Dealing With Objections - Part Two
We continue with a Brakel's treatment of objections to the moral law, as summarised in the ten commandments, applying as a rule of life to the New Testament believer.
Objection 2: The law came to an end with Christ, and therefore cannot place us under obligation. "For Christ is the end of the law." Rom 10:4
Answer: The apostle declares that the Jews neither knew nor sought the way unto justification. They therefore sought to establish their own righteousness, and did not attain to the righteousness of God. Subsequently, he shows what the righteousness of God is whereby one can obtain the righteousness which can abide before God, namely, Christ.
The apostle does not say that the law was terminated, abrogated, and rescinded with the coming of Christ. Rather, he says that Christ is the end of the law.
End here means: fulfilment or completion. The law demands perfect righteousness, and judgement upon transgressors. Since man now is not able to fulfil the law and thus be justified by it, but is subject to eternal death due to transgression, Christ came and bore the punishment threatened by the law and satisfied the demands of the law. Christ placed Himself under the law and fulfilled it by active obedience, so that the law in all its demands and threats ends in Christ as having been fulfilled by Him on behalf of all the elect 'for righteousness to everyone that believeth.'
Simply because the law with its demands and threats ends in Christ, the fulfilment, it therefore does not follow that the law ceases to be a rule for life for those who are justified.
Objection 3: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17). The law was given to Israel by Moses; this pertained to them. However, Christ reveals grace and truth; this pertains to us, so that we have no dealings with the law.
Answer: If you understand law to refer to the ceremonial law, it is indeed true that it does not pertain to us. It was only for Israel and could not give them the matter itself. It pointed to Christ who brings forth the grace and truth which were foreshadowed in the ceremonies.
If we understand the law to refer to the moral law, the meaning is as follows: Moses has given the law of the ten commandments; that is, it was the means by which the tables of the law were handed to Israel. By that law, however, no one can be justified. It does not engender grace; only Christ does this by his passive and active obedience.
We do not therefore have a contradiction between the Old and New Testament, but it states that which the law of Moses could not give and all that Christ does give, for Old Testament believers also had a grace and truth through Christ.
Objection 4: Believers are now not in need of a rule of life since the Holy Spirit teaches them all things. "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27)
Believers in the Old Testament also had the Holy Spirit and were taught and led by him. 2 Cor 4:14 'Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.' Ps 143:10 'Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness'. Yet the law was a rule of life to them, Ps 119:98-100 'Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.' To be taught by the Spirit does not exclude being led according to a rule of life.
It cannot be held that there is an absolute lacking of any need of instruction, for then they would no longer have any need of the entire Word of God. Why was John then so busy teaching them so many things in this letter? Rather, it means that by the anointing of the Spirit they will be able to distinguish truth from falsehood, and would not have to rely upon the views of another. What does this have to do with rejection of the law?