The Lord’s basic spiritual (moral) Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments which He gave to Israel, written in stone, from atop Mt. Sinai (Exo. 20). Though having the Law in writing was a new phenomenon, the Law itself with its wide-ranging commandments was not new. Recall that God selected Abraham to be the patriarch of His chosen people “… because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Laws” (Gen. 26:5). This was some 450 years before those edicts were given to Abraham’s descendants in the Sinai desert.
Eve’s conversation with the Serpent reveals that God’s Law was in effect then. We know this because she told the Serpent (Satan) what God had said she and Adam could and could not do. She also knew the reward for obedience (eternal life in paradise) and the penalty for disobedience (death).
God does not issue suggestions or offer options–EVERY WORD, AND THE TOTALITY OF HIS WORD, IS LAW. He states in no uncertain terms that to break His Law in part is to break it in whole (Jam. 2:10). He also states that the result of breaking His Law is death (Rom. 6:23). He also said that where there is no Law there is no sin (Rom. 4:15). Where there is no sin, there is no punishment. Adam and Eve were punished. The angels who sinned were punished. First John 3:4 tells us that sin is the breaking of the Law. Therefore the angels, Adam, Eve and their descendants were and are punished for breaking the Law of God. Did someone say COVID-19, defeat in Afghanistan, meaningless random killings, invasion, welfare rolls exploding, millions living of the labor of others, gender confusion, criminal heroes, fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, burning cities, parched farmland, devaluation of the dollar, inflation, soaring unemployment, business failures, international ridicule, foreigners buying up American farms and factories, etc., etc., etc. ad infinitum? Why? SIN–GOD IS CURSING AMERICA BECAUSE SHE HAS TRANSGRESSED HIS LAW. If, that is, we can believe the Bible. Which is the crux of the problem–man hates God’s Word.
A vital, yet unknown statement was made by Moses as he reminded the Israelites of the time when God gave them their code of life. In Deuteronomy 5 we find him telling them about the Mt. Sinai (Horeb) episode. After reciting the Ten Commandments, he then added five Words that, though seemingly unimportant, speak loudly: “… AND HE (GOD) ADDED NO MORE. And He wrote them in stone and gave them to me (vs 22).” God’s Law of life for those who would be His was complete, lacking nothing. But for any law to produce its designed effect, it must be obeyed.
Israel disobeyed, prompting God to threaten to kill every Israelite except Moses. Moses, the most humble of men, begged Him not to kill everyone. Only because “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much” (Jam. 5:16), God withdrew His threat of national annihilation. He did, however, kill 3000 of those who had rebelled against Him (Exo. 32:9-14).
Now recall Deuteronomy 5:22–“and He added no more.” In Galatians 3:19 the Apostle Paul wrote that there was a “LAW THAT WAS ADDED” BECAUSE OF THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE. That law commanded a blood sacrifice for sin. But this was not new. Recall that God killed animals to make “coverings” for Adam and Eve after their fall. Animal blood was shed because of their sin.
Such became the case for the backslidden Israelites whose sins had been forgiven before leaving Egypt. This had been followed by their symbolic baptism in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1-4). Following the Sinai rebellion of the Israelites and the institution of added law, they were required to go once each year to the Temple in Jerusalem where they shed the blood of animals which COVERED the sins they had committed the previous year. The use of animal blood to COVER man’s sins ended with the shedding of Christ’s blood to REMOVE repentant man’s PAST sins (to justification him) at the time of conversion (Rom. 3:25). Immersion in water symbolizes the “washing away” of man’s PAST sins. He rises from the water a “new creation.” “Behold, all things are made new” (2 Cor. 5:17). In the eyes of God, truly repentant man’s sins never happened. He is rendered righteous by being filled with God’s Holy Spirit whose power enables him to resist the temptation to sin–to remain righteous. Those who hear and obey the “voice” of God (through His Spirit) from within, “they (and only they) are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). The Holy Spirit (God’s “voice”) tells Hiss saints to obey His Law. The true saint hears and obeys His Holy Spirit. “For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just(tified) before God, but the doers (workers/obeyors) of the Law shall be (remain) justified” (Rom. 2:13). Jesus said that only those who remain justified until the end (of their lives or His return) will (then) be saved (Mat. 10:22).
In addition to the broad principles of the Ten Commandments, God also gave the Israelite fathers (“patriarchs”) statutes designed to help the people. Statutes are expressions of the Law that involve certain acts that, for God’s people, are forbidden. An example of a statute is failing to observe a Holy Day as listed in Leviticus 23.
He also gave judgments that addressed the people’s legal rights. These judgments are binding decisions based on the Ten Commandments. Whether given by God Himself, as in Exodus 21-24, or by the judges, prophets or apostles, judgments are inspired by God and proclaimed as coming from Him. With the passage of time man invents sins that are not specifically addressed in the Bible. For example, smoking. Smoking is forbidden by God and His church because the nicotine becomes one’s god. Proof: a nicotine addict can go days, even weeks without cracking open the Bible or praying. But he cannot go more than a couple of hours without his drug. I grew up in a family of drug addicts who were among the most religious of the species. Nicotine exerted much more control over their lives than did the Biblical God they thought they were serving. They obeyed their drug demon when he called regardless of the circumstances. But they could ignore God until a more convenient time–Sunday, Christmas, Easter, etc. Or, when things turned extremely bad. Nothing has changed. On Sunday men and women still obey the dictates of their drug demon until forced to go inside the building where they hear the gospel put forth by the prophets of the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4) who remind them that being in the sun god’s building on his day (Sun Day) proves that they have been saved by the God they are rebelling against. Only Satan could orchestrate such a fiasco.
In God’s church the Ten Commandments (Law of God), statutes and judgments (law of Moses) are still in effect. It was the ritual, animal sacrifice law that was nailed to the cross. L.J.