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Theology > Salvation > Salvation's Necessity > Law: Exposing the Sinner


The Law, meaning the Moral Law of God, reveals the standard of God for the man He created; it informs man as to what is evil and what is good. It provides man with a sense of God’s character and impresses man with the priority of obedience if he is to please God. The Law reveals to man his duty before God, teaches man of God’s holiness, and exposes to man his own depravity. All of this is for the purpose of uncovering the sinner and pointing the sinner to the Savior and His salvation.

It should be noted that the Moral Law of God is a greater concept than the Mosaic Law: the Moral Law is written on the heart and is universal, while the Mosaic Law is written on stone and was for the nation of Israel. While the former is enduring and normative, the latter was temporary and descriptive for the ethnic situation. It should not need to be pointed out that the two overlap in that the Mosaic Law in no manner is inconsistent with the Moral Law.

In the broadest sense Law is the revealed will of God for man in all of man’s living. The essence of the Law is stated in both Testaments: “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 20:7; I Pet. 1:15-16). Law is related to God, but the Law is not superior to God: for God is Law. The Law is a manifestation of God; it is a reflection of who He is and what He requires. And He requires what He requires because He is who He is. Law is not detached from God but is a revelation of who He is. His commands do not rest on merely the command but the command has authority because of who is giving the command.

In this sense all Law is Theistic, and the only valid Law is Theistic Law. By such considerations the authority of so-called natural law is deemed invalid, for no law arises out of reason alone. For example, the implication of the Theistic perspective is that premeditated murder, which all thinking individuals may agree is evil and should agree is evil, ultimately finds the ethical force for judging it to be evil in the fact that God deems such killing evil and because the killing is an attack on the image of God in man. Ethical force cannot be found in the evolving concept of a supposed value attached to man by thinking individuals as they move up the biological spectrum. The force of the Law, therefore, is Theistic whether the Theistic origin is recognized by man or not.

The Law is perfect (Ps. 19:7), righteous (Ps. 119:7), eternal (Matt. 5:17-18), holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12); and the Law is truth (Ps. 119:142, 151). All of these qualities of Law, as well as others mentioned in the Scriptures, find their source in God, who is perfect, righteous, eternal, holy, just, and good; and God is the God of Truth. So again, all justifiable law is ultimately Theistic.

A main purpose of the Law is soteriological, to bring the sinner to Christ by revealing the sinner’s need for Christ. The Law is a tutor (paidagogos), a teacher of the individual, teaching  the sinner about himself in relation to God’s requirements, exposing individual depravity in light of Divine righteousness. And the sinner learns that he comes short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The Law establishes a moral standard; it is a schoolmaster to bring the lost person to Christ.

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made . . . if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law . . . we were kept under guard by the law . . . therefore the law was our tutor (paidagogos) to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:19-25);

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 . . . for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:19-20).

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