The Way Made Plain

By James H. Brookes

Chapter 7



"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."—Romans x. 4.

Having proved by the testimony of God, first, that man needs salvation, second, that his sincerity cannot save him, and, third, that his righteousness cannot save him, it may be asked by my reader. How then can he be saved? The reply to this inquiry has already been given incidentally in the passages of Scripture that were quoted for another purpose; but in the present chapter I ask your attention to the special discussion of a subject which is beyond all comparison the most important that can engage our regard. We know not how soon death may come to summon us away to our unchanging destiny beyond the grave, nor how soon the Lord may come to gather His people to Himself as a preliminary step to the infliction of terrific judgments upon the inhabitants of the earth; and surely every reasonable man must see that the question of his salvation should be distinctly, definitely, and intelligently settled without delay. Blessed be God, it may be settled instantly; for according to the same unimpeachable testimony which has established the propositions thus far advanced, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

The precise meaning of the terms in this statement is the first point that demands our notice. The word translated end is used in the New Testament forty-one times. The corresponding verb is sometimes rendered "to accomplish," sometimes "to finish," sometimes ''to fulfil," and sometimes "to perform." When, therefore, it is said that Christ is the end of the law, we may understand that as the object of its types and the subject of its predictions He accomplished all that it announced as needful to be done; or that He finished its career in its bearing upon our salvation; or that He fulfilled its requisitions, its symbols, and its ceremonies; or that He performed the work which it exacted as essential to the deliverance of the sinner from its curse. But clearer light will be thrown upon the signification of the word if we will inquire for a moment how it is employed in other portions of the sacred volume. For example, we read in Matthew, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."1 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."2 In Mark we read, "If Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end."3 "When ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet."4 In Luke we read, "He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."5 "For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end."6 In John we read, "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."7 In Romans, "The end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."8 In Corinthians, "Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end."9 "But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father."10

These quotations are sufficient to illustrate the ordinary use of the word by the inspired writers, and they show that we are to take it in its obvious sense when it is said, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." The law at Sinai demanded righteousness, but grace at Calvary gives righteousness, even the perfect righteousness of Christ; and to him that believeth, the law comes to an end, and nothing remains but the righteousness of God Himself as the immovable ground upon which the believer forever stands. If a man owes a debt which he cannot discharge, and his surety pays it for him, the law comes to an end so far as that debtor is concerned, because its requirements have been met and its claims. satisfied, although by another, and it has no further demands upon him. If a murderer has been tried, convicted, and executed for his crime, the law is at an end in his case, because it has been honored and vindicated in the infliction of the threatened penalty, and it cannot cause the lifeless body of the felon to be again swung from the gallows. In like manner, the law of God is at an end in its bearing upon the believer in Jesus, not because it has been set aside and trampled under foot by the lawgiver, but because Christ took the place of the believing sinner, paying his debt and suffering the deadful penalty in his stead.

The word "law" in English is said to be derived from a Saxon term which signifies "to lay." Worcester is correct, therefore, in defining it as "a rule of action laid down or prescribed by a superior." The Greek word here used strictly signifies "anything assigned, distributed, apportioned; hence a usage, custom, and all that becomes law thereby; a law; ordinance." We are safe, then, in asserting that the word "law," which occurs about seventy-five times in the Epistle to the Romans, denotes the rule of action which God has laid down or assigned for the government of man in his relations to his Creator and his fellow creatures. About this rule of action a few remarks must be made that will carry us back for a moment to ground which we have previously traversed to some extent, but which it is well for us to notice again.

