2019-08-31 - What is the Law?
Introduction, A. What Is The Law?
One book I used for this study, above and beyond those I am always using, is Mere Morality by Lewis B. Smedes.
First, I want to note there is a distinction between The Law, in its broadest sense, and the Decalogue. The Law encompasses the Decalogue and all the additional detail found throughout the balance of the Pentateuch.
Let me quote the Illustrated Davis Dictionary of the Bible regarding The Law. “The term “the law” with the definite article, but without any other qualifying word, occasionally refers to the whole O.T. in general… ,but it is employed much more frequently as the title of the Pentateuch. … It is the law of God. … It was written in a book …, included the legislation contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy …” 1
Now, while we are going to examine the Decalogue specifically, we will look at The Law as a whole in this introduction for what is true for the whole is true for the part. It is important we understand that just because the Decalogue was given at Sinai, at a specific moment in time, doesn’t mean God had not made His standards known previously. This was the formal giving of a legal code. As Smedes points out in his book, 2 the Israelites weren’t exactly surprised at anything they found in the Ten Commandments.
As with certain institutions found in Scripture, most notably marriage, God sets standards and principles that are general. He expects mankind to obey them whether they follow Him or not. I think these are true of much found in the Law. Conversely, many of the specific rules were given just for Israel, and in some cases applicable only when they were in the Land.
Finally, as Dr. McGee points out:
“In chapter 20 of Exodus, we have the giving of the Law. The Ten Commandments are given first, but they are only part of the Law. Instructions pertaining to the altar are also given; the Law and the altar go together.” 3As we will discuss in Section 3 The Law must go hand-in-hand with the Sacrifice. With the Decalogue comes the Tabernacle, the Brazen Altar, and the shedding of blood.
You will find more info about Pastor Geoff Kragen at GKragen.com, and you may find more of his Bible Studies at http://cfdevotionals.org/links/authgeof.htm
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