “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (8) But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (9) 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, (10) 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; (11) According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
The law is not evil. It is holy, just, and good. It would be wonderful if all men lived in conformity to the law’s commands, both in outward practice and in inward principle. Indeed, it is ordained of God and used by all civil governments to protect society from those who would otherwise disregard all respect for the rights, property, and lives of others.
2. I certainly am not saying that the believer is free to break the law.
Not only is the believer not free to break the law, he has no desire to do so. — “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” To those who believe, God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:1-3). If we could, we would love God with all our hearts. If we could, we would love our neighbors as ourselves. But we do not have the ability to do so.
3. I am saying that in Christ the believer is entirely free from the law, because “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
“We are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14-15). We have been crucified with Christ and we are “dead to the law by the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4). There is no sense whatsoever in which it may be said that the believer is under the law.
Frequently, the word “law” is used in the Old Testament, particularly in the psalms, to refer to the whole Word of God, the whole revelation of God and his will in Holy Scripture. Sometimes the Word “law” is used to refer to the ceremonial, dietary, and civil law given to the nation of Israel. And the word “law” is often used to refer specifically to the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20. These Ten Commandments are commonly referred to as “the moral law” by preachers and theologians. However, you will search the Word of God in vain to find a separation between the Ten Commandments and the other laws given by the hand of Moses to the children of Israel. When the Scriptures declare that believers in Christ are free from the law and that Christ is the end of the law the declaration is that we are free from all the Mosaic law (civil, dietary, economic, and moral) by which the nation of Israel was governed in the Old Testament.
Our law, our rule of life, is not one section of Scripture, but the whole revealed will of God in Holy Scripture. We take the Word of God in its entirety as our only rule of faith and practice. However, we rejoice in the fact that we are no longer ruled, motivated, or governed by the law. We do not live before God upon legal principles. Therefore, we sing with joy…
“Free from the law, oh, happy condition!
Christ has redeemed us from every transgression.”
Men accuse us of being antinomians. They accuse us of promoting licentiousness. They censor us and warn others to avoid contact with us, as though our liberty in Christ were some kind of spiritual leprosy. But we will not again be entangled with the yoke of bondage. We will not attempt to reach the throne of God by climbing Mt. Sinai.
“Every man by nature is attempting to climb up to heaven on the broken ladder of works or trying to cross over the flood of God’s wrath on the fallen bridge of the law. But as sure as God is holy, all these attempts will fail; for, ‘by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified in his sight’ (Romans 3:20).” — Pastor Henry Mahan
Saved sinners simply trust the grace of God streaming to us from the wounds of our crucified Savior, finding all our righteousness and all our redemption in that One who died for our sins at Mt. Calvary.
If you seek God’s favor by your obedience to the law, be warned. — “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Show me a man who trusts his own righteousness, his own obedience, his own devotion, his own feelings, or anything else of his own, and I will show you a man who is entirely lost, a man to whom the blood of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, and the grace of Christ are worthless.
Divisions: Let’s take our text in three parts and examine it carefully.
1. “Christ is the end of the law.”
2. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.”
3. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
1. “CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW.”
The law of God is that which we ought to dread above all things, for the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. The law condemns us and demands our execution. In solemn terms, it appoints for us a place among the damned. — “For it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).
Yet, man has a strange infatuation with the law. Like the gnat that is drawn to the candle that will destroy it, man by nature is drawn to the law for salvation, when all the law can give is destruction. The law can do nothing else but reveal sin and pronounce condemnation on the sinner (Romans 3:19-20).
(Romans 3:19-20) “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. (20) 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.”
Yet, we cannot get men to flee from the law. They are so enamored with their own self- righteousness and their own self-worth that they will cling to the law with a death-grip, though there is nothing to cling to. They prefer Sinai to Calvary, though Sinai offers them nothing but death. Listen to the Word of God. If the opinions of men or your own opinions contradict the Word of God, — “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
Š The law was never given to save sinners; and it can never serve that purpose (Galatians 2:16).
