I AM the author of the Law but I AM your Righteousness 1 Tim 1:3-11

The Gospel genuinely changes us internally first like a micro wave oven cooking from the

Burnt out, inedible, raw on the inside, no good to anyone.

inside out which is quicker than the external conformity of the O.T. Law like a grill cooks and makes the outside all black and crusty.  And even when they are all black and crusty, they are often raw still on the inside where it matters.

Warning Against False Teachers of the Law

1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Who are you Lord?

I AM the Author of the Law.  My Law reflects my perfection.  I gave it to demand perfection from my people Israel who were to reflect my perfection to the world as a people who would live different than all other nations.  My law, if followed correctly, prevents many of the social, medical, economical, and interpersonal foibles that secular societies have troubles with daily. They would be so attractive as a people group to other nations that all men would come to me to have me as their own God too.  But no, in their pride, the Israelites thought that they were able to do it in their own strength and that I chose them because they were special.  My law showed them that they were not.  That the relationship between Me and them was based on my mercy not their ability.  They received my mercy through the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle and Temple.  My Law shows all men that they are full of sin and that their only hope is my grace, mercy, forgiveness and the hope of my promised redeemer – Christ Jesus.

 I AM your righteousness.  Don’t settle for a righteousness which you establish by your own thinking.  My righteousness is developed within you, not from your own personal source or efforts to establish your own righteousness whether by my old law or other perversions of it.  False doctrines sound good humanistically speaking, and my principles actually do work in and of themselves.  By following laws you do deny ungodliness and many pleasures of the body externally, but like I say in Col 2:23 they lack any real value of restraining sensual indulgences which are internal.  They lack value because they don’t provide you with the power to obey.  They only point out to you when you fail.

  I AM the promised redeemer who came in the flesh.  I fulfilled my own law for you.  I died to perfect you by my sacrifice.  In me you are perfect and holy.  In me you are made acceptable before me.  I also indwell you and give you the whereabouts to live for me in true righteousness.  Only I can give you the power to deny godlessness in this wicked age unlike my Law which only pointed out your failure when you broke it.  This is sound doctrine.  My grace motivates you to be holy like me and to love internal righteousness not just for show.  Only my true Gospel can change your thoughts, and only I can restore my righteous relationship with you in this way.

This passage is about the difference of sound doctrine mentioned in vs 10b and false doctrine vs 3b.  The Law has the power to make people proud and judgmental.  Whether it is the 10 commandments or legalism in general to a set of standards, some church people deem some more spiritual than others by their conformance.  This kind of thinking can land you in the category of false doctrine and traditions of men like the Pharisees and teachers of the law did to the Jews.  They were more concerned with their interpretations of the law than the law itself which Jesus took offense at.

God’s desire is a walk by faith in accordance with the gospel of grace given to the apostles to preach which is a heart changing message, a conscience cleaning message and sincere before the Lord.  The Law’s external constraints impose outward conformance to a set of standards, the gospel provides an inward righteousness which exceeds external appearance like Jesus speaks of.  The Law is impossible to conform to externally and doesn’t change the heart which God sees.  The gospel promotes faith and love which is the fulfillment of the law.   Churches have often settled for external conformance since the early church days which misses the point of faith. 

As hard as the Law is to follow, these people think that they are accomplishing it, not realizing that they are deceiving themselves and in the process adding many things to the message of the cross.  The Law was made to be impossible to follow.  Even God said so in Duet 5:29.  Paul reaffirms it in Rom 7 and 8.  When you leave your faith for the external lifestyle of following any kind of law, you have exchanged living a supernatural life, for a lifestyle of that of mere men.

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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