Romans 10 … Consider Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, (10:4).

As Paul continues to maintain the gospel’s central message of salvation through faith, His gift of amazing grace, he makes a bold and emphatic declaration: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness…”

Imagine how this would have affected his Jewish audience who had so revered the Law, presuming it guaranteed their place in the kingdom. Especially when this Man, Jesus, had so infuriated them. In their own judgment, they became convinced He was in fact violating the Law; and in turn they made it their mission to convince others of His defiant disobedience.

 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”… 10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him, (Matthew 12:2, 10).

And in their zeal, it was not the Law they actually esteemed, but rather their own traditions superimposed above God’s commands.

“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition, (Mark 7:8-9).

For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge, (10:2).

Consider Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness

Ever wonder why? Why did God even give the Law, since He knew we would never be able to fulfill His commands?

From the very beginning God invited His creation into relationship with Himself through faith. Believing faith would take Him at His Word and would ultimately demonstrate itself in obedience. But alas, we know that in lieu of faith, Adam and Eve chose their own way of rebellion and sin, and the opportunity for communion with Holy God was severed.

But God was not finished, and before the giving of His Law, the Lord would call a people to Himself who would be enabled to enter into relationship with Him through faith.

And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness, (Genesis 15:5-6).

Later, as He called and set apart a people unto Himself, He would give His Law to reveal His Holiness, His Righteous Requirements, our utter depravity and unrighteousness, our desperate need for Redemption, and our only hope through Christ.

  • His Law would reveal His Holiness.
    • “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
      Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
      Awesome in praises, working wonders?”
      (Exodus 15:11).
  • His Law would reveal His Righteous Requirements.
    • “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine,” (Leviticus 20:26).
  • His Law would reveal our depravity and unrighteousness.
    • For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
      And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
      And all of us wither like a leaf,
      And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
      There is no one who calls on Your name,
      Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
      For You have hidden Your face from us
      And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities,
      (Isaiah 64:6-7).
  • His Law would reveal our desperate need for Redemption.
    • Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
      Lord, hear my voice!
      Let Your ears be attentive
      To the voice of my supplications.
      If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
      O Lord, who could stand?
      But there is forgiveness with You,
      That You may be feared.
      I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
      And in His word do I hope.
      My soul waits for the Lord
      More than the watchmen for the morning;
      Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
      O Israel, hope in the Lord;
      For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
      And with Him is abundant redemption.
      And He will redeem Israel
      From all his iniquities,
      (Psalm 130).
  • His Law would lead us to Christ.
    • Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith, (Galatians 3:24).

And to a people so devoted to the Law, Paul now says the Law for Righteousness has come to an end; or did he? Paul’s declaration that the End of the Law for Righteousness had come, would more than likely sound like blasphemy to the devout Jew. But what exactly did Paul mean? Well, let’s do some digging.

End:
5056.
τέλος télos; gen. télous, neut. noun. An end, term, termination, completion…In Rom. 10:4 it means either termination or goal. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes. This means that the Law as a demanded obligation has come to an end because Jesus has fulfilled its demands and imparted His righteousness to those who believe. Christ has freed believers from its tyranny. The standards of righteousness come to us now not from without by imposition, but from within by the Spirit who writes the Law upon our hearts… [emphasis added]” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

In reality, the Jews should have been waiting  for Him, hoping for the End of the Law for Righteousness; they should have been expecting and looking forward to His promise of His New Covenant given to their revered prophet, Jeremiah.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more, (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

But instead, they persisted in their own tradition of works and rejected the only means for freedom from the tyranny of the Law.

If only they had listened. For through Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness, the pressure to perform is off. Through His New Covenant, He promised to write His Law on hearts and to grant true knowledge of Him Who forgives iniquity and chooses to remember sin no more.

Therefore, just as He had said, there would be the End of the Law for Righteousness, for any attempt to gain right standing before Him through observing the Law is both futile and impossible.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all, (James 2:10).

His Righteous requirements will never be achieved through the Law; yet the Law would not be abolished. The Law would be fulfilled by His Righteousness.

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished, (Matthew 5:17-18).

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When we place our faith in Jesus, we are no longer judged based on whether we break the covenant or on own ability to attain righteousness through the Law. When we place our faith in what He alone accomplished on the cross, He has promised the demands of the Law are fulfilled and that His very Righteousness will be imparted to all those who believe.

Jesus is the End of the Law for Righteousness because He has fulfilled the Law’s just demands.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, (Romans 8:1-4).

Jesus is the End of the Law for Righteousness, and now His Righteousness is granted to everyone who believes.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3:21-24).

How do we respond to Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness?

In considering our response, let’s dig a little deeper with some help from a few notes from the NIV Study Bible.

  • For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, (10:4).
    • “Christ is the fulfillment of the law …in the sense that He brought it to completion by obeying perfectly its demands and by fulfilling its types and prophecies. Christians are no longer “under the law” (Rom 6:14 ), since Christ has freed them from its condemnation, but the law still plays a role in their lives. They are liberated by the Holy Spirit to fulfill its moral demands (Rom 8:4). NIV Study Bible

We must never take sin lightly; His Law for Righteousness is found in Who He Is, in His Nature, and His fulfillment of the Law on our behalf cost Him greatly. And while we must never take sin lightly, we are not to seek His Righteousness through our own works, opinions or traditions. As we seek Him in His Word, empowered by His Holy Spirit Who has written His Law upon our hearts, let us pray and believe He will grow us in our faith to live, not under the law but under His grace.

  • For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace, (Romans 6:14).
    • “The meaning is not that Christians have been freed from all moral authority. They have been however freed from the law in the manner in which God’s people were under law in the OT era. Law provides no enablement to resist the power of sin; it only condemns the sinner. But grace enables. “NIV Study Bible

And as we live under, and enabled by, His grace, let us pray He would so grow our love for Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness, and that His love and Holy Spirit would empower us to walk according to all His ways.

  • so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, (Romans 8:4).
    • “The law still plays a role in the life of a believer- not however, as a means of salvation but a moral and ethical guide, obeyed out of love for God and by the power that the Spirit provides. This is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31-34, a prophecy of the new covenant.” NIV Study Bible

Oh that we would come to the end of ourselves, our own works and ideas of righteousness before Him. And let us daily seek to be used as His vessels, filled with His Spirit, to offer His message of hope, life and freedom from the tyranny of Law, always ready to share the promise and good news of Him, the End of the Law for Righteousness.

  • For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, (10:4).
    • “…the Law as a demanded obligation has come to an end because Jesus has fulfilled its demands and imparted His righteousness to those who believe. Christ has freed believers from its tyranny. The standards of righteousness come to us now not from without by imposition, but from within by the Spirit who writes the Law upon our hearts…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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