(Galatians 2:16) “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.”
Š The law was never given to motivate the people of God to holiness and service; and it cannot serve that purpose. The one thing that God requires is a willing heart (2 Corinthians 8:12; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 12:1-2).
(2 Corinthians 8:12) “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(Romans 12:1-2) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Š The law was never given as a rule of life, or standard of conduct for the believer; and it cannot serve that purpose (Romans 3:28, 31; 1 John 3:23).
(Romans 3:28 & 31) “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law…Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
(1 John 3:23) “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
Š The law was not given to produce sanctification in the believer; or even to be a measure of sanctification, and it cannot serve such purposes (Galatians 3:1-3). —— Christ is our sanctification!
(Galatians 3:1-3) “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
The law was given to point men to Christ for salvation. The law was given to show man his guilt, his sin, and his need of a substitute. This is the law’s only purpose; and it serves that purpose very well. Look at Romans 3 again (Romans 3:19-22).
(Romans 3:19-22) “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. (20) 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. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”
The thunders of Sinai drive us away and point us with its lightening bolts to Calvary and to Christ who is the end of the law. —— What does Paul mean when he says that Christ is the end of the law?
1. Paul means for us to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the end of the law’s purpose. He is the purpose and object of the law. The law was given to lead us to Christ. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).
(Galatians 3:24-25) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Illustration: Bob Spencer
The law is the sheriff’s deputy who shuts men up in prison for their sin, concluding them all under condemnation, so that they may look to the free grace of God in Christ for deliverance. This is the purpose of the law. It empties, that grace may fill. It wounds, that grace may heal. The law was given to lead sinners to faith in Christ, by showing them the impossibility of salvation in any other way. — The law is God’s black dog, by which he fetches his sheep to the Shepherd.
How does the law perform its work? How does the law bring men to Christ?
Š The law exposes my sin (Romans 7:7-9).
(Romans 7:7-9) “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. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. (9) For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
Š The law shows me what the result of my sin must be. — Separation from God (Adam was driven from Eden). — Death (“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” - Ezekiel 18:20). — The only way any man can obtain mercy from God is to approach him with a bloody sacrifice.
Š The law reveals my utter helplessness (Psalm 24:3-4).
(Psalms 24:3-4) “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? (4) He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
Any man who thinks he can keep the law, and thereby win God’s favor, simply does not know what the law requires. — “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (Galatians 4:21).
Š The law demands righteousness.
Š The law demands satisfaction.
Š If you ever see what God requires in his law, you will beg for a Mediator (Exodus 20:1-19).
The law shows me my great need of Christ as my Substitute. My only hope before God is that God himself will send One who is able and willing to satisfy his holy law for me. I must have a substitute. — One who is able to make me righteous. — One who is able to redeem (Romans 3:24-26).
(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Give me Christ. I want nothing to do with God’s naked law!
Š The law strips. Christ covers.
Š The law condemns. Christ pardons.
Š The law kills. Christ gives life.
2. Not only is Christ the purpose and object of the law, the One to whom the law points. Christ is also the fulfillment of the law (Isaiah 42:21).
(Isaiah 42:21) “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.”
Our Lord said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil the law.” The law demands complete obedience, without one spot or speck, failure or flaw. The law demands holiness, righteousness, perfection. The terms of the law cannot be lowered. Not even in order to save God’s elect. The law demands complete satisfaction. It will settle for nothing less than the death of every transgressor. Justice cannot be set aside; but, blessed be our God forever, justice has been satisfied for sinners in Christ crucified! — In Christ I have all that the law demands. — His life — His death (Romans 5:19).
(Romans 5:19) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
In Christ I am free from the law’s curse (Romans 8:1).
(Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
In Christ I fulfil the law (Romans 3:31).
(Romans 3:31) “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
3. And Christ is the termination of the law.
Yes, you heard me right. Christ is the end of the law in the sense that he is the termination of the law. Dead is just about as terminated as you can get; and Paul tells us that if we are truly married to Christ we are dead to the law (Romans 7:1-4).
