Is Christ the “End” of the Sabbath? (Romans 10:1-4)
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4 – NKJV)
The Greek word for “end” is teleos, and it can mean “to terminate, a goal, the purpose at which something is directed, or a tax.” Some put forth the idea that this verse means that Christ is the termination of the Law. What does it really mean?
One thing to keep in mind when we study the Bible is that every verse has a context. The meaning of this verse can be ascertained by previous statements by Paul in the letter to the Romans and also by the Words of Jesus.
In an another blog, we explained that Jesus did not come to destroy, terminate, or loosen the law (CLICK HERE to read this other blog). He can to fulfill it or fill its meaning to the full. When Jesus came, the meaning of the Law became magnified.
In Romans 3:31, Paul provided more context for us that clarifies this subject. “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” The Greek word for void is katargeo, and it means “to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative – to deprive of force, influence or power… to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency or terminate”. So, our faith in Christ does not weaken the power or influence of the Law. It does not terminate the law’s effectiveness. Instead, the law is upheld or established by our faith. It is made more firm.
In Romans 3:31, Paul established a foundation of understanding for us to properly interpret Romans 10:1-4. From the context of Paul’s own letter and the words of Jesus, we can see that the proper interpretation of Romans 10:4 is that Christ is the goal or purpose of the Law.
Our Salvation in Christ should result in obedience to the Law, not terminate it. This is definitely true for the Sabbath; He declared Himself Lord of this day (Mark 2:27-28). This means that the purpose of the Sabbath is Christ, who honored it throughout His life.
Kelly is the President of the BSA www.biblesabbath.org