First, It is a rule which it is right and proper for man to observe. "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."11 "We know that the law is good."12 It is the expression of the will of a righteous God concerning the way He would have us feel and act, and hence its requirements cannot be wrong. No one will venture to affirm that there is anything unjust or unbecoming in commanding us to love the Lord our God with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and with all the mind, and our neighbors as ourselves, and "on these two commandments," says the Saviour, "hang all the law and the prophets."13

Second, It is a rule which applies to the thoughts, emotions, and desires no less than to the words and deeds. We have just seen that it demands supreme, unfaltering, unceasing love to God and to our fellow men, and love exists in the heart. Hence it is written, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing."14 "Love is the fulfilling of the law."15 No man, therefore, can keep the law in its true intent, unless love is the sovereign principle of his soul, subordinating to its imperial and undisputed sway every aspiration and sentiment, every aim and purpose, of his being. His life may be conformed to the highest standard of human integrity, but '' the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."16 "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins,"17 and hence in His sight the look of lust is "adultery,"18 and the secret passion of hate is "murder."19

Third, It is a rule which consists of two parts: a precept or command, and a penalty or punishment in case of disobedience. Without this threatened penalty it could not constitute a rule of action. We might have advice or exhortation, but law, in the sense in which the word is here used, cannot exist unless it carries with it rewards and punishments as its high sanction to encourage and enforce obedience. Human governments never lay down or assign a rule of action for the observance of their subjects until they arm it with a penalty, for the simple reason that it could not be a law at all were it not clothed with power to punish the transgression or neglect of its requirements. In the Divine government too, as a matter of fact, penalty is connected with every rule of action which God has laid down for our guidance, so far as our experience and observation extend. There are certain rules of action which apply to our bodies, as the law of gravitation, and hygienic laws, or laws pertaining to the preservation of health. If these rules are disregarded, the penalty is inevitable. Sometimes it follows instantly, and sometimes it is long delayed, but sooner or later its relentless inflictions are sure to vindicate the majesty of broken law. There are also certain rules of action which pertain to our mental faculties, and the infraction of them entails derangement, weakness, or other forms of punishment, unless indeed a miracle is wrought to arrest the merciless operation of violated law. Still further, there are certain rules of action which are plainly intended for the regulation of our moral nature; and often, very often, we witness the fearful results of disobeying these rules in the agony, remorse, and sufferings of various kinds that overtake the wicked. Indeed, it is universally admitted, I believe, that sin is punished; while, with strange inconsistency and a feebleness of reasoning actually puerile, many argue, or rather hope and suppose, that it is punished only in the present life. They do not reflect that, if God is too merciful to punish it hereafter. He should be too merciful, according to their view, to punish it here, since it is a mere question of degree or duration. They seem to recognize the justice, or, at all events, they are compelled to acknowledge the fact, of its punishment to some extent; and how can they hesitate to accept the logical conclusion that God will deal with it in eternity as He deals with it in time, and manifest towards it His righteous displeasure forever? The wish with them is plainly father to their thought; but whatever their desires and conjectures, it remains unalterably true that God's law has a penalty, and that every sin committed under His government will be strictly punished either in the person of the sinner or in the person of the Divine Substitute. "The wages of sin is death; "20 and death includes all the penal evils inflicted as the consequence of sin both in this world and the world to come. '' When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."21 "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."22

Fourth, It is a rule of action which every human being, except the man Christ Jesus, has violated. Sin is any desire, thought, word, action, or omission contrary to the law of God, and it is written, "There is no man that sinneth not."23 "There is not a just man on earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."24 "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."25 "In many things we offend all."26 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."27 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."28 The conclusion which the apostle draws from such statements as these is unavoidable when he writes: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 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."29 Yes, the plummet has been let down only to prove that there is a total lack of rectitude on our part; the straight rule has been applied to our character and conduct only to show an utter want of righteousness; the light from heaven has flashed into our souls only to reveal the defilement of our nature. It is impossible, then, that a sinner can be justified by doing the things required by the law, because he has already failed, and continually fails, to do them; and the law convicts and condemns, and curses him, as it is said, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."30 You will observe it is not said. Cursed are some very wicked people, but. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things—not some things, but all things—which are written in the book of the law to do them; for again it is said, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."31 If a criminal were arraigned for murder, it would avail him little to plead that he had never committed more than one murder, or that there were many other offences, such as theft and burglary, of which he was not guilty. He might be pardoned in view of his general good character, but surely he could not be justified by the law as righteous, and his pardon could be obtained only by setting the law aside. Neither can you be justified by the law of God, my unsaved reader, if you have ever broken it in a single particular, for "the soul that sinneth [be it once or ten thousand times], it shall die."32 You may urge that you have done no harm, but the question is not whether you have done any harm; it is whether you have done good, and nothing but good, out of the high and commanding principle of supreme and unchanging love to your Creator and your fellow men. The law does not pronounce its curse against you because you are a particularly bad person, but because you are a person at all with a nature whose essential characteristic is lawlessness.

