What does it mean that the 'law is for the sinful man and not for the righteous man?'


1 Timothy 1:9 - 10

ESV - 9 Understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers. 10 The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 05 2015 9aa51e4b447252291b959c696fb96539 400x400 Jeremiah Kaaya

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Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
The Law is an instrument for restraint not empowerment. God gave the law to the Israelites on an intermediate basis because He foreknew that ultimately it will not succeed in leading men to true obedience.

This is why Paul compares the law to a son under tutelage who cannot access his inheritance until he is of age or at the time appointed by his Father (Galatians 4:1-7). This implies that the Jews were therefore perpetually kept in spiritual tutelage until Christ! 

In the secular settings, legal codes are meant to restrain undesired behavior and to punish the errant in society. Even with the most restrictive legal sanctions, people will still break the law! There is no denying, however, that many more have been restrained from committing a felony for fear of being turned in.

Those who ritually obey the law are therefore motivated by the fear of legal condemnation rather than a genuine desire for obedience to God. 

Biblically speaking, the Law of Moses simply pointed to the sin and prescribed the sanction but provided no cure for its victim's penchant and gravitation to disobedience. When Christ came, He wrote the new law in the hearts of those who follow him in saving faith. Jeremiah 31:33 says "...I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

This new spiritual Israel is guided by the Holy Spirit and not by the laws of men. They are free from the bondage of legal condemnation to which the Jews for centuries until Christ were subject. When Christ came, there was a game-changer. The victim was declared the victor by means of His finished works of the cross at Calvary.

How did this happen? Romans 8:1-2 declares that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Believers in Christ are not by any means perfect in obedience but His grace covers their imperfection and by His blood they are justified and declared guiltless before the throne of mercy and fully adopted into God's household.

We Gentiles, who were not party to the Abrahamic covenant, were finally grafted into it with the Jews and together in Christ we constituted the new spiritual Israel.

Therefore, it is impossible for any man to please God by following the Law. Only the law of grace enables the redeemed of Christ to please Him. This is why Paul cautioned the Galatians to run away from the entanglement of the law and abide in the grace of Christ. The Bible declares in Galatians 5:4 "... whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

The law and the spirit are like oil and water. They can never mix. We are either in the grace of Christ and therefore led of His Spirit or we are lost to the spirit of legalism and self righteousness which does not take us anywhere closer to God. 

The righteous man who lives in Christ therefore operates under the grace while the legalistic religious man who has not discovered fullness of joy in Christ serves the Law in futility. Romans 10:4 says "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

We no longer need to depend on the Mosaic Law but the law of Christ which He has put in our hearts by His Spirit and which He has graciously revealed to us through His written word in Scripture.

How ought we to walk then in the light of this truth? Paul provides the answer in Galatians 5:16: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

January 07 2015 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Thomas K M A retired Defence Scientist from Indian Defence R&D Orgn.
Law is holy just and good (Rom. 7:12). Sin will not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace(Rom.6:14).

Law cannot save from sin. Are you on trusting in yourself to keep all Ten Commandments all the time? You cannot do that. Jesus has fulfilled all the commandments all the time for you. Strength of sin is law and deliverance from sin and law go together. We had been united to the living Christ. Our freedom from sin and the law is a living and abiding experience.

Christ becomes of our daily experience. Law of spirit of life in Christ Jesus made us free from the law of sin and death(Rom.8:2)

When we receive God's gift of grace He does provide us with a bar code that assures us,our entrance into heaven. The divine scanner in heaven registers our righteousness. All because of the price He paid on the cross.

July 14 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Gary Patton People Development Coach to Christians
Jeremiah, I would suggest that the Apostle Paul is telling his mentee, Timothy, as well as us, in this passage, to use the Hebrew Law to evangelize non-followers of Jesus.

You can discover another passage in Galatians 3:24-25 by which, to me, Holy Spirit commands Jesus Followers to use The Law to evangelize. 

Blessings in Him!

January 06 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

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