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Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Law - Its Origin


It is important that we view the law in its appropriate context. To do this we must first and foremost consider its origin. It is referred to both as the law of God and the Law of Moses. Seven times the phrase “the law of God” is used in Scripture. Twenty-two times the phrase, “the law of Moses” is used in Scripture. God is the divine origin and Moses is the human instrument. No place in Scripture are we given to believe that the law originated with anyone other than God. While there are clearly several elements to the law it all originated with God. Thus the moral precepts that are laid down there originate with God. In acknowledging the truth about He from whom the law originated we are compelled to draw certain conclusions about the law He delivered.

First and foremost it is important that we understand that God is holy. Here is a concept that is difficult for us to grasp except in degrees. The difficultly is in the fact that the holiness of God knows no degrees. He is simply holy. He is not holier nor is He the holiest. By that I do not mean that there is anyone that rivals Him in holiness, what I mean is that His holiness is without degree. It knows no limit. He is infinite in holiness. So much so that no qualifying word need be added. There is no degree that need be mentioned. God is simply holy. The Bible simply declares that there is none like Him. To say that He is holiest creates a mental image of Him simply be more holy than us. This misses the mark. Attempting to visualize the extent of God’s holiness we find even our spiritual perception pressed beyond measure as it looses sight of the holiness of God when it vanishes in to the vastness of infinity. On this point there is no mistaking the message of the Bible.

Psalms 99:3 - Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
Psalms 99:5 - Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
Psalms 99:9 - Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.
Psalms 145:17 - The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

His holiness transcends anything with which we have familiarity. The holiest among us are counted as an unclean thing when measured by the standard of God’s nature. His holiness knows no defect, it entertains no imperfection, it reveals no blemish, and it bears any scrutiny.

1 John 1:5 - This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Being light even the slightest tinge of darkness would be easily noted. In God none is to be found. What must a light be like in which is no darkness at all? It is a light sufficient to illumine that heavenly city.

Revelation 21:23 - And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Revelation 22:5 - And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

It is a light that is unapproachable.

1 Timothy 6:16 - Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

God is so holy that sinful man cannot approach him. Thus the necessity of the cross of Christ. Thus the necessity of being in Christ Jesus. Thus the necessity of having the righteousness of God imputed to us. Our only hope of approaching God is through Christ.

John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We would expect that if a person as that described above were to give a law that it would reflect his nature. The law would be a reflection of his values, perfection, and beauty. As such it would naturally run afoul of those who by nature were the opposite of the lawgiver.

The scripture declares:

Romans 7:12 - Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

This is exactly what we would expect considering from whence it originated. A holy God can only produce a holy law. A just God can only produce a just law. A good God can only produce a good law.

The law, in reflecting on the nature of its author, we would anticipate it to be infinitely holy. We would expect it to be a source of light from which we could discern that which was righteous and unrighteous. We would not expect to find any blemish in its precepts. We would, considering our own nature, expect it to reveal our many blemishes. We would find ourselves not wanting to approach it because of its lofty standards and we would thus be found recoiling on numerous occasions at its demands.

It is equally important that we understand that the author of the law is immutable. That is he does not change. Again on this point the Bible is abundantly clear.

Malachi 3:6 - For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

There is no mistaking the declaration of the prophet. He does not change because of who he is, the LORD. The self-existent one, the great I AM! There is no need for change. To change means one of two things. You either get worse or you get better. You cannot change and stay the same. God cannot get worse for to do so He would cease to be God. He cannot get better for to do so He would not have been God. And again the scripture is straightforward in its declaration that he always has been and always will be God.

Psalms 90:2 - Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

God is who He is, He is who He always has been, and He is who He always will be.

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

He is the same. He does not change. What He was yesterday He will be today and what He is Today he will be tomorrow. What He always has been He always will be.

Hebrews 1:10-12 - And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

The very heavens and earth will be changed, in fact they will perish. The very things, which are at times used in scripture, as the example of things that are steadfast and unmovable will one day be changed. But in contrast to that God remains the same. The years do not change him. Perfection and infinite holiness needs no change.

Psalms 102:27 - But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

God did not change when he gave the law. God has not changed since he gave the law. We change all the time because we learn and experience. God learns nothing. In fact he knows all things, at the same time, all the time. This is the essence of omniscience. Complete and constant knowledge united with infinite holiness will never be compelled to change.

James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

There is no variableness with God. There is not even the shadow of turning. We go back and forth on an issue, God never does. We make slight adjustments in our outlook and beliefs, God never does. God does not change to conform to our inadequacies. We are to change to conform to the image of His Son. By the way His Son was absolutely obedient to the Law. We cannot be lawbreakers and conformed into the image of His Son. The God that we stand before on the Day of Judgment will be the same God Adam stood before in the Garden of Eden. There will be no change in his nature, or his positions. The same God that thundered from Mount Sinai will be the same God before whom we stand and give account. The same God who sacrificed himself on Calvary will be the same God we view on the Bema Seat. The years do not change Him. The issues do not change Him. The culture does not change Him. The compromises of His people do not change Him. The fads and fashions of this world do not change Him. The toleration of sin does not change Him. He is unchangeable.

The law, in reflecting the nature of its author we would anticipate to be unchangeable. It would know no variableness. It would not change through the years. To need changing would admit of imperfections or inadequacies. To change would imply the lack of knowledge or understanding. We would expect the law to be formidable, unrelenting, and uncompromising.

While it would be easy to decry such a rigid standard it must be remembered that it is rigid in holiness and perfection. We do not decry rigid standards when it comes to the market place or the production of consumer items or the food supply. We should not despise rigid standards in the moral/spiritual realm. They are after all for our own good.

Deuteronomy 10:13 - To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

The commandments are for our good. Sometimes things that are for our good we do not necessarily like. How many times have parents forced their children to do certain things because it was for their good? All their pleas of not wanting to do it fell on deaf ears, because with our experience and knowledge we knew it would be in their interest to follow through on the command. In the same manner God has provided us with a law that is for our own good. His experience and knowledge being far superior to our own is not to be questioned. The primary difference is that God will allow us to violate his law to our own destruction. He does not want coerced obedience but willing, loving obedience.

Understanding the origin of the law should give us a proper platform from which to properly evaluate the character of the law.
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