(Romans 7:1-4) “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (2) For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. (3) So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. (4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Š Christ has terminated the law as a covenant of life. — “We are not under the law, but under grace.”
Š Christ has terminated the law’s curse and penalty.
Š In Christ, every believer has a just, righteous claim of merit upon all the blessedness of everlasting glory (Psalm 32:1-2).
(Psalms 32:1-2) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
Do you see the sweet mystery of salvation by the substitutionary work of Christ? The law has no claim upon those for whom Christ died.
Š The curse spent itself on our Redeemer.
Š We are dead to the law.
Š We are righteous, justified, guiltless, innocent in Christ.
2. “CHRIST IS THE END OF
THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
I will be brief here, but I want you to understand that man cannot obtain righteousness of any kind, of any merit before God, by the works of the law (Galatians 2:21).
(Galatians 2:21) “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
God requires perfect righteousness (Matthew 5:20; Hebrews 12:14).
(Matthew 5:20) “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
(Hebrews 12:14) “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
We have no righteousness of our own; and we have no ability to produce righteousness (Isaiah 64:6).
(Isaiah 64:6) “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Christ has established righteousness to meet the law’s demands (Philippians 3:8-10).
(Philippians 3:8-10) “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
The righteousness of the law is found only in Christ.
3. “CHRIST IS THE END OF
THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
TO EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH.”
Do you see the stress of the text? It is just this — “To everyone that believeth.” The one issue of vital importance is just this: — “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” If you believe, Christ is the end of the law to you. If you do not believe, you are yet under the curse of God’s holy law.
If you would be saved you must submit to the righteousness of God. You must trust Christ alone for righteousness.
Š Your sin cannot be put away, except by his blood atonement.
Š You cannot be made holy before God except by his holiness.
If you refuse to submit to the righteousness of God in Christ, you must forever perish.
I am done when I have given you these three words of exhortation.
1. Never attempt to serve God upon a legal principle (Colossians 2:16-23).
(Colossians 2:16-23) “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”
2. Never allow anyone to bring you back into bondage, no not for a moment.
3. Never trust your own righteousness (Galatians 5:2).
(Galatians 5:2) “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.”
Self-righteousness sticks to human flesh like leaches. Shake it off. Flee from it. Cling to Christ alone for all your hope before God. He is “The Lord our Righteousness.”
On August 21, 1836 Sam Houston led the battle that brought defeat to Santa Anna and his Mexican army at The Battle of San Jacinto (Harris County – Houston, Texas). After Texas became a Republic with Sam Houston as its president, the law provided free land to any soldier who had fought alongside Sam Houston at San Jacinto.
Sometime later, a man by the name of Knobby Horsham was accused of defrauding another farmer of some land.
When the farmer who had accused Knobby of fraud appeared in court, he was surprised to find none other than President Sam Houston himself there to defend the accused. Knobby was considered a man of ill-repute. Nine of the jurors seated were farmers who all had been defrauded by rascals like Knobby Horsham.
When the trial began, Judge Phinizy asked President Sam Houston if he had any witnesses. “Only one, your Honor,” Houston replied.
Limping to the witness box, his right leg dragging from a serious wound sustained in the battle, Houston moved next to the defendant, and looked down on him as a loving father might, despite the fact that the defendant was a proven criminal.
As the courtroom sat in silent expectation, President Houston uttered only two sentences. “Knobby, you’ve heard the serious charges made against you. Where were you on the afternoon of April 21, 1836?”
Knobby looked up like a little child and whispered, “With you in the front-line at San Jacinto.” “The defense rests,” Houston said, taking his seat. “Case dismissed,” Judge Phinizy cried.
My brother, my sister, O believing sinners, we were there at Calvary with Christ, when the horrible wrath of God fell on him. — “There is therefore now, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). ⸺ Case dismissed! ⸺ “Christ is the end of the law!”