Throughout the long course of Paul’s letter to the Romans he wrote extensively about how the Law could not justify us before God. Rather he is trying to teach the true intent of the law which, from the beginning, was to point us to Christ.
After building his case against mankind in the first two chapters, Paul wrote in Romans 3, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference” (Romans 3:21, Romans 3:22).
He showed that this way had always been God’s plan from the very beginning.
Both the Law and the Prophets of God testified about Jesus as the means for justification. We were never supposed to cling to the Law to bring us into right relationship with God. The Law was meant to condemn us; this is why Paul said in Corinthians “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Then went on to call the Law the “ministration of death” because that is what it was (2 Corinthians 3:7). It only brought us death. It accused us before God, it showed us our guilt before God, and it magnified our sin before God. It could never justify us, instead it silenced us and held us accountable (Romans 3:19).
But do we really grasp what it means to say; “Christ is the End of the Law?”
Romans 10:4 English Standard Version
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. [a]
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Do we genuinely know what Romans 10:4 really means? Because of the great misunderstanding of this verse, a lot of Christians missed its real meaning. Join me now as we try to discover what it means for Christ to be the end of the law.
Christ is the end of the law.
That is what Romans 10:4 says.
However, a lot of people believe this verse proves we don’t have to keep the law.
Is this what Romans 10:4 really mean?
Let’s try to sort it out and try to find out what God, through Paul is teaching us.
Examining the Greek word
Romans 10:4 tells us:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
To better understand this verse, we need to look into the original Greek word of “end.”
According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary,
the word “end” in Romans 10:4 came from the Greek word, “telos,” which means, “to set out for a definite point or goal).”
Now, compare this definition to Thayer’s Greek Definitions where it says telos means “termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time).”
Thayer also defines it as “the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose.”
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words include variations in meaning such as “‘the aim or purpose’ of a thing.”
Looking into these diverse and various meanings, telos can mean the “end” or the “aim or goal.”
What does Romans 10:4 mean?
Now, we must ask, which one of these meanings does Paul really intend to use?
Most Christians would say telos means “the end” and thus, Romans 10:4 tells us that Christ is the end of the law. They conclude that the law ceases from being effective and that all we need is faith.
In short, faith voids the law.
However, I believe this understanding runs contrary to what the Apostle Paul says in the same letter, Romans 3:31: “Do we then make VOID the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”
What does Romans 10:4 mean when it says, “Christ is the end of the law?”
Paul clearly tells us that faith does not negate the law of God. He goes on to say that instead of putting an end to the law, we, as Christians, should establish it!
Obviously, the main purpose of Paul in Romans 10:4 isn’t to end the law, but Christ is the aim of the law.
1 Timothy 1:5 English Standard Version
5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Notice how telos is properly translated in I Timothy 1:5:
- New King James Version – Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.
- New Revised Standard Version – But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
- New American Standard Bible – But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.
- New English Translation – But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
- English Standard Version – The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
That should be enough to tell us the word telos doesn’t entirely mean the end or put a stop, but rather it can be translated as “goal,” “aim,” and “purpose.”
So, back to Romans 10:4, this verse can and should be properly translated as:
“For Messiah [Christ] is the goal of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
What is the true meaning of Romans 10:4?
Because of the wrong interpretation of most Christians, it is really possible they have missed the genuine magnitude of Paul’s real message in Romans 10:4.
In English, when we say, “end,” it can mean objective or goal.
You probably heard of the famous but wrong belief of Sergey Nechayev, the 19th century Russian revolutionary, “The end justifies the means.”
In this expression, we understand the word “end” here means goal, purpose, or aim. How do we know?
Because the main reason why Sergey said this is he believes as long as the “end” or goal is morally acceptable, whatever means you use would also be acceptable.
Of course, we know that’s incorrect, but the point I’m getting to get at here is that the English word “end” varies in meaning and you need to get the context to know its real intention.
In the same way, Romans 10:4 tells us that Christ is the end [the goal, the aim] of the law. We need to dig deeper to get the context to know its real meaning.
In the initial verses of Romans 10, we read:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
Paul was saying here that Israel is zealous, but they are doing it with the wrong understanding. For many Jews during the time of Paul, they are trying to earn their salvation by keeping the law of God.
Now, please try to understand, it doesn’t mean it is wrong for them to keep the law, but their motivation and their purpose were misguided. They thought that by themselves, by their works, they can earn salvation and gain God’s grace.
That’s why the Apostle Paul needed to explain to them that they need the sacrifice of Yahshua or Jesus Christ to be cleansed of their sins.
By believing and accepting the sacrifice of Yahshua, they can now submit to the “righteousness of God” instead of establishing their “own righteousness.”
When Paul wrote in Romans 10:4 the Messiah is the goal or aim of the law, Paul was pointing them, and us today, in 2022, to Yahshua.
He was saying to all who would believe, we must make it our goal, our aim to develop the mind, character of our Savior and Master, Yahshua the Messiah!
That’s the deeper truth and the critically important point of Apostle Paul here.
He was not trying to abolish the law in Romans 10:4, but rather, he was teaching that our ultimate goal in keeping the law is to become more and more like Yahshua.
Remember, Yahshua is the living Word of God.
He is the perfect representation of how we must keep the law, what our motivation should be in keeping the law, and what the law really teaches.
So, when we obediently follow God’s laws and commandments, bear in mind that we keep them to help us develop Christ’s character, mind, and wisdom.
Understanding the implications of this profound truth will completely free you in every sense of the word. We are called to a higher goal, a higher aim, to live a life of freedom and this also includes after we come to Christ. Many understand salvation by grace, but no sooner than they come to accept the transformation of Christ’s salvation they put on the yoke of slavery again.
Many start out accepting this grace that Christ offers only to return to the Law as a means to live. We pick it up again to dictate the Christian life instead of living in the freedom to which we were called.
As Christians the Law is not for us it was nailed to the cross with Jesus. We do not need it as a basis of how to live because we have the Holy Spirit as our guide to lead us into all truth (John 14:26, John 16:13-15).
God said, through the Apostle Paul that “Christ is the end of the law …” (Romans 10:4), and this rings true especially for Christians.
Today I am so thankful my righteousness came through Christ. I am glad that he has cancelled the written code that stood and accused me. He has become the end of the Law and the aim in my life so I can live by faith. Today, I pray we all understand this blessed truth and experience this freedom in our life, Amen!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to be the end of the Law to all who trust in Him as Saviour. I confess that of myself I can-do no-good thing but praise Your holy name that I can do all things through Christ, Who has become my righteousness, and in Whose name I pray. AMEN.