Pure Gospel — Christ is the end of the Law

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:4

What does Paul mean? That everyone who believes in Christ has done with law-keeping as a way of attaining righteousness. Think of it like this, that we could also say that Christ is the end of doing the Sermon on the Mount in order to gain righteousness, or that Christ is the end of doing what the apostle teaches in Romans 12 in order to gain righteousness, or that Christ is the end of doing what James tells us in his letter in order to gain righteousness before God. We run from the law whether given by Moses or through Jesus or through Paul or through James. All we try to do to weave a garment of personal righteousness is flawed by our sin. All we can ever bring to Jesus Christ is our unrighteousness, but by trusting in and in and in and into him, we are thus joined to him and our sins become his responsibility and his righteousness becomes ours. That is the end of any and all our works as being the righteous foundation on which we stand before God. Christ is all our righteousness. He is the end of any other way. We plead him alone, saying, ‘God, for the sake of the righteousness of Christ accept me.’

Imagine in eternity past the Father saying to his Son, ‘Son here is this vast crowd of poor men and women and there is none among them righteous, no, no one. They are all going to face my justice. Justice demands from them obedience to my commandments and justice demands satisfaction for their wrong-doing. What shall be done with them?’ Jesus answers the divine rectitude, ‘Father, such is my love and my pity for them, that rather than they perish eternally, I make myself responsible for their deliverance as their Surety. I will live that righteous life that they have failed to live and I will pay the price of their redemption, to the last penny. Bring in all your bills. Let me see what they owe you; Lord, bring it all to me, that nothing is left outstanding. At my hand, whatever you require will be paid. I will rather choose to suffer thy justice than one of them should suffer it. In me you’ll find their righteousness. Lay on me all their debt.’

The Father loves his Son and replies, ‘But, my Son, if you undertake for them, you must reckon to pay the last penny of their vast debt. Nothing can be left outstanding or they must pay for it in hell. If I am to spare them, then I will not spare you.’ Christ said, ‘Father, I am content; let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it demands my life in dying as the Lamb of God, though it impoverishes all my riches, though it empties all my treasures, yet I am content. It shall be done.’ Jesus looked at you, and he said, ‘Father, such is my love to this unrighteous person and my pity for him that though he’s broken every command I shall impute my righteousness to him and I shall take his sin to me.’ Christ still claims, ‘Such is my love, and such is my pity.’ Proud men say, ‘I don’t want God’s pity.’ You need his pity. Your wretched life needs his pity. We are pitiful creatures. Christ says ‘Such is my love to and pity for them that rather than they shall perish eternally I will be responsible for them as their guarantee. Bring in all the bills, Father, that I may see what they owe thee.’ The Lord Jesus Christ has taken all our liabililties, and he has sacrificed everything for them.

Sometimes a young man will get married. And after the first months he’ll start getting a little shaky in his commitment. He’ll murmur, ‘I had no idea that marriage was this tough. I didn’t know it needed such sacrifice.’ He’d been boasting about how much he would love that girl. He had no idea of the commitment of righteousness that he would have to make to sustain true married love, and is wobbling. That is not true with Christ. No wobbling in his marriage covenant with his bride, though he knows everything about us. He speaks into the rectitude of a sin-hating God, ‘Father, bring in everything they owe you, let me look at it.’ Imagine this, that he sees everything that you owe Justice. He didn’t become incarnate ignorantly. He wasn’t born under the law not realizing what thirty-three years of loving God with all his heart and loving his neighbour as himself was going to cost him. He didn’t go to Golgotha blindly. He didn’t lie on the Cross and say ‘No Father, I don’t want to do this; I didn’t know it would cost so much.’ He knew from eternity how much it would cost him and yet he still did it.

Listen as he says to his Father, ‘Bring in all your bills that I may see what they owe you.’ ‘Lord, bring them all in.’ Now listen, men and women. If this doesn’t make you so happy or content with God’s way of salvation then you’re not understanding what I’m saying. Jesus asked for all our demands and all our debts and all our bills, and he clears it all, every demand of a righteous God Jesus has fulfilled for us. He clears all the bills in his sacrifice. Every one is paid for. The biggest debt is paid for. The smallest liability is paid for. They are all cleared. Every one of them from the time we were born till the day we die, everything we’ve owed God is settled. They are all brought from us to the Father and they are cleared by the Son, and all God’s holy demands were paid for by the life of Christ, so that we never have to deal with them again with regard to our sin. Never! Do you see that believer? You never have to deal with God about your sin and guilt again! It’s over! All your crimes are paid for! Your crimes in the past. Your crimes in the present! The crimes you’re going to commit in the future. All of them totally paid for. All the demands of God to love and serve him 24/7 – they have all been done by righteous Jesus.

No more my countless sins shall rise
To fill me with dismay.
That precious blood before his eyes
Has put them all away.

Forgotten every stain and spot,
Their memory past and gone,
For me, O God, Thou seest not,
Thou lookest on Thy Son.

[Gerhard Tersteegen]

Some people say ‘Well if you tell sinners that all they have to do is trust in Jesus and then his righteousness becomes ours they’ll just sin!’ No they won’t, not true believers. Calvary won’t let you. It makes us say, ‘If his love is like that, if he has set me free completely, I’m his! I don’t want to sin any more! I don’t want to sin the smallest sin again! Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all.’ You see men and women, that’s what leads to righteousness. This is the dynamic that produces godliness in the believer. Yes, there are commands, and there is the law of Christ, but what makes me godly is knowing that Jesus lived for me and that he died for me. He paid for every sin, past, present and future. And God will never again call me into account in his judgment hall to judge me. Never again! I’m free. Oh thank God I’m free!

And you say ‘But it says that it is appointed unto men once to die and after death the judgment.’ Yes it does, but in that judgment, when you look up into the Judge’s face, then it will be your Father’s smile that you’ll see. It will be the Saviour who lived for you and died in your place that you’ll see and the moment you glimpse him you will be like him. Your status will then become your actuality. The one who judges you is the one who lived the righteous life God requires just for you and who paid the atoning death for you. Don’t you see that? You’re free. You’re free! No guilt! Then always go to him! Always go back to him! Always run to him! You’re free! Here is his perfect righteousness and his substitutionary death and that can’t be changed now! Christ’s righteousness unto all and upon everyone who believes.

– Geoff Thomas

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