Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the END of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (New King James Version)
This is another marvelous opportunity for some translators to twist the meaning of the above verse and easily get away with it. The original Greek word for “end” is telos, Strong’s number 5056. Words used to define telos include goal, limit, result, purpose, and aim according to Strong and Thayer. Telos can also mean “end.” The context determines what a word means, or does not mean, when it can mean different things. Unfortunately, the majority of translators render the Greek word telos simply as “end” instead of giving Paul’s intended meaning of that word. Reasoning incorrectly that faith makes the law void (dramatically contrary to Romans 3:31, 6:15, and many other strongly pro-law verses), they have adopted an illogical assumption that Paul plainly rejected in Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 6:15 also teaches that each Christian needs to continue obeying the law: “What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid!” The Greek word telos, translated “end” in Romans 10:4 in most English translations, can convey variations in meaning, including “the aim or purpose of a thing” ( Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “End, Ending”).
1 Timothy 1:5: “Now the PURPOSE (telos) of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”
In the New King James Version telos is properly translated as purpose in the clause “the purpose of the commandment is love.” In this same verse the NRSV translates telos as “aim” and the NIV renders it as “goal.” So nearby Romans 3:31 and Romans 6:15 define the context of “end” in Romans 10:4 more as the “goal, aim, or purpose” of the law, rather than the literal “end” or “termination” of law keeping.
James 5:11: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord-that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” This is another example of where the New King James Version again poorly translates telos as “end,” but in a very large number of other translations telos is translated as purpose, and sometimes as outcome, consummation, or completion. Job’s perseverance did not “end,” but instead was continuous and steady.
Another example of the poor translation of telos as “end” occurs in the NKJV in verse 9 of 1 Peter 1:8-10: “…… Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls. 10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you.” More accurate translations of verse 9′s “end” include the following: The New Simplified Bible says “outcome of your faith.” The Concordant Literal Version says “the consummation of your faith.” The World English Bible says “receiving the result of your faith.” The Twentieth Century New Testament says “as you receive the reward of your faith.” A Christian’s faith is of course continuous and is not something that ends.
Paul uses telos in Romans 10:4 to convey that the objective or goal of the law—the “aim or purpose” of it, is to point us to the mind and character of Jesus Christ.
You can confidently assume that God is not deliberately lying to you in any verse because He told us that He does not lie. Hebrews 6:18: “……it is impossible for God to lie ……” God has also told us that He is not trying to confuse us in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion.” Therefore we can confidently assume that the original Greek in the New Testament is not really self contradictory concerning law keeping. Since God will not lie to us then we need to really believe literally the following 12 verses that plainly tell us that Christians still need to obey the law. 1) 1 John 3:4: “…… sin is the VIOLATION OF THE LAW” 2) Romans 2:13: “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.” 3) Romans 6:1,2: “…… Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we …… live any longer in it?” 4) Romans 6:15: “…… Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” 5) Romans 3:31: “Well then, if we are saved by faith, does this mean that we no longer need to OBEY God’s law? JUST THE OPPOSITE! In fact, only when we trust Jesus can we truly OBEY Him.” (The Living Bible) 6) Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that …… you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of OBEDIENCE leading to RIGHTEOUSNESS?” 7) Romans 6:18: “And having been set free from sin, YOU BECAME SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 8) Romans 6:19: “…… For just as you presented your members as slaves of UNCLEANNESS, and of LAWLESSNESS leading to more lawlessness, SO NOW PRESENT YOUR MEMBERS AS SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HOLINESS.” The Greek definition of UNCLEANNESS includes the Levitically “unclean” or forbidden foods. The Greek definition of LAWLESSNESS refers primarily to breaking the Old Testament, Mosaic laws. The word “righteousness” in these Roman verses usually refers to the Jewish law keeping type of righteousness. So according to the green, capitalized phrase above, Paul clearly commands us to start or continue obeying the law. 9) Matthew 19:17: “….. BUT IF you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 10) Revelation 22:14: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may HAVE THE RIGHT to the tree of life ……” 11) Matthew 7:23: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” 12) Matthew 13:41,42: “…… His angels …… will gather …… those who practice lawlessness 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire ……”
For further study please visit http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/apostles-old-testament-and-gods-law/what-did-paul-mean/. Another site to visit is http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible-questions/how/christ-is-the-end-of-the-law/.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Unless indicated otherwise, all verses are from the New King James Version.