The Bible Echo



August 4, 1902

The Law and the Gospel


The greatest difficulties the apostle Paul had to meet in his labours arose from the influence of Judaizing teachers. These had made much trouble and caused dissensions at Corinth. Paul wrote his second epistle to the church in order to settle their minds in reference to the gospel of Christ. The Judaizing teachers were continually presenting the virtues of the law and the ceremonies, exalting these above the gospel of Christ, and bringing Paul under condemnation because he did not urge upon the people the ceremonies that typified Christ, and were therefore of no value since Christ's death. Paul took them on their own ground. He says, “If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:7-9. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 1

The law of God given in awful grandeur from Sinai was the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. The transgressor died without mercy. The proclamation of that law and the repetition of it in the holy mount was so sacred and so glorious that upon the face of Moses was reflected a glory which the people could not look upon without pain, so that Moses covered his face with a veil. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 2

“Much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” Verses 9, 10. It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is no power in the law to pardon. The glory that shone upon the face of Moses was the righteousness of Christ in the law. He saw to the end of that which was to be abolished when type should meet antitype in Jesus Christ. In consequence of the transgression of the law of God, death was introduced into the world. The slain lamb typified the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. The full significance of the typical offerings pointing to Christ was unfolded to Moses. Death came in consequence of sin. Sin was the transgression of the law. Christ revealed in the gospel was the propitiation for men's sins, the transgression of the law. His perfection of character was placed in man's behalf. The curse of the law Christ took upon Himself. It was the seeing to the end of that which was to be abolished, that which brought to light the plan of salvation in Christ,—it was this that illuminated the face of Moses. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 3

If the typical sacrifices which were done away were glorious because Christ was revealed by them as the sin-pardoning Saviour, much more that which remains is glorious. The moral law was bondage and death to those who remained under its condemnation. The law was ordained to life, that those who were obedient, walking in harmony with its claims, should have the reward of the faithful—eternal life. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 4

Moses saw that only through Jesus Christ could man keep the law of God. Paul says, “The commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Romans 7:10), death to the sinner. The types and ceremonies, with the prophecies, gave ancient believers a veiled or indistinct discovery of the mercy and grace to be brought to light through the revelation of Jesus Christ to our world. The law itself would have no glory were it not that Christ is embodied in it. The revelation of Jesus Christ cast its glory back into the Jewish age. The law had no power to save. It was lustreless, only as Christ was represented in the law as the One full of righteousness and truth. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 5

And when Christ was revealed in His advent to our world, and died man's sacrifice, type met antitype. Then the glory of that which is not typical, not to be done away, but which remaineth, God's law of ten commandments, the standard of righteousness, was plainly discerned as immutable by all who saw to the end of that which was abolished. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 6

Paul would have his brethren discern that Christ, pointed out in types and shadows, had come, and the greater glory of a sin-pardoning Saviour gave significance to the entire Jewish economy. Without Christ, the law of itself was only condemnation and death to the transgressor. It has no saving quality,—no power to shield the transgressor from its penalty. The full penalty of the law will be executed upon the transgressor if he does not receive Christ as his atoning sacrifice and personal Saviour. BEcho August 4, 1902, par. 7