So why do some want to make God’s Law contrary to God’s Grace? Continuing the theme of God’s Law from the previous post which emphasised God’s Law as a Law of love, Carolyn Arends describes God’s Law as being good news.
It is interesting to note a concern in some of the comments that follow Arends’ article. Some see Galatians 3:19-25, as having done away with the Law of God. It is a view that Walter Martin projects in his book, The Kingdom of the Cults (pp, 594-595, 616). We have already dealt with Walter Martin’s view on the Law of God in a previous post, refuting his interpretation of the Law of God in Galatians 3. Whether it is the 10 Commandments or the Ceremonial Law, or any other law, I would agree with Martin that law keeping of any kind does not merit salvation; salvation is God’s gracious gift to all who accept Jesus Christ and what He has done for us (John 3:16; Romans 6:23). But, that doesn’t mean that the function of the Law of God has been made redundant or been replaced by God’s grace. As previous articles have shown, God’s grace carries no meaning without the Law of God. Where there is no law, there is no sin, and where there is no sin there is no need of salvation – and so, no need of a Saviour, no need of Jesus! To debunk the Law of God is to make nonsense of the cross.
Beside the comments on the Law of God from noted preachers and theologians in previous posts, here is another on Galatians 3 by the noted New Testament scholar, William Hendriksen.
On Galatians 3:19, “Why then the Law? If the law given at Sinai was unable to impart righteousness, then what possible good could it do?” asks Hendriksen. “Of what use was it?” . . . “Paul adds, ‘By reason of the transgression it was added’; it was given to man in addition to the promise in order to bring about within his heart and mind an awakened sense of guilt. A vague awareness of the fact that all is not right with him will not drive him to the Saviour. Only when he realises that his sins are transgression of the law of that God who is also his Judge and whose holiness cannot brook such digressions, such constant stepping aside from the appointed path, will he, when this knowledge is applied to his heart by the Holy Spirit, cry out for deliverance.”
Some comments I have read see the expression in Galatians 3:19, “having been ordained through angels by the agency of an intermediary” as denying the law its continuing authority for the believer. However, Hendriksen reminds his readers, that while it is not stated who ordained it, “it is clear from such passages as Rom 7:22, 25; 8:7, that the law’s Author was God Himself. It was He who also decreed it. ‘And God spoke all these words saying, “I am Jehovah, your God,”” etc. (Ex 20:1 ff).
And so Hendriksen points out that, “As soon as it is understood that the two differ in their objectives – the law aiming to lead the sinner to Christ and His gracious promise; the promise “in Christ” aiming to save him – it becomes clear that they cannot be viewed as being in conflict with each other” (On Gal. 3:21).
With those thoughts from William Hendricksen supporting the views of those opposing Arends’ article on the basis of their interpretation of the law in Galatians 3, (is there an influence there from Walter Martin?), I see her complementing what others have said on the purpose and function of the law in my previous posts. What Carolyn Arends has to say on the Law of God is well supported by orthodox Christian teaching, including that by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. See for instance what Spurgeon thought about The Ten Commandments.