Whose Law? -- Lesson 1
Two different laws are given in the word of God: the law of Moses and the law of Jesus Christ. Because they are different, we cannot serve under both. As we study, we will see the purposes of both laws and which one applies to us today.
NOTE: (Before answering any questions,
THE LAW OF MOSES
Almost from his beginning, man chose to disobey God. When he was given a choice of what to do, he considered his own desires, and not the desires of God. But God had paths, and he had a long-range plan for bringing man back into obedience. He gave him a law to help him to know what sin was and to understand how terrible it was.
We know this law as "The Law of Moses." It contained over 500 separate rules for the Israelites to live by. It demanded that they obey God without questioning, and they lived under its rule for about 1,500 years.
The basic foundation of the Law of Moses was the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 19:25 we can read of Moses coming down off Mount Sinai to bring to the people the law he had received while he was in the presence of God. And in Exodus 20:3-17, we find each of the commandments listed.
We can tell from the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:15,16 what blessing came from keeping the law: "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply, and the Lord thy God shall bless you." By keeping the law, the Israelites became a mighty nation.
Now, let's look at that law and see what kind of law it was. In 1 Timothy 1:8, we see that it was "good." In Romans 7:12, it is "holy," and in Romans 7:14, it is "spiritual." So the Law of Moses was good, holy, and spiritual; but it had faults, Hebrews 8:7. It could not forgive sin, even for the Israelite. His sacrifices could not take away sin; they only postponed its consequences for a while.
THE LAW OF JESUS CHRIST
Finally, God knew that mankind was ready for a new kind of law, a permanent one. Man had sinned, grown to know what sin was, at tempted to avoid sin, and learned to try to live closer to God. As God unfolded this plan for the future of mankind, he sent Jesus. When Christ came with the good news that man, through him, could be washed clean of sin, he offered something better than the Old Law.
The Ten Commandments were God's first step toward changing men's attitudes, and God took the last step when he sent Jesus to give us opportunity to obey from the heart. We can read of this in Hebrews 8:6-7 and 12:24. Christ continues to tell us about the Old Law compared to the New Law in Hebrews 8:8-13.
In the Old Testament, there are over 300 prophecies that foretell the coming of Jesus. Just as they described him, he came. As they described his death, he died. And as they pictured his coming to life again, he was resurrected. The Israelites, under the Old law, had waited for a Savior, knowing that he would offer them a better way.
When Jesus came to earth, he fulfilled Old Law. When he died on the cross, the Old Law died too. It was taken out of the way, and was no longer the law for God's children to live under, Colossians 2:14-15. In its place, Jesus gave the world the New Testament to be its guide.
The Old Law had many legal demands. The New Law is obeyed through love, 1 John 5:3. So the New Law combined law and love. It teaches us to obey, as the Old Law did, but it teaches us to obey through love for Jesus Christ.
If you join the United States Armed Forces, you must salute officers, eat in a mess hall, and wear a uniform, because those are the rules. After you have been discharged from the armed forces, you are no longer under those rules. You are discharged, or delivered from that set of rules.
Read Romans 7:6-7. When we were released from the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, we were discharged from them. This happened at Christ's death. He has released us. We no longer serve the Old Law. We are now free to serve Christ under his New Law, a law of love.
WHAT ABOUT ME?
What law do I live under? We, today, live under the Law of Jesus Christ, the New Law, revealed to us in the New Testament. And if we are living under that new law, then we no longer have to obey the Old Law.
Does this mean that we no longer have to obey the Ten Commandments? Read Galatians 3:23-26. Our commandments now come through Jesus, not through Moses. Therefore, in order to find out what God wants me to do, I turn not to the Old Testament, but to the New Testament. There are three reasons why we cannot today look in the Old Testament to find out what God wants us to do:
1. The Old Testament was God's law to the Israelites. Gentiles were never under it.
As you study your New Testament, you will find that each of the Ten Commandments is rephrased in the New Law, except one. That one is "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." At Jesus' death, a new worship day was established: the first day of the week. Throughout the New Testament, the ideas in the Ten Commandments are stressed, but they are to be done through love, not through fear.
LAW CAME BY MOSES
GRACE AND TRUTH
CAME BY CHRIST
OLD LAW (Exodus 20:3-17)
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
1. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matthew 4:10. HELPFUL DEFINITIONS statute--a written law
statute--a written law
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