Christ is the end of the law

If you are a believer, the Law of Moses was brought to an end for you.

Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

What is the Law?

What the apostle Paul calls “the law” comprises all of the hundreds of commandments that God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The first 10 are the most famous, of course, but there are actually a lot more than 10. It’s common knowledge in the Orthodox Jewish community that there are 613 commandments (listed and re-listed in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy).

The four gospel accounts — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — further magnify the Law.  The four gospels are technically part of the Old Testament, since the New Covenant did not go into effect until the death of Jesus Christ. When you read them, you are reading the ‘end of the law,’ or the end of the Old Testament. (Bob George of Classic Christianity fame is the one who originally taught this vital truth to me.)

Without the gospels, it would be easy to conclude that the Law deals only with outward behavior. Jesus Christ, however, helps us to see that to be truly obedient to the Law, the thoughts and intentions of our mind must also be pure and good.

Ever felt tormented by one of the parables? Feel uncomfortable when you read the Sermon on the Mount? Those feelings are normal. The Law is having its perfect effect on you. It is beating you up. It is condemning you.

We have no hope of living according to the Law; according to rules and regulations.  Jesus Christ used the Law correctly:  to lead us to the Mercy Seat of God.

Not only did Jesus teach the Law correctly (as opposed to the Pharisees who used it incorrectly), He also lived the Law. He lived every moment of His life under the curse of the Law; He obeyed all of the commandments perfectly.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law of Moses, but to fulfill it. Since the obligations of the Law were fulfilled by Him, it has been brought to an end.

“He did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14, GWT)

Christ is the END of the Law, not the beginning. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.”  We Christians must come to the end of the Law, and live righteously by our belief and trust in Him, not in our obedience to the Mosaic Law or any other set of laws.

If Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to everyone who believes, why do so many believers today want to remain ‘in’ the Law?  Why are we not coming to the end of it?

For many of us, it takes time.

I was finally able to come to the end of the Law because I really ‘gave it my all’ as a young Christian. I spent over 10 years being extremely zealous.

If you’ve never been a full-on Jesus Freak zealot, maybe you should give it a try. Really work at the Christian life with fervor. If you would rather not be a raging legalist, well then, studiously read the Law of Moses.

The story of God giving the 613 commandments to Moses begins in Exodus chapter 20. After God speaks the first 10 commandments, there is a break in the narrative because the millions of Israelites gathered around Mt. Sinai grew terrified and they ran away.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’” (Exodus 20:18-19)

From then on, God spoke solely to Moses. Aaron Budjen brought this truth to light: that God wanted to speak to the entire nation of Israel Himself, yet the only one who would listen to Him was Moses.

The rest of the 603 commandments are recorded in chapters 21, 22 and 23 of Exodus. When God finished speaking to Moses, he went down the mountain and reported the 613 commandments to the Israelites. They agreed to obey all of them.

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 24:3)

After that Moses “wrote down all of the words of the Lord.” In its written form, it is often called The Book of the Covenant.

Next, Moses reads his book to them. This is the second time they are hearing the Law.

In essence he is saying to them, “Hold on guys, are you sure about this? You’re really going to do everything He said? This is serious. You had better listen to all of these commandments again.”

The second reading of the Law is recorded in Exodus 24, “Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

I love the classic Jewish behavior shown here: they are very enthusiastic, very driven, and very ambitious.

Next they wander around in the wilderness for 40 years, but before they enter the Promised Land, Moses goes over the covenant with them a third time.

“After they wandered around in the desert for 40 years He reestablished the covenant with them – they went over it, they reviewed it – and Moses rewrote the covenant in what we call the Deuteronomy, or the book of Deuteronomy. In that text we have a rewrite of the covenant in “covenantial form.” (Aaron Budjen)

They try and try for over 600 years to obey all that the Lord had said to them, but they continually fail. God kicks them out of the Promised Land and they get taken to Babylon as slaves. (Click here for more information.)

The Pharisees arise during the Babylonian captivity. The Pharisees were the Orthodox and ultra Orthodox Jews of their day. They added thousands of ‘fence laws’ to God’s original 613, and they come to believe that they have finally achieved total obedience to the Law.

The Messiah arrives on the scene around 4 B.C., and He really gets in their faces. Jesus tells them plainly that they have not achieved perfection; He ends the Sermon on the Mount by telling them that they have to actually be as perfect as God the Father.

Jesus was as perfect as God. He was God. Jesus is God. Only He could fulfill the Law. And since He died as a human, His death was offered to God and was acceptable to God the Father as a substitutionary death for all of humanity.

He brought an end to the Law. If you are a new creation in Christ, live according the Law of the Spirit of Life. Do not live according to the Law of Sin and Death.

Do not allow the Law of Moses to be your guide; allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to everyone who believes.

End it already.