One of the beauties of studying is knowing how to make the distinction between the Law of God and the often referred, “Law of Moses” or the Mosaic Law. There is a difference however many cannot see this. For a simple explanation, let’s defined the differences: (1) One was spoken and written by God Himself, and (2) One was spoken by God and written by Moses. Moses didn’t give any laws to anyone. They’re both the “Law of God” but God wrote one on stone, Moses wrote the other on papyrus and skins of animals. Secondly, God’s writing on stone was the Ten Commandments kept inside the Ark of the Covenant and the other was kept on the side of the Ark. Thirdly, one is perpetual having been given to God’s people BEFORE man sinned, the other was given to God’s people AFTER sin. If you can keep this truth, absolute truth, in mind, you will understand the Gospel of Christ in its entirety. If you cannot, then you will muddle your way not only in understanding Scripture, and will prove to be fatal with regards to your salvation.
The beauty I mentioned earlier, I will give you an example. Read the following paragraph which occurred in my study of Romans 9, as given by the renowned historian, Matthew Henry:
“The promises and threatenings shall have their accomplishment; and, one way or other, he (Christ) will magnify the law and make it honourable. This is to be understood especially of the promise of God, which by subsequent providences may be to a wavering faith very doubtful; but it is not, it cannot be, made of no effect; at the end it will speak and not lie.”
Let’s apply understanding since this is not the place to write the whole chapter. One has to look at the word “law” being applied. Is Paul speaking about the Ten Commandment or Mosaic law? Something I have had to do was when reading this 15th century theologian was to remember his roots as being of the “protestant” movement, so fresh from Catholicism, his understanding would typify those major religious denominations which came out of the Dark Ages and the Church (Roman Catholic) teaching. Simply, they do not make the distinction between the Law of God versus the Law of Moses, as most religious organizations are guilty of not doing today. This is understood and acceptable when kept in mind.
The key is remembering who is speaking in Romans 9. Paul. Paul, as a Jew having been converted to Christianity would not have a problem in making the distinction. In fact, he was perhaps the greatest mind in making the distinction and used, by God, as the catalyst in teaching us in these days. His whole work is showing something which is key and those who miss it, well, they will miss so much written in the Scriptures and will put their salvation in jeopardy.
When I read Matthew Henry’s work, I often make editorial changes, for my own purposes and those others who will share my work. I will either capitalized the “l” to make the distinction if it should be referring to the “Law of God” or the “Law of Moses”. Obviously, when speaking about the Ten Commandments, it will always be initial capped (Law) and the other written lower-case (law). With this understood, now look at the quoted paragraph again:
“The promises and threatenings shall have their accomplishment; and, one way or other, he will magnify the law and make it honourable. This is to be understood especially of the promise of God, which by subsequent providences may be to a wavering faith very doubtful; but it is not, it cannot be, made of no effect; at the end it will speak and not lie.”
Which law is Paul referring? Hint: It cannot be the Ten Commandments! Why? Because as a Jew, Paul would already know and that without question, the Ten Commandment Law is always “magnified” and “honorable”. This was never an issue in his day, but it has become an issue in our day, and that sadly.
Now, read this carefully so you will receive the gem which I discovered this morning. Paul is referring to the Mosaic law. When Christianity began, the Jews believed the Christians were against their beloved Mosaic law, when it was not! The Mosaic law, noticed now I continue to use lowercase when referring to this law. However, this law held significant truth. The problem with this law was the people, rather, their religious heads made it their way of salvation and not the purpose in which God intended. It was to guide the people, the law, to Christ, for the law represented Christ and His ministry, the Gospel. In this instance is the “law” made honorable and magnified. Get it?
This is the error so many people have when they do not make the proper distinction between the Law and the law. Now, you do! It’s really not complicated at all. We know the Law can NEVER be done away because it exists in perpetuity, it existed before man, because it is God’s character defined for man. As long as God exists the Ten Commandments exist. On the other hand, the law was given AFTER sin and this is the law which will come to an end. When heaven and earth passes away. When the “jot” and the “tittle” will have been satisfied because then man, in his redeemed state will continue keeping the Law, now written in their heart (Second Covenant), and done because of “love” and not merely an act as the Israelites were guilty of doing regarding the law.
I believe this will be helpful to many in knowing how to apply what they read when it is speaking regarding the Law and the law.
January 3, 2017