The Law's Jurisdiction over Mankind
"Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” Romans 7:1 In the scripture Paul is speaking to those who are brethren, thus it is a message to the church that is under grace, and he identifies them as knowing the law. Thus all who are under grace must know the law for the grace by which they are saved through the faith and are made God's handiwork, brings them into subjection to the law. (Ephesians 2:1, 5, 8-10, Romans 7:12). Thus they must know the law and its dominion or as the Greek have it jurisdiction over mankind.
Dominion- Greek word- kurieuo. It means:
"To have or exercise rule or authority over, Lord over; spoken of things as exercising mastery over us." Spiros Zodiates pg. 900
Now that we understand the word dominion and its meaning in Greek, let us see when its authority and jurisdiction were over man. Paul said the law has jurisdiction over a man as long as he lives thus when man came into existence he was under the jurisdiction of the law, as duty bound (Genesis 2:7,16,17). This is proven to be so because when man sinned, he transgressed the first command of the law, for the temptation that was presented to man is that they would be gods if they eat the fruit. Thus for man to eat and disobey God, he must have other gods, thus violation of the law (Genesis 3:1-6). A note to take is that God outlined to man if he eats he would die; thus disobedience is death but obedience is life. The scripture also states to break the law is death but to keep it is life (Romans 6:23, 1 John 3:4, Romans 7:10). Thus when man sinned, he was found in transgression of the law. Thus through Adam's sin death entered in the world and death passed upon all mankind for all was born in sin, coming short of God's glory (Romans 5:12, Romans3:23).
The jurisdiction or authority of the law enters in its condemnatory authority pointing out sin and condemning to death when sin enters (Romans 5:20). The law's condemnatory authority gives a knowledge of sin and God's judgment against it (Romans 3:9-20). It enters in its condemnatory authority to point us to Christ who is God; that is the aim of the law for righteousness so we could receive of his righteousness to be brought back under the jurisdiction and duty authority of the law as walking in obedience to it, fulfilling its requirements. (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, 7, Jeremiah 23:5, 6, Matthew 1:21, 1 John 3:4, 5, Galatians 3:24, 25, Romans 10:1-4, Romans 8:1, 2, 4, 1 John 2:27)
Paul shows that the law is not sin but gives knowledge of sin. (Romans 7:7, 8). John shows sin is the transgression of the law and sin is of the devil. It is his works and it is his works that is transgression of the law. Christ came to destroy not the law ( 1 John 3:4, 8). John shows that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17). Paul shows that this same grace was since the foundation of the earth and abound to deal with the offense of sin which is transgression of the law. Thus both grace and law go hand in hand. (Romans 5:20,21). Thus when Paul calls the law the administration of death, he was pointing out the law in its condemnatory authority that it entered to deal with sin and that it was not made for a righteous man, for he is not in sin anymore but changed from sin to righteous and is no longer under the condemnation of the law but the duty authority of the law, in subjective obedience to the law. (Galatians 2:16, 20, Romans 8:1, 2, 4, Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, Romans 3:28-31).
In concluding here are the points we learn:
1) the authority or jurisdiction of the law falls into two parts:
A) the duty authority or jurisdiction of the law.
B) The condemnatory authority or jurisdiction of the law.
2) The law has authority over man as long as he lives. So from the time man was in existence the law has authority over him.
3) The duty authority of the law man was under when he was created; the condemnatory authority when he sinned.
4) The condemnatory authority gives knowledge of sin and God's judgment against it; it also points out what is required of God for man.
5) Paul called the law the administration of death because the knowledge of sin it gives and the judgment of death for transgression of it.
6) Paul also shows that the law was ordained to life, thus all those who have the life of Christ is brought into subjective obedience to the law
7) Paul shows us that the law is our school master pointing us to Christ, that when we receive of the righteousness of Christ we brought under the duty authority or jurisdiction of the law in keeping it.
8) Paul shows that the law is not sin but gives knowledge of sin.
9) John shows that sin is transgression of the law, it is the work of the devil and all who transgress the law are children of the devil.
10) John shows that is the work of the devil (sin- transgression of the law) that Christ was manifested to destroy, not the law.
11) John shows grace and truth came by Jesus Christ
12) Paul shows that grace entered since the foundation of the world to deal with the offense (sin). That same grace also works in Harmony with the law
13) Paul shows that all mankind are under the law whether bound to the duty authority of the law in keeping it or bound to the condemnatory authority of the law by transgressing it.
14) And lastly, Paul shows that the church of God who under grace should know the authority and jurisdiction of the law, they must know these things and be found keeping it.
Therefore all who preach the abolition of God's law, that God did away with his law and we are no longer under the duty authority or jurisdiction of the law, do not preach the doctrine of Christ which is salvation from sin ,but the doctrines of the devil which is salvation in sin. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 5:17-19, Romans 13:8-10, Revelation 22:14)
May God bless all who read this in Jesus' name. Amen.
By Michael Francis