The Amish Voice 2
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The law has the same effect on the Christian believer. It looks
intimidating and it sounds intimidating, but it is powerless. The law
cannot justify us. Those who claim that the law does justify are just
There were some teachers in the Galatian churches who were
teaching a false doctrine: that a person is justified (acceptable to
he does the very best he can: he honestly tries to obey
the law of God and to do as much good as he can.
he practices religion: he keeps the rituals,
ceremonies, and rules of the church.
he has submitted to the basic ritual of the church
(circumcision, church membership, baptism, or
All of these are important: everyone should be faithful in
obeying the law and in practicing religion and in being baptized.
However, Scripture is abundantly clear: these are not the things that
actually justify a person. Jesus Christ alone justifies a person. Man
can do nothing whatsoever—exert no energy, no effort, no work—
to make him- self acceptable to God. A person is acceptable and
justified before God only when he truly believes in God’s Son,
Jesus Christ. There are many people who...
exert all kinds of energy and effort in keeping the law
and doing the best they can, but they do not believe in
practice religion, but they do not believe in Jesus
have been circumcised and baptized, but they do not
believe in Jesus Christ.
The raw energy—the fundamental act—that saves a person is
faith in Jesus Christ, true faith in God’s very own Son. When a
person truly believes in God’s Son, God takes that person’s belief
and counts his belief as righteousness. God accepts that per- son
because he honors God’s Son—honors Jesus Christ by entrusting
and giving all he is and has into His keeping.
Since this is so, why then did God give the law to man? If we
are not saved and justified by obeying the law of God and doing the
best we can, what is the purpose of the law? This is the discussion
of this passage: to show that the law is powerless in saving a man.
And the powerlessness of the law actually proves that a person is
justified or made acceptable to God by faith.
1. The law was given to reveal sin—to make men more
aware of their sins (v.19).
2. The law was temporary (v.19).
3. The law was not given by God, but through a
mediator; therefore, it is inferior (v.19-20).
4. The law has no power to give life (v.21).
5. The law declares that the whole world is a prisoner
of sin (v.22).
6. THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO REVEAL SIN—TO
MAKE MEN MORE AWARE OF THEIR SINS (v.19).
How do we know that the law does not justify or make a person
acceptable to God? Because the law was given to reveal sin—to
make people more aware of their sins. Note the crucial fact: the law
was not given to make men righteous, but...
to make men aware of their sin and condemnation.
to show men that they are short of God’s glory.
to stir men to pay attention to the fact that they are
to stop every mouth from boasting and claiming self-
to awaken men to their crying need for God’s help.
to plant in man’s mind that he desperately needs God
to save him from sin and death.
to arouse every mouth to confess its need for a Savior
from sin and its punishment (death).
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no
flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the
knowledge of sin” (Ro. 3:20).
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring
us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Ga.
What does God use to get your attention, to show that you are a
long way from perfection? Does He use other people or