Lex Semper Accusat? Does the law always accuse?

Some folks like to throw around the mantra “lex semper accusat” (the law always accuses). This mantra may have value, and may even serve a didactic purpose in certain contexts. It is, however, theologically inaccurate.

A First Exception: Christ
Christ fulfilled the law. The law didn’t condemn Christ, it justified Him. Pilate testified to this:

Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

Luke 23:14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

John 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

John 19:4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

John 19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

A General Condemnation
Aside from Christ, the law condemns everyone, for all have sinned.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

And consequently (Christ excluded) the law cannot justify anyone:

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Law’s Condemnatory Power Destroyed
But for those who are in Christ, the law has lost its condemnatory power.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Indeed, it is impossible for those who are justified to be condemned by the law any longer.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Law’s Other Uses
Moreover, both before and after we are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone, the law has other uses. For example, the law has an evangelical use – it brings us to Christ:

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Moreover, the law enables us to express our love to God:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

And I could go on and on. The law has a thousand uses, many of which are celebrated in Psalm 119.


3 Responses to “Lex Semper Accusat? Does the law always accuse?”

  1. todd Says:
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