Grace Baptist Church

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The Right Use of the Law

The Right Use of the Law

Mar 26, 2017

Passage: 1 Timothy 1:8-11

Preacher: Tom Ascol

Series: Life in the Household of God

Category: Sunday Morning

Keywords: commandments, gospel, law, moral


Pastor Tom Ascol continues his series on the Pastoral Epistles with a message centered on 1 Timothy 1:8-11 entitled “The Right Use of the Law.” Many people approach God’s Word only on their own terms. This was the problem faced by Timothy in the Ephesian church. However, then as well as today, for those willing to approach the Bible on its own terms refusing to distort it, the Bible is good and profitable, presenting the very words of life.

In today’s passage Paul identifies the false teachers as those who wanted to be regarded as knowledgeable while, in reality, they did not even understand the law. As a result, their teaching was flawed. Paul corrects this misuse of God’s Word by showing how to use it rightly. Paul starts by presenting this theme: The law of God is good. True, the law cannot make a person right with God, it cannot forgive sin, it supplies no strength for right living, but Paul makes three points about the law’s goodness. First, the law must be used lawfully, that is, as God intends it to be used. God’s intent for the law was that it provides a way for sinners to recognize their sinfulness and their need of a savior. The law points the way to Jesus Christ. He alone kept the totality of the law. He died to save lawbreakers. All this, His life and death, was the only way to provide sinners with a right standing before God. Has the law impressed you with your sinfulness so that you would turn to the Savior trusting Him, coming to Him in repentance and faith?

Paul’s second point is that the law has a moral purpose. It was not laid down to make men righteous but was laid down to teach sinners. The law exposes sin and reveals what God says is good and right for us. Doctrine and life go hand-in-hand. Only through knowing God’s laws can we hope to apply them to live a life rightly lived that brings glory to Him and is profitable for us. Finally, with point three Paul teaches us the law supports the gospel. The law tells us “do this;” Jesus has done it. The law says, “pay this;” Jesus paid it on the Cross. The law calls us to righteousness; Jesus has given us His righteousness. The law teaches the soul that sins shall die; Jesus died so sinners might live. It is the law that prepares the way for the gospel to be presented. The stage was set by the law so we might be freed by the Gospel of Christ.

A right understanding of the law is in full harmony with the gospel. When a person recognizes his sin, and is convicted he has not measured up to God’s law, then turns and bows to Jesus Christ as Lord, trusting Him for forgiveness God is glorified. Thus, the truth and the goodness of the law is shown.