Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Preaching of the Law - Part 1 of 2

Update, June 2010: As I was rereading the two parts of this article, I realized that many of my thoughts on all of this have changed (quite a lot, in some ways) since the time I wrote it, but nevertheless I'll leave it as it is. I still agree that the law can be used to lead some people to Christ, but really the law was only meant for Jews, and never given to Gentiles.  In the Bible it was not used to lead Gentiles to Christ.  And in modern times, some people will have never heard the law, and yet come to faith in Christ in various other ways.


We all know that the Law was never meant as a guideline for Christians (or anyone else) to live by. (We all do know that, don't we? If not, see Rom 3:19 & 6:14 and Gal 3:24-25, among other scriptures). The purpose of the Law is to show sinners (the world) that they really are sinners so they will be convicted of their sin and then turn from the Law to Jesus for life and righteousness.

I heard a great example of this while listening to an evangelist on the radio this morning. I believe his name is Ben F. Parmer, but I can't seem to find any into about him. The sound quality of the program isn't all that great - it sounds like he's preaching from inside a tin can. :) (It's sort of echoey). Anyway, he essentially preaches the same message every week - a message to help people understand their need for Christ and to be saved. Sometimes he sounds very redundant, but yet I believe he's doing what an evangelist is called to do - lead people to Jesus with the simple message of turning from unbelief to faith in Christ. He doesn't preach much, if at all, about 'principles for Christian living.' He remains very much on the track of his calling to lead people to Christ.

This morning he spoke of a time when he was preaching about the Law. He mentioned that no one can keep the Law and that it was a tutor to lead us to Christ. He mentioned what James said - that if you keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, you are guilty of all. He said that in this sermon he then used the example of a so-called "white lie." A 60 year old woman was in the congregation listening to his message. She had been in church all her life and was a Sunday School teacher. When she heard the preaching about a simple white lie being a transgression of the Law and that if you stumble in just one point you're guilty of being a lawbreaker, the Holy Spirit convicted this woman of her sin, and there and then she realized her need for Jesus! After all those years in the church, she finally "got it" through the preaching of the Law.

That's the Law's purpose. It was a "tutor" that finally led this woman to Christ. After she finally came to faith in Christ (as opposed to thinking her own goodness was good enough), the Law's job was done. It convicted her of sin and led her to faith in Christ. So she now died to the Law and was in Christ by faith alone.

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