A few thoughts on The Law of Moses
- It is still current. It stands in all its majesty. It will judge those that live by it.
- It still has a use - if used properly - to judge those who do evil; see 1 Timothy 1.
- It was given to Israel in one place in one language - never to us nations.
- It only condemns; it is known as the law of sin and death.
- It gives neither life, nor power (for deliverance), nor an object.
- It was given to make sin stand out in all its ugliness, Romans 5:20, for -
- It was a perfect standard of conduct for man in the flesh.
Sin was in the world from Adam and Eve, before the law was given, but the law provided a standard by which it could be measured.
- When the Lord was here amongst Israel, He acknowledged it, because at that point it was still the “link” between God and that nation, the first covenant.
- “But now, without [apart from] law, righteousness of God is manifested”, Rom.3:21. “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”, Gal.3:6. That was before the law was given.
- Scripture never speaks of Christ’s righteousness for our justification.
Jesus was righteous, holy, sinless, but that of itself would never have availed a thing for you and I. He could have returned to glory and we would have been lost for ever.
We are justified by His blood (Rom. 5:9);
we are justified by faith, (Rom. 4:28), i.e. faith accesses the benefit of that sacrifice;
He has been raised for our justification (Rom.4:25), i.e. our certainty of it,
because the resurrection is proof that the Father fully accepted His sacrifice.
But never are we said to be justified by Christ’s righteousness.
- Where does the Christian stand relative to it? He is dead to it.
A Christian is dead to it, “to be to another”, Rom. 7:4. The Christian has a new husband; I want to please Him now. I do not steal because the law forbids it, but because I belong to Christ. The law says: Thou shalt not steal” - good so far, but that is neutral, not positive. But in Christianity we are told: “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him toil, working what is honest with his hands, that he may have to distribute to him that has need”, Eph. 4:28. The thief becomes a giver. Christianity excels – it surpasses the law. And so I could go on with each of the ten “words” to show that we are expected to go beyond the law of Moses. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”, Rom.4:30. This is a far more refined injunction than anything in the law.
- The law is not dead, nor has it ended. It will judge those who live by it.
- Scripture does not say He is the end of law, but rather:
“Christ is the end of law for righteousness to every one that believes”, Rom. 10:4.
- Grace does not set aside the righteous requirements of the law – see Rom. 8:4. Indeed, those early verses in Romans 8 show that it is only a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit who can “keep” the law of Moses.
- Christ never kept the law for us. Scripture says no such thing. We are justified “without law”, i.e. apart from law. See above for our justification.
- Finally, in Romans 3:31, there is no “the” in Greek in that verse. Translators have made it “the law” rather than “law”, i.e. the principle of law.
MM July 2009