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A Good Law

Exodus 20-24

Adapted from Coy Roper’s Truth for Today commentary on Exodus (pg 340)

  1. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the OT laws.
    1. Who were they given to?
    2. Are they still in effect today?
    3. What purpose did they serve?
  2. The Old Law
    1. Look at the giving of the Law
    2. What covenant is in view in this passage?
      1. Exodus 20:1-17- The 10 Commandments
      2. Exodus 20:22- chapter 24- The “Book of the Covenant”
    3. Who was it given to?
      1. In Ex 19:1-6 God lays out conditions upon which Israel would be God’s people.
      2. Note verse 3 and 6- The covenant to follow was for “the house of Jacob/Israel” 
      3. In verse 8, the people agree to the condition of the covenant.
  3. Why should we think of the Old Law as a good law?
    1. It came with Glory
      II Cor 3:7, Paul describes it as coming with “such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ because of its glory”

      1. Ex 34:29ff
    2. It was Holy
      Rom 7:12, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”
    3. The Law’s moral requirements were good
      1. Shall not murder
      2. Shall not commit adultery
      3. Shall not steal
  4. In what ways was the Old Law a good law?
    1. It was based on God’s gracious acts toward Israel (Ex 19:3-4, 20:1-2)
      1. As God begins to set forth the law, he reminds them of what they have seen in their deliverance and how he has brought them out of the land of Egypt- out of slavery.
      2. It’s as if the acts of God for Israel in the past are associated with his commands for them. Because he loved them he delivered them. Because he loved them he gave them these laws.
    2. It gave guidelines on how to worship and please God
      1. Ex 20:3-7
        1. Because God is a jealous God they were to have no other gods. No idolatry. No sacrificing to other gods (22:20)
        2. They were not to use his name in vain (irreverently, disrespectfully…)
      2. Ex 22:29-30
        1. They were to give to God of their best- this was pleasing to God.
      3. Ex 23:14-17
        1. They were to keep times each year to the Lord. Three feasts. Feasts to remind them of God’s care and deliverance.
    3. It governed actions and thoughtsEx 20:17
      1. The tenth commandment warns against allowing the heart to covet.” Kenneth Harris
    4. It protected the defenseless
      1. Ex 22:21-27
        1. Sojourner should not be oppressed
        2. Poor should not be mistreated
          1. God cared even how they would sleep BECAUSE he is compassionate. So he made laws to care for them. These laws were good
      2. Ex 23:10-12
        1. Poor and beast alike should be treated with kindness. He made a law concerning their need for rest and fair treatment.
    5. It required fairness and honestyEx 23:2-3
      1. Warning’s against false reporting and witnessing
    6. It required a person to treat his enemy wellEx 23:4-5
      1. Care for your enemy
      2. Kindness for the one who hates you
  5. Why then was the Law taken away? 
    1. It was a good law but law could not take away sin
      1. Gal 3:19, 22
        Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

      1. Hebrews 10:4
        For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
    1. People did not need better rules to live by; they needed a Savior.” Coy Roper
  1. Does the goodness of the Law mean that we should live by it today?
    1. No. Even though it was good, it was not what we needed. Notice how it is described by the NT writers.
    2. It was a ministry of deathII Cor 3:7
      1. Christ’s ministry was a ministry of life.
    3. It was a ministry of condemnationII Cor 3:9
      1. Christ’s was a ministry of righteousness
    4. It was “being brought to an end”II Cor 3:11
      1. Christ’s would be permanent
    5. It was a shadowHeb 10:1
      1. The New covenant the real thing.
      2. A shadow is not a full revealing but it tells you some
    6. It was inferior to the newHeb 8:6
    7. It was faulty Heb 8:7
      1. The New covenant faultless.
    8. Its purpose was to bring us to Christ. It was there “until” Christ came (Gal 3:19, 23-25). Christ has come!
    9. It offered the blood of bulls and goats, the New covenant the blood of God himself.
  2. What will we do with the New Law?
    1. As the Old Law came with glory and the Israelites said they would do all the Lord has spoken.
      1. Paul reasoned that if the Old law came with glory, how much more glory will the New bring. In comparison, the old had “no glory at all.”
    2. Can we offer any less? The new covenant was not bought with blood of animals, but with God. If we love him can we withhold our commitment to do “all that he has said”?
    3. Are you willing to obey today? Are you willing to do “all that God has said”? Christ said if you love me you will keep my commandments. Are you ready to show your love to Christ?