KJV Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Is this scripture in regards to righteousness? Is this speaking of Christ as the limit, end or total perfection?

End is G5056

Original: τέλος Transliteration: telos Phonetic: tel'-os Thayer Definition: end termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time) the end the last in any succession or series eternal that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods) Origin: from a primary tello (to set out for a definite point or goal) TDNT entry: 08:49,1 Part(s) of speech: Noun Neuter Strong's Definition: From a primary word τέλλω tellō (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly the point aimed at as a limit,

5 Answers 5


In light of the race imagery encountered in Romans 9:30–33,1 it is likely that the apostle Paul uses τέλος in Romans 10:4 in the sense of the finish line and/or prize in a race.2

LSJ, p. 1774, τέλος, III., 2., b.

In the race, the Israelites ran after (διώκω)3 the goal or prize: righteousness (δικαιοσύνη). The Gentiles are those who neither willed nor ran.4 Despite this, the Gentiles attained (καταλαμβάνω)5 the prize: righteousness.

The apostle Paul explains that the Israelites ran after the prize (righteousness) by doing the works of the Law.6 By doing so, they tried to obtain their own righteousness.7 Since the righteousness of the Law demands perfect obedience, the Israelites did not attain the prize.

On the other hand, the Gentiles believed in Jesus Christ, the righteous one,8 and by doing so, they attained the prize of righteousness—“the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all those who believe.”9

Douglas J. Moo wrote,10

Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to go back to the race imagery that Paul has been using in this context. We might picture the law as the race itself. Christ is the finish line. As Israel runs the race of the law, they should always, of course, have their eyes fixed on the finish line. Instead, Paul has been suggesting, Israel concentrated so exclusively on the race that they forgot about the finish line. With the coming of Christ, that finish line has been reached, but Israel does not recognize it.

In Romans 10:4, it is written,

4 For the finish line and prize of the Law is Christ for righteousness to all who believe.

Δʹ τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς εἰς δικαιοσύνην παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι. NA28, ©2012

For those who do not believe (i.e., have faith) in Christ, he is to them a stumbling-block which prevents them from finishing the race and attaining the prize of righteousness, the righteousness from faith.


1 LSJ, p. 1773, τέλος, III., 2., b.
2 On the race imagery, see Schreiner, p. 121:

“Racing imagery is employed in Romans 9:30–33.”

Meyer, p. 391:

On the figurative διώκειν, borrowed from the running for the prize in the racecourse, as also on the correlate καταλαμβάνειν, comp. Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Sirach 11:10; Sirach 27:8.

3 BDAG, p. 254, διώκω, 1.

to move rapidly and decisively toward an objective, hasten, run, press on (Il. 23, 344; Aeschyl., Sept. 91; X., An. 6, 5, 25; Hg 1:9; Is 13:14; Philo, Virt. 30 διώκουσι καὶ ἐπιτρέχουσιν) κατὰ σκοπόν toward the goal Phil 3:14; cp. vs. 12 (on the combination w. καταλαμβάνω cp. Hdt. 9, 58, 4; Lucian, Herm. 77; Sir 11:10; La 1:3 v.l.).

4 Rom. 9:16
5 BDAG, p. 519, 1.

to make someth. one’s own, win, attain...abs. of the winning of a prize 1 Cor 9:24.

6 Rom. 9:32
7 Rom. 10:3
8 Acts 7:52
9 Rom. 3:22
10 Moo, p. 215


Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; et al. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1940.

Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistle to the Romans. Trans. Moore, John C.; Johnson, Edwin. Ed. Dickson, William P. New York: Funk, 1884.

Moo, Douglas J. Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey. 2nd ed. Ada: Baker Academic, 2014.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

  • Also important is the 'for' in the verse which indicates into or unto. The means of the law unto righteousness is over as that was always an improper usage (Galatians 3:21). Feb 12, 2021 at 1:05
  • 1
    +1. Simple, clear. And yet those who desperately want laws have never accepted it and will never accept it.
    – Robert
    Feb 12, 2021 at 11:30

The end result; the end point or reason for; the culmination of. Our faith in Christ results in righteousness, and is the only way we stand righteous before our Father in heaven.

Dan. 9:24, "...to bring in everlasting righteousness,...." (KJV)

was referring to the reason for Christ's sacrifice for our sins.

Excerpt from Barnes' Notes on Rom. 10:4:

"Is the end of the law - The word translated "end" means what completes a thing, or renders it perfect; also the boundary, issue, or termination of anything, as the end of life, the result of a prophecy, etc.; John 13:1; Luke 22:37. It also means the design or object which is had in view; the principal purpose for which it was undertaken; 1 Timothy 1:5," The end of the commandment is charity;" the main design or purpose of the command is to produce love; 1 Peter 1:9, "The end of your faith, the salvation of your souls;" the main design or purpose of faith is to secure salvation; Romans 14:9, "To this end Christ both died," etc. For this design or purpose. This is doubtless its meaning here. "The main design or object which the perfect obedience of the Law would accomplish, is accomplished by faith in Christ." That is, perfect obedience to the Law would accomplish justification before God, secure his favor and eternal life. The same end is now accomplished by faith in Christ. The great design of both is the same; and the same great end is finally gained. This was the subject of discussion between the apostle and the Jews; and this is all that is necessary to understand in the case. Some have supposed that the word "end" refers to the ceremonial law; that Christ fulfilled it, and brought it to an end. Others, that he perfectly fulfilled the moral law. And others, that the Law in the end leads us to Christ, or that its design is to point us to him. All this is true, but not the truth taught in this passage. That is simple and plain, that by faith in Christ the same end is accomplished in regard to our justification, that would be by perfect obedience to the moral law." Source: Biblehub

  • Good answer +1.
    – user25930
    Dec 19, 2018 at 21:04

The answer to this question is actually just a few verses further along in Rom 10:8-13 -

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.

