Telos

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 10:1-4

For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. (v. 4)

The same word can have different meanings. Take the word “ball.” I can throw a ball, and I can have a ball at a ball. Context helps us understand which meaning to adopt.

Today’s verse has a double-meaning word. To put it in the Greek language: “Christ is the telos of the law.” This can mean Christ is the “end” of the law, or Christ is the “goal” of the law. But context doesn’t help us determine the correct translation here, because both meanings seem to apply.

How so? (1) With the coming of Christ the era of the law has come to an end. God no longer deals with his people according to the legalistic terms of Exodus through Deuteronomy but according to grace. (2) The era of the law (that is, the Old Testament) has reached its climax or goal with the coming of God’s Son. Its many promises about the coming of Jesus are fulfilled.

So which meaning of telos best fits this passage? When all is said and done, both are true. The Jewish era of legalistic righteousness is over and God has achieved his ultimate goal of sending his Son Jesus into this world.

PRAYER

Thank you, dear Jesus, for being both the end and the goal of the Old Testament. You are my Redeemer. Amen.