Paul's Passing Thoughts

Does the Law Really Lead People to Christ by Revealing Sin Only?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 16, 2016

PPT HandleOriginally published October 14, 2013

The insanely celebrated return to our Reformed roots teaches the following about the law:

We are unable to keep the law perfectly. And since a perfect keeping of the law is the standard for righteousness required to live with God forever, our inability to keep the law perfectly leads us to Christ who must keep/fulfill it for us. As Christians, we continue to use the law in this way to “preach the gospel to ourselves.” The more we use the law to show our innate sinfulness, the more we experience “vivification” (a joyful, perpetual rebirth).

The bogus idea that perfect law-keeping is justification’s standard aside, the most popular text that supposedly supports this idea is Galatians 3:24 –

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

To make that verse work, “guardian” (paidagōgos) is often translated as “tutor.” That’s a stretch. The word is better translated “protector”:

Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood (Strong’s Dictionary).

Furthermore, the Reformed gospel teaches that the law is used by the Christian for this same purpose in our Christian walk—to continually lead us closer and closer to Christ by showing forth sin. This blatantly contradicts the context of the passage:

Galatians 3:25 – But now that faith has come, we are no longer [added] under a guardian,

Reformed doctrine clearly teaches that Christians are still under the law’s purpose to show us a deeper and deeper need for Christ and His grace as we see our own sinfulness in a deeper and deeper way. In other words, for Christians, God’s word still has a redemptive purpose. This is the basis for Historic Redemptive hermeneutics. However, even in regard to the lost, the showing forth of sin is only one purpose for the law, but far from being the only one.

Primarily, the law shows forth life. This is by far the primary theme of law throughout the Scriptures. The law shows forth the wisdom of God, and the wellbeing (blessings) of those who follow it. The law is also framed in the context of promise much more than it is judgment.

This gets into the major crux of the Reformed false gospel; the fusion of justification and sanctification concepts. The blessings of law-keeping can be experienced by unbelievers and believers alike, but such cannot obtain eternal life. The point is that the law shows forth life as much as it does death. It shows both. Again, this is a constant theme throughout the Scriptures. Who will deny that unbelievers will have a higher quality of life to the degree that they follow God’s law? No, it can’t gain salvation for them, but the law brings horizontal blessings by virtue of its wisdom.

Point in case:

1Peter 3:1 – Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

In this passage, the husband is not won over by the wife demonstrating how sinful we are and our subsequent need for Christ; she is showing forth the blessings of being a believer. These are blessings that he is also experiencing because the home is sanctified by her presence:

1Corinthians 7:14 – For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

So, there is a sense in which the unbelieving spouse is blessed by the believing one. The law not only shows forth sin, but also shows forth life. The latter is the way the law leads people to Christ just as much as the former.

paul

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