Lesson 6 – The Function of the Law

 The Function of the Law

Lesson Aim:     To understand why God gave the Law to Moses and why it was a temporary arrangement for God’s children.

Scriptures:       Rom. 3:19, 20; 7:1-13; Gal. 3:19-25.


Why the Law?  It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.  Gal. 3:19 

One aim of this lesson is to understand why the Law was given.  To accomplish this aim, we must appreciate the activities of God at the time He gave the Law to Moses.  We will want to comprehend what God had “going on” for mankind at that point in history to develop people as we were created to live. 

We learn from the Hebrew writer a priesthood is always accompanied by a law; therefore, when there is a change of the priesthood there will be a change of law (Heb. 7:11, 12).  Before the time the Law was given to Moses a priesthood did exist.  We further learn from the Hebrew writer the priesthood was the Melchizedek Priesthood and it was according to the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:1-6, 16).  One thing this meant was the priest did not die.  Jesus became a priest after the order of Melchizedek and also according to the power of an indestructible life.  He is God’s High Priest for Christians.   

“In Christ” we have a law by which we can order our lives (Rom. 8:2).  It describes the way we were made to live and grow as children of God.  Any other way is lawless in relation to life.  The nature of the man born “in Adam” has not changed since the beginning; therefore, the law of life cannot be changed.  It is like the law of nature in relation to producing a given fruit.  The law of physical nature and the law of life for our spirits describe the phenomenon of growth for us today just as these laws did for those who lived from Adam to Moses (Rom. 5:13).

Therefore, we can conclude the answer to our question, “What was going on when the Law was given to Moses” is; The Melchizedek Priesthood was in operation and the law was the law of life (Gen. 26:5).  That is, God had given man a law by which he could develop his nature in such a way he could be happy and finally live with God eternally as a son.

Abraham lived and died under the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood (Gen. 14:18-20).  It was during his life God separated Himself from the nations (Gentiles).  He developed the Israelite nation with Abraham as their father (Gen. 12:1-3; Rom. 9:1-5).  They were the children of promise (Rom. 9:8).  They were justified by faith.  They lived by a law that did not impute sin (Rom. 5:13). 

Many grace blessings were not there for the Jews we have now “in Christ.”  These blessings give Christians the proper mental environment.  The Israelites had these blessings as a promise on the basis of an inheritance but they did not fully enjoy them at the time (Rom. 4:13-17; Heb. 11:39, 40).   For instance, they had the law of faith working for them but they did not have the blood of Jesus.  They had a relationship with God but they were not allowed to forget they were sinners.  They lived with their guilty consciences (Heb. 10:1-3).  We can see how one would have had a difficult time living by the law of life as we can today “in Christ.”  We can develop toward the maturity of Christ because we have everything going for us.  Because they did not have their guilt from their conscience they did not have the fellowship of God via the Holy Spirit (Heb. 9:14; I Cor. 3:16, 17).

The Law of Moses was added because of transgressions (Gal. 3:19).  What law did they transgress?  It was the same law God ordained on the basis of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  It was the law that produces life of our “self,” as in eternal life.  Most of the people who lived from Adam to Moses transgressed the way they were made to develop.  They had degenerated in the quality of their lives to the level of death.  They could not think or perceive of the life of their spirit separate from their physical existence (II Cor. 4:16-18).  They had also suppressed the truth about why they were made.  The outer man had gotten in charge of the inner man.  We can understand death and life qualities by reading Gal. 5:19-26. 

Why did God give the Law to Moses?  The Law became a tutor to lead Israel to Christ, but before Christ came; they were kept in custody under the Law.  The Law could not produce righteousness therefore, it could not impart life (Gal. 3:21-24).  The Israelites, through whom God promised to bring the Messiah, had strayed so far from the law of life and the concept of spiritual things, God tutored them with a law dealing with the physical requirements.  The Law was given to make God’s people accountable to Him and to give them knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:19, 20).

The Law came in so the transgression of the law of life might increase (Rom. 5:20).  These people were transgressors of the law for their lives; consequently, they had become so far removed from God in their thinking they were not aware of their problem.  They were living on the death level of the Gentiles (Eph. 4:17-19).  No doubt, they knew they had a problem, just as the people in the world realm know they have a problem; however, they were not able to identify it in terms of the law of life.  The world continuously seeks for answers to their problems; thus far, most people have not been able to even name their problem.

The Law God gave to Moses and specifically the portion which was written on the tablets of stone, named the sin so no one could miss the point.  It brought their sin out and made them painfully aware they were not the kind of people they ought to be.  This did not solve the problem; in fact, it aggravated their problem and caused them to become more of a transgressor of the law of life.  Read Rom. 7:7-11.  The requirement of the Law is fulfilled by love.  The law could not develop love in the character of those who were under its rule (Rom. 13:10).  Therefore, those under the law could not fulfill the requirements of the Law because, as Paul explained, they were not spiritual thinking people (Rom. 7:14-20).

The Law did bring some of them to the righteousness of God “in Christ.”  It demanded righteousness but it could not produce righteousness in mankind because of the weakness of his or her flesh.  It did however tutor some to Christ so they might find righteousness and thereby have life.  (Rom.  10:4; Gal 3:21).

The Law is holy, righteous, and good but it became a problem for the Israelites who sought to be justified by the works of Law (3:27-31).  Man in the fleshly body cannot cease from sin completely in the legal sense.  The Law condemned sin; therefore, the sinner.  It gave power to sin and left the sinner spiritually dead (Rom. 7:8-12).  This is why it became known as the ministry of death engraved on stones (II Cor. 3:7).  A person in this condition needed guidance back to the spiritual law of life.  The Law provided this tutoring service.  Now that Christ has come, Christians no longer need the supervision of the Law (Gal. 3:25).

The Law God gave to Moses was one of the problems for people “in Adam.”  Christians are freed from all law belonging to the category of the Law of Moses (I Cor. 6:12; 10:23; I Pet. 2:16, 17).  We were freed in the same way and at the same time we received our freedom from the other problems “in Adam” in the world; such as sin, death, and the wrath of God.  Christians have died with Jesus, we were buried with Jesus and God raised us up to life (John 5:24; Rom.6:10, 11).  We are born again “in Christ” where we have freedom from the Law God gave to Moses (Rom. 7:1-4).  We are free to follow the law of the spirit of life in Christ (Rom. 8:2, 7).  We fulfil the requirements of the Law of Moses (Rom. 8:3, 4).

Questions for Discussion

  1. What did God have “going on” for mankind to develop themselves by before the Law was given to Moses?
  2. When there is a change in the law, there is also a change in something else.  What was the other thing that changed in the case when God added the Law of Moses because the Israelites transgressed another law?
  3. Name the priesthood before the Law was given to Moses?
  4. What law were the people guilty of transgressing tresulting in their receiving the Law of Moses?
  5. Explain Hebrews 7:16.
  6. The Melchizedek Priesthood and our present priesthood served the same aim for people.  Why should Christians be expected to better accomplish this aim?
  7. Why was the Law given to Moses for the Israelites?
  8. List some of the demands of the Law.
  9. Why was the Law not able to accomplish its demands?
  10. Explain how a person can be freed from all of the problems that came upon the people “in Adam” in the world realm in one gigantic spiritual move. 

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply