The Jews of Paul’s day were so busy trying to establish their own righteousness that they missed the righteousness God freely provided (Rom. 10:1-3). Their essential mistake was that they sought God’s approval as if it were a matter of works. They were trying but they were not trusting. And they were left out while the Gentiles were entering in (Rom. 9:30-33). Many in the Restoration Movement seem to have made the same mistake today, with equally tragic results.
Paul defended the Law, but he insisted that it had found its fulfillment in Jesus. He urged the Jews to see themselves standing in relation to the Law fulfilled (in Jesus), not try to find righteousness through fulfilling it themselves. Everything they tried to attain by keeping the Law, God offered freely through faith in Jesus. In this sense, Christ had become the end (goal – telos) of the Law, to all who believed in Jesus (Rom. 10:4).
May we close by making the same statement about the work begun by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. Their best goals are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. All they ever promised, hoped for or sought after are found only through saving trust in him. As Paul said then to those who pointed with great pleasure to their “identity” as the People of God, so we believe he would say today to Churches of Christ, Christian Churches and the Disciples of Christ:
CHRIST is the end (goal – telos)
of the Restoration Movement,
to all who believe