Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (Gal. 3:24-25)
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things Cow milk-based infant formula products, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb. 10:1)
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (Heb. 7:19)
No Longer Under a Schoolmaster
Although the Old Testament canon of scripture (Genesis – Malachi) is referred to as the Law and the Prophets, the Law specifically was the moral, civil, and ceremonial code that was given to the prophet Moses as revealed in the first five books of the Bible known as the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy).
The apostle Paul said this law was the handwriting of ordinances contained in commandments that was against us and contrary to us (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14).
The Law as a covenant was given and enjoined to the nation of Israel approximately 1,500 years before Christ. This covenant and was still in force when Christ appeared and had a definite place in the unfolding plan of Man’s redemption.
Through the types and shadows of the Law we are made to understand more fully the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:39). However:
The Law as a covenant, with its strict demand for righteousness through obedience was never intended to be the redemptive agent of Man. Furthermore, (as a covenant) it was never enjoined to the New Testament church (Rom. 6:14).
Although the Law was good, holy, and just, and although it proclaimed the righteousness of God and set a righteous standard for man, it did have a fault, in as much as it failed to provide Man the righteousness it demanded (Gal. 3:21).
Why did the Law fail? It failed because of Man’s sinful nature and propensity toward sin. In fact, the New Testament writers reveal the following truths about the purpose of the Law:
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions till the seed should come…” (Gal. 3:19, emphasis added)
Regarding the Law, we must first understand that the Law is a schoolmaster. Which means it was designed to be a tutor, or a guardian who teaches (Gal. 3:24). Therefore we utilize the Law to learn about Christ and to teach others. So, what does the Law teach and what do we learn?
1) The Moral Law: as revealed in the Ten Commandments teach us concerning the righteousness of God.
2) The Civil (sacrificial) Law: as revealed in the judgments teach us concerning the sinfulness of Man.
3) The Ceremonial Law: reveals the need of atonement for sin and reconciliation between God and Man.
These provide to us types and shadows of the atoning work of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Covenant.
So, What’s Wrong with the Law?
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah:(Heb. 8:7,8, emphasis added)
The Old Testament Law Has Faults
1) The Law was weak (Heb. 7:18)
2) The Law was unprofitable (Heb. 7:18)
3) The Law made nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19)
4) The Law was despised (Heb. 10:28)
5) The law was for the time then present (Heb. 9:9-10)
6) The Law worketh wrath ( Rom. 4:15 )
7) The Law was without mercy (Heb. 10:28)
8) The Law was the ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9)
9) The Law was the ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:9)
The Law with all of its glory had only a shadow of good things to come (Heb. 10:1). Those good things to come included the salvation and benefits of The New Covenant.
1) A shadow in scripture is an Old Testament figure, outline, or pattern of an object (Heb. 8:5, 9:23-24). However, the Law was a shadow and therefore not the real substance or object that cast the shadow.
2) A type in scripture is an Old Testament representation of a promise or truth that is fulfilled in the New Testament. The Old Testament contains the type or promise. The New Testament contains the anti-type or fulfillment of that promise.
The apostle Paul tells us plainly that:
The fulfillment or substance of the Messianic types and shadows which the Law represented is Christ himself and His “finished work” of the cross (Col. 2:17).
More importantly, Paul also declares that:
As New Testament grace believers we are not under the Old Covenant of the Law but under the New Covenant of grace (Rom. 6:14)!
Why is this so? Because after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:21-25). The Law is fulfilled in Christ (Matt. 5:17).
I Am Not Come to Destroy, But to Fulfill
…These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me…
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Lk. 24:27, 44)
Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (Matt. 5:17)
Mathew 5:17 is often misquoted by the legalist to justify legalism (righteousness through works) in its various forms; inferring that believers are under both covenants of Law and Grace, and, that New Testament believers must (through the power of the Holy Spirit) keep the laws of the Old Testament. However, they miss the point. That is:
Christ came to fulfill the Law in two ways
1) Christ, through his sinless life came to fulfill, or satisfy the righteous demands of the Law on Man’s behalf. Christ came to fulfill and provide for Man what the Law demanded and promised but could not provide.
2) Christ, through His incarnation came to fulfill, or declare Himself the embodiment of the types and shadows of the Law as revealed in the Messianic prophecies concerning Him. He was in His person the fulfillment of each prophetic type, shadow, and promise of the coming Messiah (Jn. 4:25-26).
Christ came to fulfill and to provide righteousness for us. Christ became the Just and the Justifier of all those who believe in Him:
1) As the Just, Jesus is the only one who lived and met the standard of righteousness that the Law required.
2) As the Justifier, Jesus is the only one through whom righteousness can be imputed to those who put their trust in him (Acts 3:14; Rom. 3:26).
In 2006 Charles Smoot founded The Grace Network, a “Church Planting Movement” (CPM) based in Maui, Hawaii. In 2009 Charles and his wife Helen founded Simple Church Ministries of Lancaster, a local House Church community dedicated to the message of Sovereign Grace, House church evangelism, and discipleship.