“For some men, straying from these things, have turned to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully….” (1Tim1:6-8)
Why would Paul say the Law is good if one uses it lawfully? The apostle is saying
that the Law of Moses has to be viewed through the lens of the new covenant. Therefore the Law of Moses can serve as a text-book in many respects, but it cannot be used in place of the covenant of Christ. Each covenant is distinct in itself.
Paul’s point is that while the Law of Moses contained wonderful truths of God, yet much of the Law of Moses is simply not applicable to the covenant of Christ. The reason is that both Laws are marriage contracts. We are espoused to the resurrected Lord of glory. Israel of the Old Testament did not have that privilege.
Paul speaks with regard to those in Israel who rejected Jesus, as Israel after the flesh. The King James Version says it this way: 1 Corinthians 10:18;
But Israel after the flesh; are not those which eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?” (1Co10:18)
The covenant of the husband…
Let’s go to the prophet Jeremiah, where the Lord explains the new covenant;
Behold, days are coming, ‘declares the Lord,’ when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers … My covenant which they broke, although I was a *HUSBAND* to them.” (Jer31:31,32 Caps for emphasis.)
Notice God says that the new covenant would not be like the covenant of Moses. Why? There would be a death of Israel’s husband, which would nullify the former marriage contract. (The Man on the cross was the God of Israel manifest in the Son.) From the cross would come a new creation. This new marriage covenant would be a marriage between the Messiah and His elect. (Holy begotten ones.)
This new order will take up the name Christian, which means, ‘belonging to Christ.’ (Isaiah 65:15 speaks of a new name to be given God’s people.)
This new order would have its own marriage contract that would be suitable to it. Jesus said we cannot put new wine into old wine skins. The covenant of Moses was never intended for a new creation people. It was designed for an earthly people until the Christ should come.
Now continue with Jeremiah;
“But this is the covenant which I will make … I will put MY LAWS within them and on their heart I will write it…” (Vs33)
Each covenant contained a heart issue. In the new covenant each person born from above receives into their heart the very Spirit of Christ, who, in turn, works and writes new covenant laws into their heart. It is the imprinting God’s wonderful truths that helps us to process life as we should. In the covenant of the Law, God wrote on stone tablets.
Again notice the Lord did not say He would put the Law of Moses within His new covenant people, rather He would write His Laws or His instructions in them. (The Hebrew word ‘torah’ often translated as ‘law’ simply means ‘instructions’ or ‘teachings.’)
I need to repeat this for the sake of understanding – The law of Moses was the law of the husband given at Sinai. In the new covenant we are under a new law, which is called ‘the law of Christ.’ It is a new marriage contract, without any curses. And yet, both the law of Moses and the law of Christ contain eternal laws (truths) of God.
The song of Moses and the Lamb.
The covenant of Moses did not have the spiritual love factors built into it that are contained in the new covenant. Love was commanded, but it was not fulfilled. Why? Because the defect of Adam’s sin still rested upon the people. Before the cross, no person could attain the spiritual expressions that are found in the new covenant.
This is why Peter said,
And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (1Pe1:8)
Listen to Moses as he sings this song over Old Testament Israel;
They have acted corrupted toward Him, they are not His children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation.” (Deu32:5)
Peter alludes to this song on the day of Pentecost. The song of Moses and the Lamb is a prophetic song. It reaches across the generations and fulfills itself in the Lord Jesus Himself. In the book of Revelation it is called ‘the song of Moses and the Lamb.’
And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!’” (Rev 15:3 NASB)
The defect of Adam…
What did Moses mean by their ‘defect?’ This reflects on the fall of Adam. All humans on this planet inherited that defect. The best religion in the world, and Israel had the best, could not remove the defect. Only the cross could do that.
This is also why the new covenant cannot essentially be classified as a religion. It is a living union between God and His people. This is a love union. However, if we wish to call Christianity a religion we must reckon it as ‘the religion of the Bible.’ (We have far too many manmade synthetic ‘sectarian’ religions.)