Having considered the meaning of the term "end "and the term "law," we must now glance at the import of the word "Christ." It properly signifies the Anointed One, and is equivalent to Messiah in Hebrew, as denoting an illustrious personage who was to be anointed or consecrated to the work of salvation. From the time the promise of the woman's conquering seed was made to our fallen parents in the garden of Eden, holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost constantly uttered predictions concerning this personage, and looked forward to His coming with eager expectation. The entire economy under which they lived was so ordered that its priesthood and offerings and altar, its ark and tabernacle and temple, down to the pillars and ribands, the coverings and curtains, the bars and boards, the loops and taches, found in the sacred building, were radiant with the light of His anticipated appearing and eloquent in His praise. He is presented throughout the Scriptures under a wonderful variety of names, among which we find Him called our Advocate, Alpha and Omega, Almighty, the Amen, the Angel of the Covenant, the Angel of Jehovah, the Apostle of our Profession, the Author of our Faith, the Beginning of Creation, Beloved, Branch, Bread, Bridegroom, Brother, Captain of our Salvation, Creator, Commander, Counsellor, Corner Stone, Covert from the Tempest, Daysman, Deliverer, Door, Elect, Ensign, End, Example, Father of Eternity, Faithful Witness, First and Last, Fountain of Life, Foundation, Friend, God, Guard, Guide, Governor, Head, Healer, Helper, Hope, Horn of Salvation, Husband, I am. Image of God, Immanuel, Intercessor, Jesus, Jehovah, Judge, Just One, Keeper, King, Lamb, Leader, Life, Light of the World, Lion, Lord, Maker, Mediator, Messenger, Messiah, Morning Star, Passover, Peace, Physician, Priest, Prince, Prophet, Ransom, Redeemer, Refiner, Resurrection, Righteousness, Restorer, Ruler, Rock, Rose of Sharon, Root of David, Sacrifice, Saviour, Sceptre, Shepherd, Shield, Shiloh, Star, Stone, Sun, Teacher, Tower, Truth, Vine, Way, Witness, Wisdom, and Word.



1) Matt. x. 22.

2) Matt. xxiv. 14.

3) Mark iii. 26.

4) Mark xiii. 7.

5) Luke i. 33.

6) Luke xxii. 37.

7) John xiii. 1.

8) Rom. vi. 21, 22.

9) 1 Cor. i. 7, 8.

10) 1 Cor. xv. 23, 24.

11) Rom. vii. 12.

12) 1 Tim. i. 8.

13) Matt. xxii. 40.

14) 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3.

15) Rom. xiii. 10.

16) 1 Sam. xvi. 7.

17) Jer. xvii. 10.

18) Matt. v. 28.

19) 1 John iii. 15.

20) Rom. vi. 23.

21) James i. 15.

22) Rom. ii. 8, 9.

23) 1 Kings viii. 46.

24) Eccles. vii. 20.

25) Rom. iii. 23.

26) James iii. 2.

27) 1 john i. 10.

28) 1 John i. 8.

29) Rom. iii. 19, 20.

30) Gal. iii. 10.

31) James ii. 10.

32) Ezek. xviii. 4.