The chapter closes with another of the apostle’s questions, this a very important one, and one whose answer I fear is often wrongly understood.  He asks if we, by preaching this Gospel of free grace through faith the blood and righteousness of Christ, without the works of the law, then make void the law.  Paul knew, and had probably heard, this objection from his Jewish kinsmen, who would argue that this doctrine which made God the Saviour of both Jew and Gentile by the same method made the law of God which had been delivered to them utterly superfluous.  If all sinners of every background were saved the same way, and without law-keeping being in the picture, then why did God ever give the Jews the law and instruct them to keep it?


Such reasoning, of course, rose from a complete misapprehension of the purpose of the law.  Paul has shown us that the law was given so that we could identify sin, and see that man has no hope of justifying himself before God.  The law gives us the knowledge of sin, but telling us what to do and warning us about what we ought not to do.  Any honest man will be compelled to admit he has no perfectly fulfilled every commandment of the law.  This of necessity leaves him under condemnation, because the law itself declares, “Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.”  This very thing shows us just how much we need a salvation that is entirely of grace.

The Jews were so thoroughly imbued with their idea that they could merit acceptance with God by their observation of the law that they drew the very erroneous conclusion that Paul’s doctrine made the law pointless.  The apostle will not tolerate such a suggestion for a moment.  Rather than making void the law through faith, he argues that his doctrine establishes the law.  By this, he means that the Gospel of God’s free grace through faith in Christ puts the law in its proper place, and places men in the proper relationship to it.  Rather than attempting to be saved by it, those who understand Paul’s doctrine will see the law as a schoolmaster that drives them to Christ, and then once saved as a rule of life to regulate their conduct for the honor of God, but not for the saving of their souls.