The Right Use of the Law
Do we have any use for the law of God today?
Many professing Christians express disdain for God’s law. They do this by ignoring and neglecting the Old Testament. They do this by relegating the Old Testament to nothing but interesting history and fodder for Sunday School stories. They do this by viewing the New Testament as a replacement for the Old Testament.
The expressions we hear about God’s law differ drastically from the statements of the Scripture writers. They loved God’s law and esteemed it very highly.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
– Job 23:12
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
– Psalm 1:2
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
– Psalm 119:16
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
– Psalm 119:72
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
– Psalm 119:97
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
– Romans 7:12
Lawful Use of the Law
Paul wrote, “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8), indicating there is a good and right use of the law. The law can be used wrongly, but that doesn’t negate the right use. A wrong use of the law, for example, would be to merit justification before God. The law wasn’t given for that purpose and has no power to that end. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20).
The Bible teaches us at least six good uses for the law:
- Restrain wickedness (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
- Convict of sin (Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7)
- Expression of God’s holy righteousness (Leviticus 20:7-8)
- Pointer to Christ (Galatians 3:24)
- Protection of the weak and preservation of justice (Isaiah 1:17)
- Teaches how to love (Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 22:36-40)