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1 Timothy 1:8 and the Lawful use of the Law

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As "great" as Paul was, as a Pharisee who felt he knew the law and lived by it, he realized that simply following the letter of the law wasn't right, and that he wasn't even living correctly! Note that in 1 Timothy 1:13 he even called himself a blasphemer! The point here is this, Paul realized that only living by the legality of the law wasn’t enough, he also needed the spirit.  He was not discarding the requirement of obeying the law, but simply applying another aspect of it, the spirit of it.

Please don't misunderstand our words to mean we believe Paul disagreed with the law; in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 he says how the law is good if used lawfully! Lawfully as in used for its intended purpose being full of instruction on how to live and be as God created us to be.  Paul goes on to say the law is not for the righteous, the just, yet none of us are righteous in and of ourselves. Our righteousness is our obedience (Deuteronomy 6:25), living out the law as given to us by God and demonstrated by Yeshua. When we fail to be righteous (our sin), there is grace for us; grace in the form of Yeshua who becomes our righteousness to cover that sin when we repent.  

The law is not for the righteous because they are already living it, they don't need it to instruct them.  However, we need to remember that none of us are righteous (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10-13, Psalm 14:1-3) apart from the Word.  We need the law, the Torah to instruct us, to teach us. This is what Paul reminds Timothy of in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 when he says All Scripture is for training in righteousness.  Paul has never intended for us to believe the law of God no longer applies to us, but rather that we need the law, the Torah or milk, and we need a deeper understanding, the meat of the Word. 

Scripture References

1 Timothy 1:12-14
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus

Deuteronomy 6:25
25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before YWH our God, as he has commanded us.’

1 Timothy 1:8-11   
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Ecclesiastes 7:20   
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

Romans 3:10-12 
10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; 
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God. 
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Psalm 14:1-3
1   The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good. 
2   YHWH looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 
3   They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one.