To understand this article it is imperative that they first understand that throughout the entire Bible (Old and New Testament), no person (except Jesus) was ever declared righteous, right with God, because of their good works or law keeping. Every single time a person is declared righteous, right with God, it is always by faith. They believed God, and God declared them righteous. Righteousness (right standing with God) in the Bible is never about man’s own self-righteousness or a combination of His Righteousness plus our righteousness, it is always exclusively about His Righteousness alone - Matt 6:33. Read more HERE about His Righteousness. If you do not understand this fact, you cannot understand the Bible.
The Purpose of the Law
For by works of the law no human being will be justified (made righteous) in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.Rom 3:20 ESV
Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Rom 7:7 ESV
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. Rom 3:19 ESV
Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring (Jesus) should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Gal 3:19
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian/(schoolmaster) until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Gal 3:23-26 ESV
The Bible makes it very clear that the Old Covenant law of Moses cannot justify any person Gal 3:11. The law has specific purposes. Primarily it is designed to make mankind aware of their sin and lead them to the savior.
1) It was designed to stop every mouth from justifying ourselves (Rom 3:19), to give us the knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7).It protected, guarded me from your fallen nature and you form before we accepted salvation. The law led us to Jesus, at which point we are no longer under a guardian, under the law. In Christ we are sons of God through faith. (Gal 3:23-36). We have eternal life and it no longer matters when we fall asleep here on earth. We have believed the main thing God has asked us to believe and we are righteous in Christ (2 Cor 5:21) and co-heirs with Jesus (Rom 8:17).
From the time of Adams disobedience, original sin, to the time Moses gave the Ten Commandments, there was no law for man to transgress (roughly 2550 years). Sin was present, but where there is no law, sin is not counted against man.
for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. Rom 5:13-14 ESV
Without the law, our inherited sin natures got out of hand very quickly and things were much worse than we see today. The flood that wiped out all those who did not believe God, the unrighteous, came in about 1,500 years after Adam. There were only a handful of people who believed God, the righteous, left on earth when the flood happened. Only eight people were righteous (believed God), Noah and his family got into Ark by faith. (The Ark is an Old Testament picture of Christ. See more HERE.) Though the storm raged outside, all who were in the Ark survived as all will who are in Christ.
Less than 500 years after the flood, we see the destruction of Sodom. Right before the destruction of Sodom, we see Righteous Abraham (he believed God Gen 15:6) negotiating with God in Genesis 18:16-33. Abraham is trying to get God to change his mind about destroying Sodom. God agrees to change his mind if there are at least 10 righteous (those who believe God) people there. In the end God destroys Sodom, saving only righteous Lot and his family (because they believed God). This clearly tells us there were not even 10 righteous (those who believe God) people in Sodom. Read story HERE. Bible timeline Here.
The destruction we see in the flood and Sodom were all required so that there would remain a remnant who believed God. If no one believed God, there would be no one for the savior to come into the world through when the time had come. With no savior there would be no salvation and eternal life for mankind. There were other times when God acted to protect a remnant so Jesus could come. See verses about the remnant HERE.
Moses gave the law in about 1446 BC which is roughly 3,500 years ago. As we have reviewed this was to protect people from each other’s fallen nature, make people aware of their sin and their need for a savior.
Once you understand that the sole way a person is made righteous by God is by believing God, you can clearly see that God’s law has completed exactly what it was intended to do. Before Moses gave the law, we saw how quickly things got to the point where only a handful of believers were left, 1500 years. We saw that God had to step in and stop things or there would have not been a single believer left. The law was the tool God used to make man aware of his sinfulness, inherited sin nature (Rom 5:19) and need to believe in, trust in God.
If Abraham was here today negotiating for the righteous, God would point out to him how the law led man to recognize their sin and turn to the savior, thus fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham - I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore... Gen 22:17.
Abraham is rejoicing that since the law was given, billions of people have come to believe in God and believe specifically in what he asked us to believe. We believe His only begotten son Jesus is the Messiah. We believe that Jesus died and paid for our sins, and rose from the dead for our justification. We have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
We believe that with Jesus one act of obedience and our faith, we have been made righteous, right with God (Rev 12:11, Rom 5:19, 2 Cor 5:21).
So, the next time you hear someone say that God is going to destroy the United States because of sin, explain to them the only way man has ever been right with God is by faith not by law keeping. Then point out to them that there are far more than 10 righteous people in the United States. If God would spare Sodom for just 10 righteous people, what makes you think he would destroy the USA where millions of righteous people live? Our God is a good and just God, all of our sin was punished and paid for in Christ on the cross. Therefore, God is righteous in making the sinner righteous.Read more HERE about the Law of Moses.Read articles about the New Covenant HERE.