Born Under the Law

December 23, 2018

When the Bible says that God will make all things beautiful in its time, this was proven true in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul explained it beautifully: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). God carefully handpicked Mary, a virgin, to bring about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not only did God look for a clean vessel, he also provided the seed to Mary so that the son that was born was sinless and was appropriately called the Son of God. And because the seed was from God, Jesus did not inherit the sinful nature that comes from Adam.

Jesus was not only born of a woman, he was also born under the law. He was subject to the law of Moses under which God provided for the salvation of the people. Although the law was the basis of salvation then, who could be saved under it? If we consider the words of the apostle James, practically no one can be saved by the law. He said, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). The law is inflexible and it demands strict compliance.

As far as observance of the law is concerned, not even the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the law at the time of Jesus could meet its righteous requirements. This group of people were very dedicated in the study of the law so that they could practically memorize and recite the verses. However, Jesus told his disciples, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). The Pharisees and teachers of the law were good in the outward observance of the law – who could surpass them? But Jesus exposed them saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt. 23:25-26). There is a need to go beyond the letter of the law. It is the spirit of the law that gives life.

Since no one can be saved by the law, what then is the hope of mankind? The only hope is Jesus, whom the Father sent to become our Messiah, Advocate and Sustainer. He is the MAS in CHRISTMAS.
Because we all have sinned, and the penalty of sin is death, we need Jesus as our Messiah. As mentioned, the law is inutile, it cannot save. The apostle Paul said, “Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ…by observing the law no one will be justified” (Gal. 2:16). As far as the law is concerned, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). Indeed, he came to fulfill the righteous requirements of the sacrificial law, so that the law which prescribed the offering of the blood of animals for the forgiveness of sin was done away with. He came once for all to offer his own blood for the remission of sin. He died on our behalf, and by receiving him now as our Messiah, we have overcome the penalty of sin, and by God’s grace we are saved.

While we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, we still struggle with sin in this life. But by the grace of God, he also gave us Jesus as our Advocate. The apostle John appropriately presented this truth when he said, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). He will continue to plead before the Father for us. He knows that we are frail and he came to identify with us. “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).

As we press on towards our goal of getting into heaven, we need Jesus as our Sustainer. He will keep us together and will supply everything that we need in life. He will sustain us with his unfailing love. And unlike the law that was weakened by sin, Jesus is “sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb 1:3).

Indeed, the law cannot save. “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law’” (Gal. 3:10). Therefore, let us trust and believe in Jesus, who was born under the law to fulfill its requirement, so that we may be saved. Jesus is our Messiah, Advocate and Sustainer. Hallelujah!