The Law Of Works
430 years after God established the faith-covenant with Abraham (discussed in “Obedience Of Faith” – Galatians 3:15-19), God gave the Law of works, through Moses, from Mount Sinai. These are the Ten Commandments, as well as the other regulations given along with it (Exodus 20).From the beginning God has only ever required faith in Jesus, as seen with Abraham. Then why would God give a law requiring good works 430 years later?
God’s intention has always been for men to simply put faith in Jesus. But men began to turn away from faith in Jesus (transgressing the faith-covenant – Galatians 3:19), depending on themselves. So God had to show people that their works are a dead end so that they would come back to faith.
God, in a desperate measure to discourage men’s works and push people back to faith in Jesus, gave what’s called, “The Law of Works.”
THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW
1) The law wasn’t given for right living. The law was given to show that we can’t live right by it.
God did not have so much confidence in mankind, bound in sin that He believed we were (or are) able to keep the least of what the law requires.
The law came in to show that right living of our own is a dead end!
1 Corinthians 15:56 NKJV
…the strength of sin is the law.
Romans 7:8-9 NKJV
…apart from the law sin was dead. …but when the commandment came, sin revived…
Romans 5:20 NKJV
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound…
Since men are bound to sin apart from Jesus, what do you think you’re going to get when men work? Sin (Galatians 5:19-21). The law came to make this clear.
2) The law wasn’t given to make people righteous. The law was given to show that we can’t be made righteous by it.
God already had a perfect way to make people righteous (Genesis 15:6), and it wasn’t through good works!
It came to show that righteousness by works is a dead end!
Galatians 3:11 NKJV
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident…
Romans 3:20 NKJV
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The law required righteousness and brutally condemned sin, thus showing us that righteousness cannot be acquired or maintained by good works.
3) The law was ultimately given to push people to God’s original intention— faith in Jesus!
The law was given to reveal works as a dead end, as rubbish (Philippians 3:8) so that faith in Jesus would become evident as our only option!
Galatians 3:24-25 NKJV
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
God even hid Jesus in symbols all through the law so that we would see God’s real intention with the law—leading you to Christ!
So when we leave the law’s way of living, and put faith Jesus for righteousness, we are actually fulfilling the whole point of the law (Romans 3:31)!