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The Amish Voice 4

the law can still be used to convince men of sin and to restrain

them from living loose and evil lives.



Matthew Henry.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary,

Vol.5 (Old Tappan,

NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.), p.661.



How do we know that the law does not justify or make a person

acceptable to God? Because the law was not given directly by God,

but through a mediator; therefore, it is inferior. Two arguments

show this.

1. The law was not given directly by God. The law came from

God, but it was given by angels to Moses and then to man (Ga.

3:19; Ac. 7:53; He. 2:2). Moses stood as a mediator between God

and man in the giving of the law; therefore, the law came to man as

a second-hand thing. But not the promise of God. God Himself gave

the promise of grace and righteousness (that is, of His acceptance

and eternal life). Abraham received the promise of God directly

from God. Therefore, the promise of God is bound to be superior to

the law, for it involves a more personal contact (relationship) with


2. The law was between two parties—man and God. In the

covenant of law, man and God both had responsibilities or work to

do. Man had to keep the law, and if he did, God would act and

reward him with the gift of righteousness. The gift of righteousness

was conditional under the law.

However, the promise of righteousness or grace was given by

God alone. No one could break that promise. If man (Abraham)

simply believed God’s promise, he received the promise of

righteousness and grace.


How do we know that the law does not justify or make a person

acceptable to God? Because the law has no power to give life.

1. The law is only words and rules. It can only inject the idea of

behavior into the mind of a person. It can only demand—demand

that each precept be kept and obeyed. The law is mere words, cold

and lifeless. It is entirely external to man, outside the body of man.

It has no spirit, no life, no power to enable a person to do the law. It

cannot help man to any degree whatsoever as he tries to keep the

law. The law demands obedience, but it leaves man entirely on his

own as he struggles to obey.

2. The law cannot give life to man. It is not a living being with

the power to give life. If it were, then righteousness would have

come by law. But, as stated, the law has no life and it has no power.

It is mere writing, mere words and rules. However, this is not true

of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is both a Person and a life. Therefore,

He is able to put spirit and life to the words and rules of the law. He

is able to live the life de- scribed by the words and rules. As such,

He is able to inject both the idea and the power to behave into a

person’s mind and life. It is now His life that sets the standard and

the rule for the believer; it is His spirit and life that give the believer

power to obey.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak

through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the

likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in

the flesh” (Ro. 8:3).


Doing all the right things and having all the right titles are of no

benefit to the Christian believer. There is only one thing that will

grant us justification. David Seamands ends his book



with this story:

For more than six hundred years the Hapsburgs

exercised political power in Europe. When Emperor Franz

-Joseph I of Austria died in 1916, his was the last of

extravagant imperial funerals.

A procession of dignitaries and elegantly dressed court

personages escorted the coffin, draped in the black and

gold imperial colors. To the accompaniment of a military

band’s somber dirges and by the light of torches, the

cortege descended the stairs of the Capauchin Monastery

in Vienna. At the bottom was a great iron door leading to

the Hapsburg family crypt. Behind the door was the

Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna.

The officer in charge followed the prescribed

ceremony, established centuries before. “Open!” he cried.

“Who goes there?” responded the Cardinal.

“We bear the remains of his Imperial and Apostolic


1. Even though the law was only temporary, it still

serves a useful purpose today. What does it do in

your life?

2. What does the Bible mean when it says that Christ

came to fulfill the law?

3. What kind of harm do you create if you separate

Christ from the law?

4. Can an unbeliever achieve perfection through the

law? Why or why not?


1. To whom was the law first given? Why does this

make the law inferior?

2. What was man’s responsibility to the law?

3. Exactly what has qualified you to receive God’s

promise of righteousness and grace?