This is one of those verses that should come with a warning label: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4 ESV).
Does that mean that the law is bad?
No, it can’t mean that. The Apostle Paul says, “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12 ESV).
Does that mean that Christians can ignore the law and live however they please?
No, it can’t mean that either. Romans 3:31 says, “On the contrary, we uphold the law” (Romans 3:31 ESV).
Then what does it mean?
It means that we are dead to the law AS A LEGAL COVENANT—though still guided and instructed by the law as a way of loving God and loving neighbour.
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4 ESV).
“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6 ESV)
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10 ESV).
Thus, Christ is the “end of the law” in that he is our new Master—the old written code is dead, it died with Christ on the cross. Nevertheless, the law still serves as a useful guide. It is our friend and teacher—but Christ alone is our Master. He leads us by the Word and through his Spirit. He teaches us to love, and love is the fulfilling of the law.
Thanks be to God!
Pastor Paul Carter
To listen to the most recent episodes of Pastor Paul’s Into The Word devotional podcast on the TGC Canada website see here. You can also find it on iTunes. To access the entire library of available episodes see here.