The Law; our Schoolmaster
A Sermon on John 1:17
17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Why did God give the law? Even in the time of the apostles, there were those who believed that the law was the means of salvation. They thought that by keeping the law, God would save them. But in this sermon on John 1:17 titled “The Law, Our Schoolmaster,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that this is an entirely wrong way of understanding the law. It was given in order to show the need for salvation, not as a means of earning salvation. The apostle Paul tells that Christ alone is the way of salvation and it is only by believing in His life, death, and resurrection that there is salvation. This is a salvation of grace and grace alone. This sermon confronts with the questions: what does one believe about the law? What are the trappings of a life of legalism and works, one apart from the grace of God? The only way of salvation is not found in keeping the law, but in believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The law was never given as a possible means of salvation. God did not give the law as an experiment to see if people could be saved by following it.
- The law was given to show the utter impossibility of salvation by the law. No one can perfectly follow the law.
- The law was given to lead us to Christ. The law shows us our sin and need for a savior.
- The law demands absolute perfection. If you break one part of the law you are guilty of breaking all of it.
- The law leaves salvation up to us, but we are too weak to save ourselves. We cannot do what the law demands.
- The law inflames our sinful passions. The law stirs up sin in us because of our sinful nature.
- The law provides no help or strength to follow it. It just tells us what to do without enabling us.
- The law must be preached properly. It should not be preached as a means of salvation but as a means to show us our need for Christ.
- The law must be used lawfully. We must use it to show people their sin and need for Christ, not as a means of salvation.
- Many Christians do not understand the proper role of the law. They think their sins are too great to be forgiven, showing they still believe the law can save them.
- We can only appreciate salvation by understanding what Christ has done with respect to the law. Christ fulfilled the law for us.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.