God, teach us to know our nakedness, and clothe us in the robe of righteousness. Amen.
Text: Romans 10:4-10
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
We note two things in this text: 1) “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes;” 2) Christ is in the mouth and heart of the believer by means of the Word. Today we consider only the first: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” This means: The law was our tutor until Christ (Gal 3:24), and has Him as its final goal. Next: The law is fulfilled by Christ. Whoever believes in Christ is justified from the curse of the law, and the love of the law is perfected in him.
Paul is extremely zealous for the righteousness of God. No one can lessen the demand of the law. No one can bargain with the holy and righteous God. Do all that the law requires, all in its full sense, inwardly and outwardly. Have love in its true sincerity and its power over all your thoughts, words, and deeds. Then the law will justify you. But if you fall short of this, the law condemns you. Whoever will recognize this and strive to do it seriously will feel the severe strength of the law. Such a person will become a sinner and be chastened until Christ. For Christ alone has fulfilled the law.
But whoever then comes to Christ and believes in Him will be counted by God as one with Christ: what Christ has done, I have done. What Christ suffered, I have suffered. I have kept the law, in that Christ has kept it for me. I have paid for my transgressions, in that Christ suffered death for me. I have really come to the end with the law and am released from it and dead to it by the body of Christ. I no longer belong to the law, but to Him who died for me and lives for me. The law is not destroyed, but fulfilled. It is fulfilled now even in me, for now I love God and my neighbor from my whole heart. And Christ in me shall perfect lovingkindness in my heart, until finally, at death, all my wicked flesh and blood, which is still under the scourge of the law, shall be completely destroyed.
But the second point which our text emphasizes is just as precious as the first. By God’s grace we will consider it tomorrow. Think diligently on Christ today, and understand that He is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
O God, give us eyes opened by the Spirit to see the righteous demand of the law, and give us hearts which feel our sin with contrition and believe on Jesus Christ, so that we indeed may share in His justification. Amen.
As Christ hath full atonement made
And brought to us salvation,
So may each Christian now be glad
And build on this foundation:
Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,
Thy death now is my life indeed,
For Thou hast paid my ransom.
The law reveals the guilt of sin,
And makes man conscience-stricken;
The gospel then doth enter in,
The sin-sick soul to quicken.
Come to the cross, look up and live!
The law no peace to thee doth give,
Nor can its deeds bring comfort.
Speratus: Salvation unto us is come L 190:5-6. ELH 227:6.9 tr. Composite;
tune: Es ist das Heil