Romans 3:9b For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

19 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.

20 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.

5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.


MEMORY VERSE: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. —Acts 13:39


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Four hundred and thirty years after God had established the covenant of faith with Abraham, He gave the Law to help man to be conscious of his errors and sins, and to help prepare man for the Savior that was to come.




All the writings and statements of our lesson today are from the hand of Paul, being inspired of the Holy Spirit. He was dealing with the great problem that had arisen in his day concerning the departure from the old law system to the new life in Christ. This is yet a problem in our day—a problem that arises when many well-meaning and sincere people fail to grasp the truth concerning the difference between the law and grace. In our lesson it is clearly stated that the real purpose of the law was not to justify mankind, but rather to bring mankind into condemnation. It was to awaken in the heart of man the knowledge of the sinfulness of his condition before God. It was to help him to realize his need of a Savior. God did not want man to go on unaware of his sin, and yet He did not want man to have any feeling that by good works he would merit favor with God. Thus the law was added to the covenant of Abraham that was established 430 years before on the principles of faith.

In Romans 5:14, Paul mentions how that “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” The time he was referring to, the time from Adam to Moses, were the years when there was no law given. Now Adam had a law; he had a direct command from God. He and Eve knew full well and had been warned not to partake of the forbidden fruit. Their disobedience brought spiritual death immediately and the expectation of physical death. But after they were driven out of the garden and their posterity began to multiply in the earth, there were no commandments or laws given to them. Their conscience was their law, the only law that they had. And yet death reigned.

God wanted man to be saved and brought into His fellowship. In His mercy, God instituted faith to bring righteousness before He dealt with the sin question. Then later He gave the law to help men to see their sin. View God’s wisdom and longsuffering and love for mankind in this.

–Bro. Leslie Busbee



  1. Why did God not give the law before the covenant of faith?
  2. What would have happened if man would have been brought into condemnation before mercy was given?
  3. How should this affect our attitude toward sinners and those “without” today?
  4. Was the law given to justify man?
  5. What was the purpose of the giving of the law?




As the Israelites journeyed toward Canaan, they were under the terms of the faith that Abraham and God had covenanted on long before. This was the grounds for God’s deliverance for the people from Egypt. It was the faith of Abraham that had merited for them this great inheritance promised for them in the land of Canaan and their own faith that brought them out of the land of bondage.

Now the law was to be given. As we studied in our last lesson, the law was given, accompanied with terrible sights and sounds. Fear was stricken in the hearts of the people. They turned away in terror, entreating Moses to not allow that voice to speak again. But it was the covenant of faith that they disregarded and broke when they failed to wait for Moses when he was up in the holy mount. It was not the breaking of the law that drew the wrath of God. It was their unbelief and idolatry.

It is the same today; breaking moral laws is not the thing that brings God’s displeasure. God’s Son has shed His precious blood for this, and mankind can be freely forgiven for all manner of sin, but it is the unbelief and the rejection of the Savior that seals man’s doom. We need to be aware of this. If a man is lost, it will not be because he is a murderer, or a gambler, or a drunkard. It will be because he rejected the plan of salvation and the faith of Jesus Christ.

Now the law was added to the plan of faith so that mankind could see wherein he was guilty before God. It was never meant to bring righteousness. One could not successfully live up to the law in his own power and strength. We shall see in further studies that a traditional law system along with the ceremonial part of the law prevailed, which, in so adhering to, man felt a sense of righteousness. But man lost sight of the spiritual element of the law. His false cloak of righteousness was whisked away before the plain teaching of Jesus and His apostles. The ceremonial and traditional laws crumbled, exposing the proud Jews to be just what they really were: sinners in the sight of God in need of a Savior. What Paul spoke of in Romans 7 was his law experience. It did not bring life; rather, it brought death. The condemnation for his breaking of the law brought miserable and wretched death to his soul. It was this sense of condemnation and death that prepared his heart for Christ.

—Bro. Leslie Busbee




“And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” A personal ‘knowledge of sin’ in an honest heart brings inward pain and most of us humans like to avoid the inward pain and discomfort of being guilty. Just like the Pharisee we can look out and see people in much worse shape than ourselves (at least we think they are) and reason, “I am not so bad after all.” Then again, we can enumerate the many good things we have done, thinking the good surely outweighs the bad. We can also play the blame game. “It was their fault.” “They made me do it.” You have probably heard the saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” All of these excuses are lying to us, telling us we are not broken. Exalting self is a dead-end road that will get us lost.

When we humble ourselves and accept responsibility, the knowledge of sin (being broken) can bring us unto the next step or question: Is there any help for me? Is there any hope for me? Can I be fixed? “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Dear sinner friend, you are broken! You don’t work right. Your sins testify against you and the people you have hurt and wounded. No pretensions about it. Look over on yonder hill and see the Son groaning, bleeding, dying on the cursed tree. Paying the price of your sins and mine. Are you tired of trying to fix your life your way? I hope so. Look to Jesus, open your heart’s door, believe in Him and He will make you new.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

—Bro. Bob Wilson