Why, then, was the law given at all?

galatians-3-19

Today, we continue with yesterday’s post, “Saved by grace through faith alone, some may ask what is the purpose of the Law? Galatians 3 and Romans 8 will help our understanding. I am using the NLT version to ease the reading…for those who like a little tighter translation, click here for the ESV translation.

Galatians 3
The Law and Faith in Christ
10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”

13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

The Law and God’s Promise
15 Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. 17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.

21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Romans 8
Now, because of this, those who belong to Christ will not suffer the punishment of sin. The power of the Holy Spirit has made me free from the power of sin and death. This power is mine because I belong to Christ Jesus. The Law could not make me free from the power of sin and death. It was weak because it had to work with weak human beings. But God sent His own Son. He came to earth in a body of flesh which could be tempted to sin as we in our bodies can be. He gave Himself to take away sin. By doing that, He took away the power sin had over us. In that way, Jesus did for us what the Law said had to be done. We do not do what our sinful old selves tell us to do anymore. Now we do what the Holy Spirit wants us to do. Those who let their sinful old selves tell them what to do live under that power of their sinful old selves. But those who let the Holy Spirit tell them what to do are under His power. If your sinful old self is the boss over your mind, it leads to death. But if the Holy Spirit is the boss over your mind, it leads to life and peace. The mind that thinks only of ways to please the sinful old self is fighting against God. It is not able to obey God’s Laws. It never can. Those who do what their sinful old selves want to do cannot please God.

But you are not doing what your sinful old selves want you to do. You are doing what the Holy Spirit tells you to do, if you have God’s Spirit living in you. No one belongs to Christ if he does not have Christ’s Spirit in him. 10 If Christ is in you, your spirit lives because you are right with God, and yet your body is dead because of sin. 11 The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. If the same Holy Spirit lives in you, He will give life to your bodies in the same way.

12 So then, Christian brothers, we are not to do what our sinful old selves want us to do. 13 If you do what your sinful old selves want you to do, you will die in sin. But if, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you destroy those actions to which the body can be led, you will have life. 14 All those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons of God. 15 You should not act like people who are owned by someone. They are always afraid. Instead, the Holy Spirit makes us His sons, and we can call to Him, “My Father.” 16 For the Holy Spirit speaks to us and tells our spirit that we are children of God.

romans-8-1

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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13 thoughts on “Why, then, was the law given at all?

  1. Great timing! I’m reading through Leviticus and needed these reminders! I did notice a few times, the Lord said, this is a “permanent law.” I haven’t dug further to see why and I am sure Israelites don’t do most of what He commanded them in the law….Your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blessings and thanks so much for reading…since you are reading Leviticus, I am thinking you are referring to the sacrificial system…the Scriptures teach us that it was a picture or shadow of what was yet to come in Jesus. I am placing some Scriptures from Hebrews that I pray will help answer your question. It is not that God changed His mind on this requirement, it is that “But our High Priest [Jesus] offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time.

      Hebrews 9:11-10:18New Living Translation (NLT)
      Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice

      11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

      13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.

      16 Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. 17 The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.

      18 That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19 For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20 Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” 21 And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22 In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.

      23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.

      24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.

      27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
      Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

      10 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

      3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

      “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
      But you have given me a body to offer.
      6
      You were not pleased with burnt offerings
      or other offerings for sin.
      7
      Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
      as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

      8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

      11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

      15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

      16
      “This is the new covenant I will make
      with my people on that day, says the Lord:
      I will put my laws in their hearts,
      and I will write them on their minds.”

      17 Then he says,

      “I will never again remember
      their sins and lawless deeds.”

      18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
      New Living Translation (NLT)

      Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
      Blessings today and thanks so much for reading, sharing, and your questions. May the Lord bless you real good!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I was in a bit of a hurry this morning and should have waited until I could be clearer. But those are perfect scriptures to keep in mind as we go through Leviticus! Yes, I understand the foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice of the PERFECT LAMB!!! It just hit me how many times I was reading this theme….then I read your post so it was an opportune time to further examine what the Lord was saying. And for these “permanent” or “perpetual statutes” how are the Rabbi’s leading their flocks today in light of these verses…and I may not have all of them!
        Leviticus 3:17 ‘It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.’”
        Leviticus 17:7 “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.”
        Leviticus 16:29-30 “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
        Leviticus 25:23 23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Blessings today! So very sorry for being so long in my response…just been a little busy.
        Leviticus 3:17 is part of the peace offering…it was a voluntary, free-will offering between the worshipper and God that symbolized peace and fellowship between God and man. This was part of the ceremonial law that Jesus fulfilled. 17:7 speaks of the sacrificial system as well and blood. It prohibited the killing of animals without offering them to the Lord…which also prohibited making sacrifices to other gods using blood.
        16:29-30 goes back to the Sabbath of rest and the Day of Atonement. These are all part of the ceremonial law which Christ fulfilled, once and for all, as a sacrifice for our sin (Heb 9:11-12, 24-26, 10:12).
        Lev 25:23 – God says the land is MINE…Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lords and those who dwell therein…I will let you live on it but always know it is Mine as you have no right to sell it. It is Mine, I will do with it as I please. I hope this helps! In Him, ps

        Liked by 1 person

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