The Purpose of the Law

A large portion of the Old Testament is devoted to the Law of Moses and its practice.  However, we are told that the Law cannot make anyone righteous (justified) before God (Galatians 2:16).  So, what was the purpose of giving the Law and practicing the aspects of it if that did not gain favor with God? Let’s look at what the Apostle Paul wrote on this subject.

Galatians 3:19-24 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.  20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.  21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.  22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The purpose of the Law was not a means of becoming righteous before God, but rather revealed mankind’s utter inability to do so.  It showed that mankind was sinful and in need of a Savior.  As Galatians 3:24 puts it, it “was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ”.

The Law demonstrates very clearly that we cannot live up to God’s standard and makes us recognize our own sinfulness.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Once we see that we are sinners before God, that’s when we realize that we need a savior.  That Savior is Jesus Christ.  Since He, as God’s Son, was the only person to ever live a perfect life, He alone was worthy to be a sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus died on the cross, paid the price for our sins, and rose again from the grave.  In doing so, He made a way for us to come to God, not on our terms or according to our good deeds, but based on Jesus’ payment on the cross.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, it is then that we will be justified (declared righteous) before God by His grace in sending His Son to be our Savior.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

The Law does serve an important purpose.  It reveals our sin and in doing so, it points us to Jesus Christ.