Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 3, 1952
NUMBER 34, PAGE 6,9b

What Then Is The Law? -- No. 2

Robert H. Farish, Tarrant City, Alabama

The first statement in the discussion answering this question is—"It was added because of transgression. (Gal. 3:19) "It was added"—it did not have its origin at the same time as the promise, but "was added." It came four hundred and thirty years after. It did not become a part of the promise but was separate and in addition to the promise. It was different from the promise in nature and design. It had a definite purpose and was in force for a limited time. On this point, I insert a quotation from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown:

"This is not inconsistent with v. 15, no man addeth thereto' for there the kind of addition meant, and therefore denied, is one that would add new conditions, inconsistent with the grace of the covenant of promise."

Because Of Transgression

The question of why the law was added is answered—"because of transgression." But what could the law do about transgression? It could not justify those guilty of transgression. Rom. 3:20, "Because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin." But it could make them aware of what sin was and their condition as sinners. Rom. 7:7, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet:" It could demonstrate in a very clear and conclusive way "that they are all under sin" (not only Gentile but Jew) and thus every mouth would be stopped. Before the blessing of justification can be gained by any individual, he must be brought to a realization of his need for justification. Rom. 7:13, "Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful." A proper consideration of the law would have caused the Jew to keenly realize his need of justification and realizing his need to eagerly come to Christ where that need could he filled, "—That we might be justified by faith in Christ—" Gal. 2:16. Not only does the apostle state the reason for the law being added, thus teaching us its design, but he tells us how long it was to endure.

Till The Seed Should Come

Verse 19 also tells when the law would end as an instrument in force. "It was added—Till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made—" If we can determine what the "seed" is we will know when the law ended. The "seed" is Christ. Gal. 3:16, "—and to thy seed, which is Christ." The two statements taken together teach that the law could not endure after Christ. It was added at Sinai and taken away at Calvary. Col. 2:14, "having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross—."

What Then Is The Law — In Contrast To The Faith?

Before faith came the Jew's status was that of a minor under a tutor, but that is no longer true, "now that faith is come." Gal. 3:23, 24, "But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The Jew was "shut up unto the faith"—the coming of which (faith) would provide liberty from the bondage of sin, a bondage which the law could reveal but not remove.

The law was the "tutor to bring us unto Christ. Gal. 3:24. It directed and restrained the Jews unto Christ. This accomplished, it had fulfilled its design. "But now that faith is come, we are no longer under a tutor." It is not possible to express in clearer terms the fact that the law was abrogated when the faith (gospel) came. The coming of the faith was to terminate the guardianship of the law. The law kept in ward—the faith frees, justifies; through the faith they became sons of God.

Their status before faith came was that of a minor under a tutor—but that is no longer true, "now that faith is come." Why are those Jews who accepted the gospel no longer under a tutor? This is answered in the next verse, "For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus." They are now in Christ Jesus—not under a tutor "In Christ Jesus," they are sons. But how did they "through faith" get into Christ Jesus, where they are sons? This is answered in the following verse, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ." You get into Christ by being baptized—this puts you into the realm of sonship. All who are in Christ are sons hence heirs. Rom. 8:17, "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." How can anyone in the face of Paul's inspired reasoning glorify the law, by seeking justification by it and disparage the faith by reflecting on baptism. The fact that belonging to Christ makes one an heir is stated in Gal. 3:29 "and if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise."

Remember that Paul has already argued that, "if the inheritance is of law it is no more of promise—," while here he states that those that are Christ's are "heirs according to promise." All who have been baptized into Christ are "heirs according to promise." Notice Paul's statement of contrast of those under the law with those in Christ. Gal. 4:7, "So thou art no longer a bond servant but a son; and if a son then an heir through God." What sort of bewitchment would cause people to turn away from the faith through which they could become sons and revert to the law under which all were bondservants?

It should be clear to all, who have studied the question, "What then is the Law"? In the light of Paul's inspired answer, that the law of Moses, that law which was built around and included the ten commandments, was never intended by God to be placed on par with the promise either in nature or design. The law was good for its purpose. When its purpose was achieved, it was abrogated —"taken out of the way."

The law was a "shadow of things to come." Col. 2:17. The apostle warns against turning from the substance to the shadow. Col. 2:16, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day": Refraining from eating certain meats, having meatless days for religious reasons, observing the Jewish feast days and the Sabbath all find their place in the shadow. They form no part of the body; hence we are not to allow any man to judge us in these things. To refuse to eat out of deference to the religious practices of another is to partake of his error just as much as it would be to join an idolater in eating meat as worship—"as of a thing sacrificed to an idol"—and to do such is to allow men to judge us in the things which Paul lists.

Any effort today from any source that would bind any part of the law upon people is evidence that those engaged in that effort have failed to learn what the law is.


Forrest D. Moyer, 1502 S. Third, Tucumcari, New Mexico, Dec. 17: "During 1961 I have preached in seven gospel meetings—Petersburg, Estelline, Alpine and Iraan, Texas, and Tucumcari, Logan and Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Several were baptized and some were restored. The work in Tucumcari is coming along nicely. We have fine elders and good people to work with. On January 4 I will meet Mr. W. H. Fox, Primitive Baptist, in debate in Quay, N. M. Two propositions will be discussed—Baptism For Remission of Sins (I affirm) and Grace Alone (Mr. Fox affirms)."