Why Have Law?

MEMORY VERSE: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” —Romans 13:10

EXODUS 20:1, 2

THIS is the beginning of a series of lessons based largely upon the Law given to Israel by God at the hands of Moses. There will also be appropriate quotations from the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, from writers other than Moses. The caption of this lesson is thought-provoking—“Why have law?” God’s handling of the entire universe is based on law. Even the stars of heaven are controlled by law, as are all inanimate things. What a crash of worlds there would be if this were not true!

Man, who was created in the image of God, is controlled by laws upon which he can reason, if he will, and to the extent to which these laws are ignored or disobeyed man suffers loss. The outstanding scriptural example of this is Adam’s disobedience to divine law, and the thousands of years of suffering and death to which it has led. Sin is the disobedience of God’s law, and the wages of sin ultimately is death.

It was shortly after the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt that God gave them his Law. And although the Lord promised life to anyone who could and would keep that Law perfectly, the Law itself was not God’s provision for giving life to Israel or to the remainder of the world of mankind. God’s plan for giving life to all the willing and obedient of mankind was expressed in the promise he made to Abraham that through Abraham’s seed all the families of the earth would be blessed—with life, that is, through the redeeming blood of Christ.—Gen. 12:3

“Wherefore then serveth the Law?” Paul asks. His answer is, “It was added [to God’s promise] because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal. 3:19) Paul explains in this same chapter of Galatians that in reality the promised “Seed” of Abraham through which all the families of the earth will he blessed is Christ. (vs. 16) Jesus’ footstep followers are heirs with Christ in the promise of the “seed.”—vss. 27-29

Without law a nation, or a people, deteriorates rapidly; so, as Paul explains, because of transgression the Law was given to the Israelites to hold them together as a people until Christ came, for, as the Scriptures indicate, it was God’s plan that the natural descendants of Abraham should be given the first opportunity to be joint-heirs with Christ in the future work of blessing all the families of the earth. When Jesus did come only a few of his own people accepted him, so the Lord turned to the Gentiles to make up the remainder of the foreordained number of this promised Seed.

PSALM 119:97-104

The record of ancient Israel is predominantly one of disregard for the Law which God gave to them, although in every generation there were a few of whom this was not true. Jesus referred to these as “Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile.” The prophets and psalmist were among these.

The psalmist of our lesson wrote, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (vs. 97) And again, “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies.” (vs. 98) “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation”—vs. 99

How eloquent is the psalmist’s testimony as he continues: “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth”—vss. 100-103

While Jesus did not teach that one could gain everlasting life by keeping the Law, he did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17) Our memory verse explains that “love is the fulfilling of the Law,” and certainly Jesus demonstrated the way of love by laying down his life for Israel and for the world.


Could the universe exist without law?

Mention some of the outstanding examples of faithfulness in ancient Israel.

How is love the fulfilling of the Law?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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