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Read Introduction to 1 Timothy


8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,


Paul charged Timothy to “warn” false teachers in the Ephesian church. Verses 8-11 give the reason for that warning. The apostates misunderstood the purpose behind the Mosaic law. These people made legal demands on those saved by grace.

8 But we know that the law is good [excellent]

The Mosaic law distinguishes right from wrong. It is the standard for moral behavior (Ro 7:12). The purpose was to show sinners their sinfulness. The law was in full agreement with God’s attributes, especially His righteousness. The law is good because it reveals God’s attributes and actions.

if one uses it lawfully [correctly],

A person can misuse the law if he uses it as a means of salvation or justification. False teachers at Ephesus misused the law; the law requires proper interpretation. The purpose of the law is to expose sin. Paul distinguished between the proper and improper use of the law. The improper use is for legalistic reasons, such as making it the means of salvation. The law cannot save (Ro 3:20; Ga 2:16; 3:11). Paul affirmed the correct use of the law in Galatians 3:19, 24.

False teachers suggested that the Mosaic law was designed for Christians. They believed that the law was to be their focus if they were to grow spiritually. But that is not the proper use of the law.


The purpose of the Mosaic law is to expose sin.


It is not a good thing to be married to Christ and live with Moses.

The believer in the church age is no longer under the Mosaic law as a system (Ro 7:6; Ga 2:16; 3:19-26). However, the law has a use today to expose sin for what it is. Its use was to awaken those who do not know God to their status with Him. The law condemns, but it cannot convert.

The primary mode for the Christian today is to live under the Law of Christ, which is to be governed by the Spirit (Ro 7:6).

The law is like a mirror; it shows that our faces are dirty. However, washing our faces with the mirror would not be possible. That is not the purpose of the mirror. The law shows people they are sinners but cannot wash their sins away. The law reveals God’s absolute perfection, but it cannot help people attain that perfection. The law should drive a person to the One who can save them.