Friday, November 9, 2012

Why did God give such a complicated Old Testament Law?

Why did God give us the Old Testament Law? Why would He give such a complicated law full of commandments, requirements, ritual purification, prayers and sacrifice? It truly is a wonderful blessing to be in Christ and under a system of faith today. There is freedom in Christ, especially compared to the confines of the Old Law.

    One is compelled to ask “why did God give His people a law that was seemingly impossible to keep?”. The answer to this question is “because He loved us”. Normally we don’t look at the rigid structure of the old law and think that it reflects God’s love, but it does.

    God loved us so much that He gave us a very detailed, thorough and rigid law, that us, in our human weakness would NOT keep. Does that make the law a stumbling block? No it does not. God gave us the law to show that no matter how hard we try, we can never keep law perfectly (only Jesus has), thus we are unable to justify ourselves solely through our obedience. The law was designed to show us our weakness, our sin. The law was designed to bring us to our knees in humility as one condemned by the law as a sinner in need of justification. The law was given, so that we might identify our own imperfections and place our faith 100% in Jesus who was and is perfect. The law declared to us our need for a Savior, because through our own weakness, the law could never provide for our salvation. Paul put it this way in his letter to the Galatians:

    “...For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:21-25).

    Have you ever tried over and over to do what is right, keep every commandment, follow every example? If you are like every other Christian, you have fallen short time after time again. Maybe you were not evangelistic when you should have been, told a lie, or thought an impure thought. If justification was found through command keeping, we would all be found condemned. Thankfully, it is not! We are saved by our faith in Christ and by trusting in His saving work, not our own. Does this mean that we quit trying to obey or that we now have a license to sin? Of course not (Rom. 6:1-2). Faith does not cancel out obedience, but brings about obedience of a different kind.

    In Christ we engage in the “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5). We obey and we try be more obedient each day, not because we think that our obedience will cancel our our own sinfulness, but because we love Christ. Obedience of faith means we obey, but we know that we will never obey enough, and that is why we love Christ and place our faith Him for salvation. Where have you placed your faith?

Cliff Sabroe