The fundamental law is recorded in Exodus 20 and is the basis for all the law. Details of the law are found in the book of Deuteronomy. Although Christans are under grace and not law, every righteous and moral principle of the Law of Moses is taught in the New Testament.
I. WHAT THE LAW WAS.
A. It was an expression of the righteousness of God, and His disapproval of sin in man (Romans 5:13) For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (Romans 2:12) For 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; For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
B. It was a standard for right and wrong. It was wrong for Cain to kill Abel but there was no law that said so until the Law of Moses. The Law spelled it out.
C. it was an expression of the holiness of God (Romans 7:12). Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
II. WHY THE LAW WAS GIVEN.
A. Because of transgressions (Galatians 3:19). Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of trangressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
B. To be a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24). Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
C. To make sin known (Romans 7:7). What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.
III. THE LAW WAS NOT GIVEN THAT MEN MIGHT OBTAIN LIFE THROUGH KEEPING IT.
A. It is impossible for any law to give life (Galatians 3:21). Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
B. No man ever kept the law perfectly (Romans 8:7,8). Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
C. Christ came to do what the law could not do (Romans 8:3). For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
D. Lawful use of the law (I Timothy 1:8-11). But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
IV. THE LAW WAS A MINISTRATION OF DEATH.
(II Corinthians 3:6-11). Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8. How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9. For if the ministration of condemnation be glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
V. THE LAW WAS DONE AWAY FOR THOSE IN CHRIST.
(Colossians 2:14-17). Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15. And having spiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
(II Corinthians 3:9-11) For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11. For if that which is done away was glorious, much mor that which remaineth is glorious.
VI. IF THE BELIEVER IS NOT UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES, IS HE WITHOUT LAW?
A. He is under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:3). For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
B. He has a new priest – an heavenly (Hebrews 7:11,12). If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
VII. OUR MOTIVE FOR DOING RIGHT WITHOUT BEING UNDER LAW.
A. The love of God motivates the child of God. It is the Law of love (John 14:23,24). Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
B. Love is the fulfilling of the law. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10)
C. The keeping of the law never caused any to love God, but the indwelling Spirit sheds God’s love in the heart through the new birth (Romans 5:5). And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.