February 19, 2019

What the Law Cannot Do

What the Law Cannot Do

An Excerpt from the series “The Shadow of Things to Come”

There is a distinction between the Old and the New. The Person of Christ is the unique continuity between the Old and the New. Throughout the Old Testament, we find a pivotal event, which is the giving of the Torah, the Ten Commandments, to Moses and this event established the nation of Israel to be the people who would be the custodians over the promises made to the Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were to keep that Messianic anticipation in the earth until the arrival of the One of whom it was prophesied, that is, the Logos incarnate as Man. The Law was never appointed to be the means by which we will be saved. It pointed to the Messiah who was yet to arrive. The issue of Law and Grace is the most pertinent matter to distinguish between religion and the gospel. What God arranged under the Law was fulfilled by Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross, once and for all, annuls its obligations

For not knowing about God’s righteousness [which is based on faith], and seeking to establish their own [righteousness based on works], they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior].                       Romans 10:3-4  — Amplified

There are two kinds of righteousness clearly presented in this passage: self righteousness by works and the righteousness of God freely bestowed as a gift. The children of Israel were ignorant of God’s righteousness and boasted in the fact that they could observe the Law as a means to attain righteousness. Because of this arrogance, they refused to submit to God’s righteousness but went about to establish their own righteousness by means of their works of the Law.

Apostle Paul teaches that Christ is the end of the Law; the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him. The Law was under a system of shadows, prefiguring and pointing to that which was greater than it, which is Christ Himself. To presuppose that after the arrival of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection, there is a continuity of the Law is a grave soteriological error that attempts to deny the efficacy of what happened at the cross of Christ. The cross is the end of the Law. It represents the fulfillment of all scriptures on behalf of all humanity. There is a difference between Law and Grace and Paul elaborates this throughout his epistles in giving us the inadequacy of the Law, revealing the things that the Law could not do.

  1. The Law cannot justify

 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. – Galatians 2:16—KJV

 Paul emphatically states that a man is not justified by the works of the Law. The term “works” indicates self-effort, something you exert yourself to do. It is described by the Greek word nomos, which in the Hellenistic world spoke of religion. The term ‘religion’ is taken from the Latin word, ‘religare’, which means to bind oneself to obligations.  Paul tells us that the Law was given for the knowledge of sin, which was necessary before the cross in order for the purpose of the Saviour’s incarnation to be understood. We are justified because of Christ and not by the Law.

  1. The Law cannot bestow an inheritance.

For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.                               – Galatians 3:18 –KJV

The Law cannot transmit an inheritance because an inheritance requires a certified identity. The gospel bestows our true identity; it shows us who we are because of whose are we are. The Law never addresses the issue of identity. It does not tell you whose you are, who you are nor what you have, but it simply prohibits you, telling you what you should not do and never bestows the capacity to do what you should.

  1. The Law cannot bestow Life

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.    Romans 8:2 — KJV

Sin and death were enacted by the sin of Adam. The Law of Moses exposed the sin of Adam and kept the parameters of that sin and death to operate. Christ in His resurrection abolished death and enacted another principle that superseded the Law of sin and death, something which the Law of Moses could not do. This governing principle enacted by the resurrection of Jesus is equally quickened in you. Living according to the Law is death but living according to the life that is in the Son is reigning in life.

  1. The Law cannot bestow the Spirit

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Galatians 3:5 — KJV

 The Holy Spirit is a Person and we cannot receive Him in portion. We have been given the Spirit without measure. The notion of always needing more of the Spirit is something generated by the Law. When we understand the Holy Spirit as a Person, we will not need more of Him but we will yield ourselves more effectively to be used by Him.

  1. The Law cannot make anything perfect

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.    Hebrews 8:19 – KJV

The purpose of the Law was to indicate to Israel that they could not attain divine righteousness by their own works; it was not to make them perfect. Everything presented as the Law, deals with imperfection because that which is perfect resides within nature, not something which could be accomplished by performance.


This article is an excerpt from the message “The Shadow of Things to Come” by Dr. Shawn Smith. For the complete series,  please, visit gcmonlinestore.com

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