Characteristics of the Law
Day 17 of the 22 Day Salvation Study
Notes compiled by Steve McAtee and Marty Zide
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LAW AND THE CURRENT FUNCTIONS OF THE LAW What is the character of the Law? Are there different parts to it, or is it one unified Law?
How does Scripture view the Law of Moses? The Bible portrays the Law as a single unified code of standards. There are not several parts to it. It is one Law. There are several kinds of Laws that may be categorized, however that does not do away with the fact of the unity of the Law. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LAW OF MOSES 1. The Scriptures view the Mosaic Law as a single unit. All 613 commandments are a single unit that makes up the Law of Moses. James 2:10 - For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. Gal. 3:10 - For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them. 2. The Law is one unit. A common practice is to divide the Law into three sections: moral, civil, and ceremonial commandments. Those who divide up the Law like this feel that a believer is no longer obligated to the civil or the ceremonial aspects of the Law, but they believe that the believer is obligated to keep the moral commandments in the Law of Moses. This is a convenient way to divide them up for the purpose of studying the different kinds of commandments, but the Word of God never separates them this way. One cannot keep one part of the Law and not the rest. IV. Is the Mosaic Law operative in our day? If so, how much of it must be obeyed? If it is not operative, does that mean we are presently without any Law? What is the current status of the Law? PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS Doesn’t the fact that 9 of the 10 commandments being carried over into the NT prove that at least part of the Law is still in effect? We know that the civil and ceremonial aspects of the Law cannot be followed, but what about the moral aspect? If part of the Mosaic Law (the Moral Law) is to be kept by NT believers, how do we reconcile the Bible’s teaching that the Mosaic Law was only given to Israel and not to the other nations, nor to the Church? Since the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative, does that mean that there is no use for the Law at all? No, the Law still has the power to reveal the holy character of God and the sinfulness of man. There continues to be value in teaching the Law and the Ten Commandments since they are in the Bible and as such are profitable, II Tim. 3:16 1. The clear teaching of the NT is that all the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative as a result of the death of Jesus. Rom. 6:14-15 - For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Rom. 10:4 - For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 2. NT believers have died in Messiah, therefore making the Law ineffective. Laws of any kind have no binding effect upon someone who is dead. They mean nothing. This is Paul’s primary point at the beginning of Romans 7. Rom. 7:1-7 - Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband... Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of the Messiah, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” It’s interesting that Paul uses a commandment that’s from the “Moral Law” (You shall not covet.) to prove his point that we are no longer under the Law. If we were still under the “Moral Law” it seems that he would not have used a commandment from the “Moral Law” to prove that we are no longer under the Law.
Coming Next – Biblical Facts About The Mosaic Law