What is the goal of the law? Do we “get it”?


John Piper on 1 Timothy 1:6-7

Then Paul introduces us to some men who are making a mess of the law, and not arriving at the goal of love either! Verse 6: “For some men, straying from these things [that is, “a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith”], have turned aside to fruitless discussion, (7) wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

gavel01These “law-teachers” do not understand that the goal of the law, which is love, is pursued not by “works of law” but by inner spiritual transformation which the law itself cannot bring about. They don’t get it. Paul says they do not know what they are talking about. They are trying to teach the law, but they are turning aside from matters of the heart and conscience and faith. And that means they are not using the law lawfully. And that is why they are not arriving at the goal of love.

Oh, how we need to take heed here! There are hundreds of people today who put themselves forward in America as teachers of the law – marriage law, child-rearing law, financial-planning law, church-growth law, leadership law, evangelism law, missions law, racial-justice law. But here’s the key question: do they understand the gospel dynamic for bringing about the change they seek? I say this only to alert you.

Are the radio programs you are learning from and the articles and books you are reading permeated by a lawful use of the law? Do the speakers and writers understand the dynamic of dying to the law and belonging to Christ by faith alone as the essential means of becoming the people of love that we ought to be? Who today would Paul speak these words over: “[They want] to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions”? In other words, they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the gospel way that human beings are changed in a way that glorifies Christ. We need to be prepared and able to assess these things. That’s why Paul wrote this to Timothy.

Read or listen to the rest of this sermon by John Piper

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