FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH: AN EXPOSITION ON PAUL'S WORDS IN ROMANS 10:4
You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible study programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.
Friends, I want to thank the Lord so much for how far He has brought us. This study will be the last in our series on The Law of God.
In this last study, we will consider the topic: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth": an exposition on Paul's words in Romans 10:4. Many in Christendom today have utilized this Pauline text to further the teaching that Christ came to do away with the law. In this study, we are going to ascertain from Scripture whether this popular interpretation is the true meaning of Paul's words in Romans 10:4. We will be considering among other things the original meaning of the key word that makes the text to come alive.
Beloved, if we should do a casual reading of Romans 10:4, the word 'end' in the text may seem to suggest that Paul was claiming that Christ has come to do away with the Moral Law; or that when one comes to believe in Christ, the Moral Law becomes unnecessary. However, when we go further to consider the original language from which the word 'end' was translated, we are likely to come away with an entirely different understanding.
You see friends, the word 'end' as utilized in Romans 10:4 comes from the Greek word 'telos' which can be translated as goal, purpose, objective or end as in the "final part of something". Now, because the same original word (telos) can be translated in diverse ways, it becomes very important to ascertain the context of the text in question so that the appropriate word which fits the context can be selected.
From Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, we learn that the Greek word 'telos' translated as 'end' in Romans 10:4 can mean "'the aim or purpose' of a thing". Moreover, from the 2007 edition of the NKJV Study Bible Commentary, we read the following on Romans 10:4; "End can mean ‘fulfillment’; that is, Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the law. It can also mean ‘goal', to say that Christ was the object to which the law led".
Beloved, it is important to note that Romans 10:4 is not the only place in the KJV Version of the New Testament where the original word 'telos' is to be correctly interpreted as purpose or goal. Another clear example is found in 1 Timothy 1:5.
The KJV renders this text as follows: "Now the END (TELOS) of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned" (1 Timothy 1:5; Emphasis Added).
The NKJV renders this text as follows: "Now the PURPOSE (TELOS) of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5; Emphasis Added).
Friends, it is very clear that the body of translators who worked on the NKJV recognised that the key word 'end' as utilized for the original word 'telos' in 1 Timothy 1:5 of the KJV could be easily misinterpreted as 'end' as in the "final part of something", and thus decided to replace it with the better word 'purpose', which will bring out the clear meaning of the text.
Beloved, the problem of interpreting a key word out of context is exactly the issue with our key text in Romans 10:4. You see friends, to interpret the word 'end' in Romans 10:4 as the "final part of something" distorts the message that Paul intended for the believers in Rome. It is clear from our study so far that the word 'end' in Romans 10:4 should rather be interpreted as goal or purpose. If this is done, the intended message that Paul wanted to give to the believers in Rome comes out clearly as follows: For Christ is the 'goal' of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:4). It is interesting to note that this message now clearly agrees with the totality of Scripture in regard to God's Ten Commandment Law (see Romans 7:12; Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 111:7-8; Matthew 5:17-19).
You see friends; the law is the express character of God. The whole goal or purpose of the law is to teach us to acquire the character of Christ. But this work that it is impossible for mortals to accomplish, the Holy Spirit helps us when we come to believe in Jesus. And day by day, as we keep beholding the spotless Son of God, we become like Him in character, and thus fulfill the perfect requirements of God's holy law (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Exhortation: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).
NB: The definition of end - "final part of something" (Oxford Living Dictionaries).
Stay blessed and keep shining for King Jesus.
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