Was the Law only Made for the Unrighteous?

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Wow, I  read a comment concerning a verse that was given to Timothy by Paul the apostle.   In the comment this person who will remain unnamed quoted the apostle Paul saying “The law was made for the unrighteous” (1 Tim 1:8,9)  “Let the unrighteous focus on it, it will do them some good” He said. 

To my shock several people believed that this man was “rightly dividing the word of God.” (2 Tim 2:15)   But the Bible tells us that some take the scriptures to their own destruction, and God requires of them to turn from doctrines of men to the scriptures and “study to show themselves approved unto God”  (2 Tim 2:15)

2Pe 3:15-16  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  (16)  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

And there seem to be many on this path of destruction that are wresting the writings of Paul.

Now, let’s acknowledge the quote as truth firstly, because “thy word is truth” (John 17:17) and let’s acknowledge that “the law was made for the unrighteous.”  Let’s read it:

1Ti 1:9-10  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  (10)  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

And we’ve all been contrary to sound doctrine.  So the law is not just for the unrighteous, but also for the righteous to give to the unrighteous so that they can turn. (2 Tim 3:16, 17)  But let’s not just take this quote, profess righteousness, and then say “Hey we’re righteous now, we don’t need the law anymore. We have no use for it.”  Or “It is bondage and legalism to focus on the law.”  There is more to it.  King David once wrote:

Psa 1:1-2  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  (2)  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Is this a righteous man that meditates in the law day and night?  Obviously it is since he won’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly.  You see, the law was made for the unrighteous to help them understand righteousness.

Rom 7:7, 12  What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…  Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

The law points out what sin is and for this reason it is good.  Without the law we would not know what sin is.  Many believe that their way is right in their own eyes.  But the law makes clear that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Pro 14:12)

Rom 5:20-21  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound….

The law was given to Israel at Mt. Sinai because they believed they were righteous.  They couldn’t see that they were sinful and unrighteous and in need of Christ and his faith.   God had to teach them righteousness.

Gal 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

That is why we are told:

Deu_4:8  And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

The law witnesses “against us” only when we are walking contrary it.  Thus to walk contrary to it is “Unrighteousness.”  However, the law is like a teacher, a schoolmaster, and if we want to be among the righteous, then we must do right, and therefore as Paul the apostle wrote ”the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Rom 2:13)

Righteousness does not come by the law, the Bible is clear on this.  It comes by the grace and power of God which we ask for and receive.  However to be righteous is to be a doer of the law.

Rom_8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

And many there be that walk after the flesh, and for this reason, they have deemed that they need not meditate in God’s law because it has nothing for them, and they believe that their own works which are filthy rags are righteousness.   For this reason Paul said:

Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

I quoted some verses from David and Solomon to this author who wrote that it was wrong to focus on the law.  And I was told that King David, the man after God’s own heart was a legalist.  The verses I quoted were these and then asked a question below after quoting them:

Psa 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Psa 119:97 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

I said to this man “Were these men legalistic?”

His Answer:

“Legalism means, to approach God by means of law. On the basis of this definition, all who approached God by the system of the law were legalists.  There was nothing wrong with legalism during the era of the law. Today, now that we are no longer in the time of the law and the prophets, but the time of the kingdom, legalism is wrong. It is backward, it is approaching God by a system which has been abolished 2000 years ago.”

He further wrote:

David lived in the age of the law, so of course he was a legalist. This is why he could say things like that which I am sure most of us don’t agree with (at least I hope not).”

Yes, sadly this is what this teaching leads to.  Calling faithful and Godly men who walk not in the cousels of the ungodly “legalists”.  We are told in the Bible that “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Pro 29:18)   And as I read those words I was astonished at the blindness.  Not only of the author who said those things, but furthermore at the blindness of those who have been duped into believing and following these teachings.

The Bible says that we are Righteous by faith… But further

Rom 3:31  Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

We uphold the law.  And sometimes that law shows us that we still have unrighteous traits and characteristics that need to be reformed.  And so the law is made for the unrighteous.  But because of our acceptance of it into our hearts, we then become saints, righteous by faith in the word to do what it says it will.

For this reason our testimony should be “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”  And if it isn’t, then it is likely that we may need to consider ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith.   Because the unrighteous does not love his law, but rather is at enmity with the law of God and cannot be subject to it.

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