For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
I. WHAT THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS, SPOKEN OF IN THE TEXT. Evidently that which is necessary in order to eternal life, and which infallibly leads to it (Romans 5:17, 21). It is termed "The righteousness of God" (ver. 3; chap. Romans 1:17), and said to be by faith (Romans 3:21, 22; Philippians 3:9). It implies —
1. Justification (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7); without which, as guilty condemned sinners, we can have no title to eternal life.
2. Regeneration or sanctification (see Philippians 3:9); spoken of Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 3:5, 6; John 3:5, 6; without which we are not in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), and have no fitness for heaven.
3. Practical obedience (Ephesians 2:10); the grand evidence that we are righteous (Luke 1:6; 1 John 3:7). As to the necessity of this, see Romans 2:6, 7; Revelation 22:14; and especially Matthew 7:20, 21.
II. WHERE AND HOW THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO BE FOUND.
1. Not in, or by, the law.
(1) The moral law (Romans 8:3) which requires perfect obedience. This we have not paid, do not, and cannot in future, pay. Hence it finds us guilty, and has no pardon to give us; it finds us depraved, and has no new nature for us; it finds us helpless, and has no supernatural aid to impart.
(2) The ceremonial law. Its sacrifices could not remove sin (Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:4). Its purifications could only impart a ceremonial cleanness, or remove "the filth of the flesh" (Hebrews 9:13; 1 Peter 3:21). Its institutions respecting meats, days, etc. As they did not make the tree good, of course the fruit could not be good (Matthew 12:16-19).
2. But wherefore, then, serveth the law? In Christ was the end for which the law was instituted; the moral law being chiefly to convince men of sin (Romans 3:19, 20; Romans 7:7, 8), and thus to be a "schoolmaster to bring them to Christ" (Galatians 3:19-24), and the ceremonial law to shadow forth His sacrifice and grace. The end may mean —
(1) The scope; the law continually points to Christ; the moral law directs the sinner to Him who fulfilled and removed the curse of it, for that justification which itself cannot give; and the ceremonial law directs him to look from its sacrifices and purifications to the atonement and Spirit of Christ.
(2) The perfection, or completion (1 Timothy 1:5). Christ fulfilled the moral law in fully explaining its meaning, and freeing it from the glosses of the Scribes; in obeying it, in suffering its penalty, and in providing that it may be written in our hearts; He also answered in His person all the types and shadows of the ceremonial law.
(3) The period or termination (Romans 6:21). Thus the whole Mosaic dispensation gives way to the gospel (2 Corinthians 3:11), and its ceremonies are taken out of the way by Christ (Colossians 2:14).
3. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness."(1) For justification, or righteousness imputed, is only to be found in His obedience unto death (Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
(2) Regeneration, a new creation, and entire sanctification are only to be found in Christ, by His Spirit and grace, who is made of God to us sanctification (John 1:14, 16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
(3) Practical righteousness is likewise to be had in Him, His laws direct us how to walk; His promises and threatenings enforce His laws; His example allures us; and His grace enables us to walk in His ways (2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 4:14-16).
III. BY WHOM THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO BE FOUND. By "every one that believeth" (vers. 5-10).
1. Its object is that God hath raised Christ from the dead. This —
(1) Demonstrated Him to be the Son of God (Romans 1:3, 4), and, therefore, the only Saviour able and willing to save to the uttermost. Of this faith is persuaded, and, therefore, trusts in Him for salvation.
(2) Was the broad seal of heaven set to His doctrine, of which faith is so thoroughly persuaded as to lay it to heart and walk according to it.
(3) Was to show that His atonement was sufficient and accepted; of this faith is also persuaded and, therefore, relies solely on the propitiation in His blood for justification (Romans 3:23, etc.; Galatians 2:16-20).
(4) Was that He might ascend, and intercede, and receive for us " the promise of the Father," for which faith thirsts and comes to Him (John 7:37, 38).
(5) He rose and ascended as our Forerunner. This faith believes, and, consequently, anticipates immortality and glory. He rose to give evidence that He will judge all mankind (Acts 17:31). Faith is persuaded of this, and prepares to meet Him.
2. Our faith, in these respects, must be such as will enable us to "make confession with our mouth," therefore it must be "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness" (ver. 10). As to the faith that does not part with sin, and give up everything that stands in competition with Christ, it is dead (James 2:20-26).
3. As to the origin of this faith (see vers 11-17). It arises from the Word and Spirit of God (Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Colossians 2:12). Therefore, hearing, reading, and prayer, are the important means. And in the exercise of that measure of faith we have received, however small, it will be increased.
Parallel VersesKJV: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.