Law is a rule of action; a precept or command coming from a superior authority. In the case of a Christian, that superior is God and the inferior is man who is bound to obey His law.
Are we to set aside the moral law (Ten Commandments) of God, of course not! The N.T. reiterates its commands, develops more fully the embryonic and creative truths contained in it, and focuses attention upon the spirit of the law as over against the letter of the law.
Man is told of the moral function of the law, through the Scriptures. It is the expression of the character and will of our LORD, setting forth the only standard for man to follow.
The N.T. commandments are expressed by positive exhortations rather than by warnings, critical examinations and evaluations. Yet the underlying principles are the same. Right and wrong are not determined by the voice of man’s society, but by the voice of God through His law.
The word law is used in Scriptures with a great deal of latitude. Its meaning in any one particular place in Scriptures requires us to examine the scope and context of the passage in which it is used.
The law may refer to human instruction,
Proverbs 1:8, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Or,
To God’s instruction,
Isaiah 1:10, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Go-mor-rah.” Or,
To regulation, Leviticus 7:7, “As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it.” Or,
To the law of Moses, 1 Kings 2:3, “Keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses.”
Or it may refer to the whole revealed will of God as communicated to us in His word;
Psalms 1:2, “But his (man’s) delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he (man) meditate day and night.”
Psalms 19:7, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.”
Psalms 119:1, “blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” See all of Ps.119.
Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Isaiah 42:21, “The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.”
There are times when the law is taken for the Mosaic institution as we understand it from the gospel,
John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
From this we get the idea that the Mosaic law is expressive of the religion of the Jews. Now the Gentiles have been grafted into this Jewish Mosaic expression of God, from this through Jesus Christ our Rock, who is our Cornerstone, and from Him comes the church, consisting of both Jew and Gentile.
Hebrews 9:19, “For when Moses had spoken every precept (commandment) to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people.”
This was a shadow of things to come through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
Hebrews 10:28, “He that despise Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.”
How much more punishment shall those who “trodden under foot the Son of God, and have counted the blood of the covenant” unholy, while under the Spirit of grace.
The language of the law states, Ezekiel 18:4, “the soul that sinneth it shall die.”
Hebrews 10:1, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come?”
Ephesians 2:15, “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in the ordinances,”
So what was this thing that was abolished?
Christ abolished through His death, and so in effect destroyed the distinction (the wall of partition) between the Jew and the Gentile.
Galatians 3:16-17, “To Abraham and his seed (1 seed) were the promises made. He saith not (did NOT say,) And to seed, as of many; but as of ONE (Jew and Gentile,) and to thy seed, which is Christ. — that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul (do away with.)”
Frequently it is used to imply the ten precepts delivered to the Jews’ by God through Moses. It is in this receiving with favor the term that the Lord declares,
Matthew 5:17, Christ “came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.” Jesus goes on to explain its importance as requiring perfect love to God and man.
Luke 10:27, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”
In reference to the view that Paul declares,
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.”
The language of the law is,
Galatians 3:10, “Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” And, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.”
In order to deliver us from the CURSE, the penalty,
Galatians 3:13, Christ, “being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Therefore the law was made to convince man he is a sinner, and to show him the necessity of a Savior. The law was NOT given that we should obtain righteousness or justification, but to quiet all men from teaching the hope of salvation through the law, and to bring to them the gospel of grace,
Galatians 3:19-25, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It (the law) was added because of transgressions, till the seed (Church) should come to whom the promise was made.”
Paul now speaks of God as being a mediator of many, we were confined from faith, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that all me might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:25, “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
So the law explains the rule of good and evil, right and wrong as seen through the eyes of God and not man. It has been inscribed on the conscience of man from the creation. In this it has bound all men by Divine authority.
Therefore in the same respect it is in substance, the same with the Ten Commandments, these laws having been implanted in every man, even if man has slipped far from God. Traces of it can be observed even in the basest of men. Any man of a sound mind can distinguish right from wrong, even those who hate God. But,
Romans 2:12-15, “As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.
Verses 14-15, “The Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, there, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean (between themselves) while accusing or else excusing one another.”
Mosaic Law means the moral law! We are to embrace the law with a glory of truth and holiness. The law continues to be a light unto the world on every moral, theological and political principle, even to this day. To conclude, the N.T. is a more perfect dispensation of the knowledge of the moral will of God, then the old Mosaic Law. It has been extended to the heart, rather than just to the letter.
The N.T. laws that are given by Christ Jesus give to us a more perfect revelation of our future state, and a clearer promise of our eternal life in Christ. Also a clearer picture of eternal punishment for those who die without Christ
Phillip LaSpino www.seekfirstwisdom.com