Paul’s Footsteps #50

Footsteps #50

Was there a difference between the law before and after Sinai? No there was not. God did not need to reveal His law to Abraham with thunder, light­ning, and a penalty of death (Exod.19:10–23). Why, then, did God give the law to the Israelites in that manner? It was because, during their bondage in Egypt, the Israelites had lost sight of God’s greatness and His high moral standards. As a result, they needed to be made aware of the extent of their own sinfulness and the sacredness of God’s law. The revelation at Sinai certainly did just that. The law will continue to point out sin until sin is eradicated. Christ can provide the only remedy for sin, that is to justify sinners and by His Spirit fulfill His law in them.(Rom.8:3-4).  

Adding the law to the covenant means to protect it. When I agreed (a covenant) to be faithful to my wife until death do us part, it implied certain things I would NOT do, just as the Ten Commandments do. God was in effect saying – here are 10 things that will protect our relationship. If you love me, you will not worship another god, use my name loosely, break the Sabbath, or lie, cheat, kill and steal. This is the protecting “hedge” God put around Israel as Isa.5:1-6 says. 

Unfortunately, in their zeal to preserve the Law of Moses after the Babylonian captivity, the Pharisees had 100’s of applications of the law. E.g. they buried the Sabbath in regulations. Jesus stripped these away. It is interesting, then, that the most famous Pharisee in all the Bible—although few people realize that that’s what he once had been—was Paul (Phil.3:5). Who better, then, to write letters such as Galatians, which sought to change the thinking perpetuated by the teachings of the Pharisees and similar groups fixated on the rigorous application of the law to all facets of life? 

It is of paramount importance, then, to learn from the mistakes they made in subverting the very law of God they outwardly claimed to uphold. When Jesus was on earth, He reserved His harshest words for them.  

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