The Law was Weak and Useless (Hebrews 7:18-19)

“The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God” ( Hebrews 7:18-19 )

The solution to the chasm that sin created is not the Law. As this passage clearly declares using it in this way is weak, useless and ineffective. Paul called the Law the ministry of death ( II Corinthians 3:7 ). So relying on it to bring us into fellowship with God, bridging the gap caused by sin, only brings us death and condemnation.

On the other hand, if it is used in accordance to its true purpose then we will be justified by it. “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law” ( Galatians 3:24-25 ). The Law was set aside when Jesus ushered in the New Covenant because it was useless in bringing a person into perfect fellowship with God ( Hebrews 7:11 ). The Law defined our sin in relation to God’s holiness. So in essence it accused us before God, bringing further separation instead of reconciliation. Which is why Paul told Timothy, the Law was not made for the righteous man, but for sinners ( I Timothy 1:8-10 ). It showed us the need for a savior. So trusting in Christ to save us is the better hope that this passage is describing by which we draw near to God for reconciliation.

Paul made this very observation about the purpose of the Law in Romans 7, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. ( Romans 7:7-13 ).

The main point that the writer is making is that to draw near to God we must set aside the Law, because the Law strengthens sin in our lives increasing its hold on us instead of bringing us the reconciliation we need.  Instead we should cling to the better hope by which we have full access to God.

This blessed hope is in the person of Jesus Christ who has paved the way for us to enter blamelessly into the God’s very presence ( Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:19-22 ).  His blood has completely wiped away the effects of sin in our lives once for all ( Hebrews  9:12, Hebrews  9:14, Hebrews  9:26, Hebrews  9:28, Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:18, Hebrews 10:22 ). This is why we have this access. Jesus imputed His righteousness to us when we believed; the righteousness required to fulfill the entire law. Adherence to the law couldn’t make us righteous because of our sin nature ( Galatians 3:21 ). However Jesus fulfilled it because He was sinless. Then He gave us His Spirit to replace that sin nature when we were born again, which is how He imputed His righteousness to us. This is why He is the better hope by which we can come before God.

When we understand this, it gives us boldness and confidence before God instead of uncertainly and fear. Under the Law, the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies and into the presence of God once a year when he made atonement for the people. However, when Jesus was crucified on the cross the curtain that had separated the people from God’s presence was torn entirely in two from top to bottom ( Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45 ). This was done by God himself showing us that Jesus paved the way for us to come with full assurance of faith and clean consciences ( Hebrews 10:22 ). His body is now the curtain by which we can freely enter at will ( Hebrews 10:20 ).

This is why the law is set aside when we are saved, because its purpose has been fulfilled in bringing us to Christ to be justified by faith. Now that Jesus is our High Priest, He assures this access eternally. “For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever” ( Hebrews 7:28 ). Jesus is the better hope which gives us confidence before God.


Juli Camarin

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