“The words ‘abolish,’ ‘take away,’ ‘destroy,’ and ‘change’ have been so persistently connected with the law by some public teachers that there exists in the minds of many people the honest conviction that all which is expressed by these words was done to the law by Christ.
It is true that He came to “abolish” something, and to “take away” something, and to “destroy” something, and to “change” something; but it is important that we-should know just what it was that He abolished, and what it was that He took away, and what it was that He destroyed, and what it was that He intended to change by His work in behalf of man. This we can easily learn from the Scriptures.
WHAT WAS ABOLISHED.
It is said of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Tim. 1:10. Death is the result of sin. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
James 1:15. But “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Christ, therefore, came to abolish that which is the result of being out of harmony with the law (which is but the written transcript of the self-sacrificing character of God), and He did it, not by abolishing the law, but by bringing us into harmony with the law.
WHAT WAS TAKEN AWAY.
We read that Christ “was manifested to take away our sins.” 1 John 3:5. He is the sin-bearer, “Who His own self carried up our sins in His body to the tree, that we having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24, R.V., margin. Sin is lawlessness, and Christ was manifested to take away, not the law, but lawless-ness.
Note: In Jeremiah 4:4, the LORD tells us, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . .” And then in Colossians 2:11-13, this promise is fulfilled in Christ . . . “In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ !”
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; but the Last Adam was made a quickening (Life-giving) Spirit !” “For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God !”
I Corinthians 15:45 & Romans 6:10
WHAT HE CAME TO DESTROY.
The attitude of Christ toward the law is set forth in the prophecy which says: “He will magnify the law and make it honourable.” Isa. 42:21. In His sermon on the mount, which is itself but the interpretation of the princ-iples contained in the Words spoken from Mount Sinai, Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am, not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt. 5:17. He “came to explain the relation of the law of God to man, and to illustrate its precepts by His Own example of obedience.” [Desire of Ages (DA), p. 308]
But we are taught that “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. The works of the devil are those which are contrary to God’s law. “The devil sinneth from the beginning,” and in every case “sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4-8
Furthermore, Christ came to destroy the devil himself. Satan had introduced into this world rebellion against God and His law, and Christ’s mission and work were to put an end to that rebellion and the instigator of it. In order to do that, He took our flesh, “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb. 2:14.
“For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God . . . !” Romans 6:10
WHAT HE CAME TO CHANGE.
It is a blessed thing to know that a change was wrought by Christ in giving Himself for man. There was certainly need that a change should be made. Men were far from righteousness, “being alienated from the Life of
God through the ignorance that is in them” (Eph. 4:18), “having no hope and without God in the world.” Eph. 2:12. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, … hath quickened us together with Christ, … and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6. And thus “we all … are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18.
But more even than a change of character has been provided for us, for “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Phil. 3:20, 21. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.
Glorious change! A renewed character and a renewed body! This is the fulness of the Salvation provided for us in Jesus Christ. It thus becomes evident from the teaching of the Scriptures that Christ came to abolish, not, the law, but death; to take away, not the law, but our sins; to destroy, not the law, but the devil and his works; to change, not the law, but us. And He did all this “by the sacrifice of Himself !” Heb. 9:26.
”For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, hath made me _______ (your name) free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do (give new life), in that it was weak through the flesh . . . . God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and in exchange for sin, condemned sin in the flesh . . .
That the righteousness of the Law might be filled full in us, who walk not by the flesh, but by the Spirit !”
Romans 8:2-4 & Zechariah 4:6
– Taken from a message given by W.W. Prescott at the Armadale Campmeetings, 1895, “The Law in Christ; Or, the Relation Between the Law and the Gospel,” Also printed in: The Bible Echo, April 20 & 27, May 4, 11, 18, & 25, June 1, 1896