While there were some general purposes of the Law of Moses, such as providing civil laws, without which no society can function, its most important purpose relates to leading men to salvation.
The Law defines sin. Romans 4:15 says, “…because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.”
You can’t break a law if there isn’t one – Romans 5:13, “For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
The law convicts men of their guilt and need for salvation. In other words: The major purpose for which God gave the law, was so man would see his lost condition so he would be prepared to accept the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:19, 20 – For we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (verse 20) Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
That is called, “Sin conscience.” The intention of the law was never to make a person right with God, all it does is declare a standard and condemn a person to failure. It showed mans sin, but couldn’t wash it away. According to the Law there were no “grey areas” of, “I almost did it.”
That’s why our worth and value to God can not be judged by our performance, because He demands perfection. James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Paul said it like this in Galatians 3:10 – “For as many as are of the works (doing, to get right before God) of the law are under a curse; for it is written, cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” One failure would bring a person under a curse. Paul was only referring to what was written. In Jesus ministry teaching He gave the spiritual meaning behind the law.
Jesus was talking to generational Jews who thought they were ok just because they hadn’t murdered anyone. However, Jesus magnified the inner heart of the law’s demands: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment (Matthew 5:21, 22).”
Jesus had the same meaning with adultery in Matthew 5:27, 28 – You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus went much further than what was written. It was all, “a matter of the heart.”
Jesus basically was telling them, “If you want to be accepted by God, based on your own merits, you have to be perfect inward and outwards – (Matthew 5:48).”
These Jews had to realize first, that they couldn’t keep all the law the way it was intended. That’s why there had to be sacrifices.
So here is what it says in Galatians 3:23, 24: But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. (verse 24) Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The law’s purpose was to drive us to Christ, the perfect sacrifice. Galatians 3:25 – “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” You are no longer under the curse when your faith is in Jesus Christ!
For those who are “In Christ,” are under a “New Covenant.” So remember, the law is the law with a penalty attached. However, right is still right and wrong is still wrong, because that is a reflection of God’s character. God doesn’t change. Under the law the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); but now that you believe, Romans 8:1, comes into effect; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Under law, man works in order to be accepted by God, but we can never achieve it. Under grace, which is a gift from God, through faith in His Son Jesus, through the Once and for all time sacrifice, we are accepted by God!
That’s why Law and grace cannot be mixed. You can’t tell people they are saved by grace and then go back to the Law and tell them to start following it also. God writes His laws on our hearts. We know from our conscience when we are wrong. Law and grace are opposing principles. When we mingle the two, law is robbed of its terror and condemnation; grace is robbed of its freedom and joy. We end up with a grey no-mans-land. Neither can produce that which it was created.
Romans 10:4 – “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”