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Key Verse: Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Question: What does the key verse mean to you?


Our Key Verse says that the knowledge of sin, that is the awareness of what is right and what is wrong, comes by the law because the law identifies sin (Romans 7:7). By identifying sin, the law informs the sinner that he is lost and leads him to the redemption offered by Christ. Redemption gives the recipient freedom from the death sentence of the law and also the gift of faith to obey the law in his life. To live a spiritual life in Christ is the main purpose of God’s Law, to teach us what things are righteous and to identify those things that are wrong so we can do those things which are right. We show our love for Him by keeping His law (1 John 5:3) and will receive mercy (Exodus 20:6). If a certain act is forbidden by God’s law, the commission of that act is a sin because the law forbidding it has been violated. Sin is the breaking of the law (1 John 3:4). Therefore, if there is no law to disobey then no sin can take place (Romans 4:15). Without the law, there is no sin (Romans 5:13) and it should be obvious to the most casual observer that there is definitely sin in this world. All have sinned, (Romans 3:23) so the law must exist.

Some faiths would have us believe that the law is no longer valid, that it has been “done away”. Some of the Scriptures used by them are:

There is a very good example of the law becoming void under certain conditions (Romans 7:1-3; I Corinthians 7:39). The widow is released from the law binding her to her husband when he dies, freeing her to remarry if she so chooses. According to the doctrine of some churches, this means that the law has been abolished and all the women in the land can go out and commit bigamy. This is nonsense, of course. We can easily understand that the law which no longer applies to this widow still applies to all other women still married. It has not been “done away”. The widow is free from the marriage law the same as the saved person is free from the death penalty for sin, but the rest of the married women are still bound by the marriage law the same as the lost are still under the death penalty for their sins and need the law to show them the error of their ways. The Christian is free from the law of sin and death just as the widow is free from the law of marriage, but Christians are subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, the law of obedience, whereas the lost are still subject to the law of death just as wives, in the same world as widows, are still subject to the marriage vows. Basically, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ is love. If the law is abolished, there is only condemnation and the death sentence, leaving the lost with no pathway to redemption (1 Timothy 1:9). The law has been compared to a schoolmaster, or teacher, that guides the sinner to salvation (Galatians 3:22-25). After graduating from school, do you forget and never use all you learned, burn your books and hang the teacher? Of course not! The knowledge you acquired in school is essential to live a better life. So the law, which brought you to salvation, has accomplished its task in doing so, but the continued observance of it is necessary for a better life also -- an eternal life. (Romans 8:2). The realization by the sinner of his lost state comes from the instruction of the law, then after redemption, the law as a schoolmaster is replaced by Christ, our High Priest.

The purpose of the law is to get us on the right path and keep us there. Jesus made it very clear when He said that He came to insure that God’s will, revealed through the law, should be “obeyed as it should be” [Thayer’s Lexicon], the meaning of the word “fulfil” in the verse. (Matthew 5:17-19). This declaration by Jesus Himself makes it quite clear that His Crucifixion had nothing to do with the extinction of all the law. We are told to use and keep the law (James 2:8; Romans 2:13) because without it there is no guidance to salvation and no reliable pattern for our behavior after salvation. Salvation is not earned by keeping the law, it is found through the law. Obedience is the result of true repentance. Salvation is a gift through the grace of God, Who is merciful toward us and has accepted the price paid for our sins by His Son (I John 4:9). Certain laws were abolished because of the sacrifice of God’s Son, but not all of them. Which types were brought to an end and which types remain today will be the subject of the next lessons, since some of the Old Testament laws are no longer observed. Which ones are they? In the next several lessons we will discuss the four different types of law and how they apply today.



  1. Is obedience of the law required for salvation?
    (Luke 23:39-43)

  2. What do you think makes a person aware of their lost state?
    (Romans 7:7)

  3. How do they know what to do about it and how to proceed with the solution?
    (Matthew 19:17)

Psalm 119:92 Without the law we would die in our sin.
Matthew 15:9 Evil thoughts proceed out of the heart.
John 14:23 Jesus said if a man loves me, he will keep my words.
Romans 3:28 Man is justified by faith, not by the law.
Romans 7:12 The law is as the commandment, holy, just, and good.
1 Corinthians 2:9 Man has not imagined the things God has for them that love Him.
Ephesians 2:8-10 We are saved by grace through faith, not by works, but we are created for good works, God having ordained that we should perform them.
1 Timothy 1:8 The law is good, if a man uses it lawfully.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that resists temptation.
James 2:5 God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, heirs to the Kingdom which he has promised to them who love him.
1 John 2:3-4 He that says I know him and does not keep His commandments is a liar.
Revelation 12:17 The remnant of the church are they which keep the commandments of God.

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