It is just as the Scripture says: “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and gives richly to all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I suggest that Rom 10:4, "For the end of Law is Christ, unto righteousness to everyone believing." should be understood in three ways:

1. Attempts to obtain righteousness by doing works of the law is (humanly speaking) utterly futile and an attempt at the impossible. See Rom 3:20-22 -

Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin. But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets. And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

When Jesus comes along and we believe in Him, all attempts at righteousness via works COME TO AN END. Thus, for the believer, Jesus becomes the end of the legalism and the start of righteousness by faith. See 2 Cor 5:14 -

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died.

This is not to suggest that Christians should not be law-keepers - they should; BUT, Christ is the end of keeping the law as a means of salvation. It is "Christ in us, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).

2. Christ is not only the end, but the beginning and middle of our faith and salvation. Note the following:

  • Heb 12:2 - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter [same word as in Rom 10:4] of our faith
  • Acts 4:12 - Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  • John 15:5 - apart from Me you can do nothing.

Thus, we are completely and totally dependent on Christ for all good things, including good works [= "righteousness"], as per Eph 2:8-10 -

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.

3. Christ is end, meaning Christ is the goal of our development. We must be imitators of Christ.

  • Love as Jesus loved. John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2.
  • Lay down life for friends. John 15:13, Eph 5:2.
  • Jesus’ suffering leaves us an example. John 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21.
  • Because Jesus was persecuted, so are His followers. John 15:20, 21.
  • Conformed to the likeness of the Son. Rom 8:29.
  • Forgive as Jesus forgave. Matt 6:12, 14, 15, 18:35, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13.
  • Be holy as Jesus is holy. Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
  • Be pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3.
  • Partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.
  • We are being changed into Christ’s glory (= reputation). 2 Cor 3:18.
  • Pray as Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35.
  • Be servants to others as Jesus was. John 13:15-17, 1 Peter 4:11b, Matt 20:24-28.
  • Be patient as Jesus was patient. 1 Tim 1:16.
  • Talk/speak as Jesus speaks. 1 Peter 4:11a.

Christ as telos nomos

«For Christ is the end of the law»

In other words, Christ as telos nomos. That's one of the most dramatic statements of the Romans.

There's no doubt the nomos represents the mosaic law. So the potential confusion is in the word telos.

telos can mean two different things that lead to different visions. In particular, it can mean

  1. End.

  2. Goal.

Which one is the most correct meaning?

Adapted from Fitzmyer, J (1993), Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, the goal (meaning 2) of the law is preferred because of the relationship of Romans 10:4 to Romans 9:31-33, where the "pursuit" of righteousness by Gentiles implies a "goal" to be achieved. Christ is the goal of the law because through Him humanity can achieve what was the goal of the law, namely, righteousness in God's eyes. The cherished status of righteousness before God is now available to all through faith.

So, the Messiah did not abolish the law, as there is still a permanent need to condemn sin through the testimony of the law. Instead, Christ is the solution provided by the law.


End, endpoint, culmination, completion.

Greek: 5056. τέλος Telos means end. Compare, Hebrews 12:2 Jesus is the G5051 τελειωτής teleiotes completer or finisher (KJV) of our faith. Christ is the end of the law for/towards righteousness. The context makes it clear: Christ has ended the law based righteousness by replacing the criteria or righteousness to be very easy that is simply by faith in him (Romans 10:4-9) Cf. Rom 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us; Eph 2:15 He abolished, nullified the covenant or the law of Moses.

The literal translations are better than the paraphrase and interpretative ones which are confusing.

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

the end of the law] Cp. for the phrase 1 Peter 1:9, “the end of your faith;” i.e. what your faith leads up to. So here Christ our Justification was what the Law (the preceptive Revelation by Moses) led up to, both prophetically by its types and predictions, and preparatively by its sin-discovering and inexorable demands. (See for the latter respect, ch. 7.) The words are capable of the sense “the close of the Law,” i.e. “He who brings it to an end.” But this is not the aspect of the matter in this context, nor in the Epistle as a whole.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

The end of the law.—“End,” in the proper sense of termination or conclusion. Christ is that which brings the functions of the Law to an end by superseding it. “The Law pursues a man until he takes refuge in Christ; then it says, Thou hast found thine asylum; I shall trouble thee no more, now thou art wise; now thou art safe.” (Bengel.)

(ESV Romans 10:4-10) (10:4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (10:5) For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. [cf. Lev 18:5; Ezek 20:11; Gal 3:12] (10:6) But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) (10:7) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (10:8) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); (10:9) because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.[Deut 30:12]

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