SUNDAY STUDY: The Giving of the Law

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The Midrash says, “If Torah had been given in the land of Israel, Israel might have said to the nations of the world: ‘you have no share in it.’ Therefore the Torah was given in the wilderness, ie., in public for all to see; and everyone who wishes to receive it let him come and receive it” [Mekhilta]

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“There is a good deal of confusion in our minds when we read on the one hand in Romans 6:14, “You are no longer under law but under grace,” but on the other hand in Romans 3:31, “Do we then overthrow the law by faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

Jesus said in Luke 24:44, “These are my words which I spoke to you . . . that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” … Many in Israel twisted the Mosaic law into legalism. That is, they severed it from its foundation of faith, failed to stress dependence on the Spirit, and thus turned the commandments into a job description for how to earn the wages of salvation.

That is legalism. But there is no Greek word for legalism, so when Paul wanted to refer to this distortion of the Mosaic law, he often used the phrase, “works of law” (e.g., Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16, 3:2, 5)… sometimes he simply used the word “law,” as when he said, “You are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

This does not mean: you don’t have to keep the law. It means you are not burdened by it as a job description of how to earn the wages of salvation.”  (John Piper)

For we know that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ and not in works of any law (John 6:29).

Editor

Click on the blue headline link at top to read a beautiful commentary on the giving of the Law to Moses.