For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:10-13).
In this day where the grace of God is exaggerated to the extreme in some churches, here is a post to bring some balance, and to show the purpose for the law of God. Jesus did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. In Matthew 5:17, He said: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
The purpose of the law of God is stated clearly in scripture. It’s purpose is to convict the conscience of the person without God. Without the law of God, the sinner would not be aware of his sinfulness, and his need of a savior. Notice 1 Timothy 1:8-11: We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
Again, in our witnessing to the lost, it’s important to appeal to the conscience. No person will really long for salvation by faith in the blood of Jesus until they are aware of their extreme need for salvation.
Don’t offer a person the cure until they are aware of the illness. A perfectly healthy person will not be interested in the latest pill they will cure a disease that they don’t have.
The conscience must be smitten by the conviction of the Holy Spirit before the unbeliever will want salvation. The above verse gives a great clue as to how best to win the lost. As you’ve developed a conversation with an unbeliever, ask them, Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, disobeyed your parents, committed adultery, or killed anyone? 1 John says that if you hate your brother, you’ve the same as a murderer. Jesus said the look to lust is the same as the act of adultery.
If I’m guilty of breaking any on the Ten Commandments, I’m guilty of breaking them all! For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws (James 2:10). Then at death, the scripture reveals, It’s appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). The penalty for breaking moral law is incarceration in hell, then the lake of fire!
Once an unbeliever sees his guilty state before God, then the gospel really is good news. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!
Too many times we seek to win the unbeliever to Jesus by dangling the carrot of blessing in front of him. Come to Jesus, and He will heal you, prosper you, bless you, etc. While these things are true, they don’t convict of personal sin, and an unbeliever will not be saved without being first convicted of personal sin.
While we are saved by grace, we should still cherish and hold in high esteem the law of God, otherwise known as the Ten Commandments. The law shows us God’s Holy character, and shows us how to live and get along in a fallen world filled with sin.
We’re gone too far when we have the idea that some have that the law is no longer important. Look at what has happened to the American culture in just a few years since we have decided that God’s law means nothing. We are less safe than we were, and every level of our culture has been affected by the breakdown of the moral fabric that once held us together.
Let’s esteem God’s law, let’s put it in its proper place, and let’s allow it to do what it was intended to do, which is bring the conviction of sin!
I’ll leave you with these quotes from men of God of yesteryear:
Before I can preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, law, and judgment…In writing to a young friend, he advised… “Preach 90% law and 10% grace (John Wesley).
They must be slain by the Law before they can be made alive by the Gospel (Charles Spurgeon).
I have found by long experience that the severest threatenings of the Law of God have a prominent place in leading men to Christ. They must see themselves lost before they will cry for mercy. They will not escape from danger until they see it ( A.B. Earle -wrote the hymn – Bringing in the Sheaves).
(On using the Law of God to bring conviction)…But more, there is war between thee and God’s Law. The commandments are against thee. The first comes forward and says, Let him be cursed, for he denies Me. He has another god besides Me, his god is his belly, he yieldeth homage to his lust. All the Ten Commandments, like ten great cannons, are pointed at thee today, for you have broken all God’s statutes, and lived in daily neglect of all His commands. Soul! Thou wilt find it a hard thing to go to war with the Law…What will you do when the Law comes in terror, when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave, when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul, when the great books shall be opened, and all your sin and shame shall be punished? (Charles Spurgeon).
Our churches are full of the nicest, kindest people who have never known the despair of guilt or the breathless wonder of forgiveness (P.T. Forsyth).