This is also why God’s people began to tire of religion. When believers go from Church to Church, it isn’t necessarily that they are being rebellious. Often they just don’t understand that what they are looking for cannot be found in any religion. Find the truth, and God will flock you where you belong.
Paul was a Christian Hebraist
Let’s return to Paul’s teaching on Law. One problem we have in the study of Scriptures is our distance from the writers. We are not familiar with the thought form, with the customs, or with the word usages, along with many other things that belonged to the early Church, or to the new covenant. Because of this, we tend to lose sight of distinctions being made.
When we see the term ‘the Law of God’ in New Testament writings, we automatically think ‘Law of Moses.’ In many cases the Law of Moses is in view, but not always.
Let’s see the distinctions. Paul puts three distinct Laws together in one portion of Scriptures. Listen carefully to the language that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 9:19-21. (The numbers (1), (2), etc. will be explained.)
To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the Law(1), as under the Law(1) though not being myself under the Law(1), so that I might win those who are under the Law(1); to those who are without law(4), as without law(4), though not being without the law of God(2) but under the law of Christ(3), so that I might win those who are without law(4).
Do you see the distinctions? Read it carefully in your Bible and these four law usages stand out.
(1) Is a reference to the Law of Moses. (2) Is with regard to the law of God. (3) Is to the law of Christ. And, (4) is to those with no regard to any law.
Now compare this to Romans 2:14,15, says,
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law(1) do instinctively the things of
the Law(1&2), these, not having the Law(1), are a law(2) to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law(1&2) written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness…”
The (1&2) is used to show that the Law of Moses had encoded in it God’s eternal laws. And yet, the Law of Moses itself is not in itself the eternal Law of God. The Law of Moses was for that moment, and for that marriage.
The curse is removed in Christ.
And so, it wasn’t the Laws of Moses that was written in the hearts of these Gentiles. It would have been God’s eternal laws, or the Law of God. (God would not write into the hearts of the Gentiles a covenant that had to do with Israel alone.)
Again we come to the fact that the Law of Moses was essentially a marriage contract between Israel and God. No other nation had a part in that contract. A great portion of the Law of Moses had to do with the land, with temple worship, with blessings and curses of the marriage. Understand this and it will help you understand the new covenant better.
And so what did Paul mean, when he said,
But we know that the Law [of Moses] is good, if one uses it lawfully?”
Or, what did Paul mean, when he said, “…the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life?”
The apostle is showing that in much of the Law of Moses you will find wonderful things that pertain to the Lord Himself. But the Law of Moses cannot be used as an instrument of righteousness because it was written for an earthly people. The covenant of Christ is purposed for a heavenly people. (Those who are born of God’s Spirit.)
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2Co 3:5-6 NASB)
The Law of Moses was a covenant of the letter. The new covenant is entirely a covenant of the Spirit. Each covenant served a different purpose.
Hear it from two of our apostles:
John – “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16-17 NASB)
Paul – “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death [Law of Moses]. For what the Law [of Moses] could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law [of righteousness] might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:2-4 NASB)
Removing the bruise
Is it any wonder that so many Christians are being bruised by those who do not understand the covenant of Christ, or the love of Christ, or the forgiveness of Christ; those who keep reaching back into the Law of Moses and use it as a whipping post to bring condemnation upon God’s children.
And so we need to hear it again:
For some men, straying from these things, have turned to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully….” (1Tim1:6-8)
The Lord Himself said,
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Gen3:15)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:5-6 KJV)
My word to any minister who is using the Law of Mose to beat up on God’s people is simple -
Stop bruising God’s people. They have been bruised enough by the world. Jesus took their place. If you have been led astray in your on teachings, take your heart to the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing. (Both Paul and James said that ministers would receive a stricter judgment.)
Think about it.
Please take time to listen to the message in this video:
Always your servant in Christ,