“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 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, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” (1 Timothy 1:8–11, ESV)

The law is given as a teacher to show us that we have not lived as God wants us to. It shows us that we are not able to keep all of its righteous demands. To make this point, Paul goes on to give a list of some examples of people who have broken commandments. The first four commandments place their emphasis on our relationship with God. These commandments were broken by individuals who Paul describes in general terms. The last six commandments put the focus on the way we behave toward other people, and the list of specific behaviors that Paul provides following these broad categories all stand guilty of breaking one or more of these. The law proves our standing before God, but it cannot offer forgiveness or change lives. Only the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The difference between Paul’s teaching and these false concepts is most distinctive when juxtaposed with the good news. The misuse of the law places the emphasis on what people can do, but the gospel highlights what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. There is something in us that makes us want to get to God through our own efforts. God’s law shows us that we are sinful and in need of forgiveness. Understanding the need for forgiveness is the foundation for understanding the news that Jesus has made forgiveness available through his death and resurrection. Any teaching that departs from the truth of the gospel is false