Author: Ron Graham
The Law of Moses
—Its goodness, its lack, its replacement
This lesson puts into perspective the law of Moses, showing where it fits in to the topic of law and grace.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul has in mind four laws...
- The law of sin and death through Adam (Romans 7:23, Romans 8:2)
- The law of faith exemplified in Abraham (Romans 3:27 Romans 4:3)
- The law of Moses (Romans 7:6,22)
- The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2).
In this lesson we focus on the third of those laws —the law of Moses.
1 The Law of Moses was Good
Paul refers to the law of Moses in the earlier part of chapter seven. He did not believe that law of Moses was "the law of sin and death" because he refers to the law of sin and death as "a different law" at work in his body, hostile to "the law of God" with which his spirit joyfully concurred (Romans 7:22-23).
So Paul did not believe the law of Moses was "the law of sin and death" rather he believed the law of Moses to be "the law of God" and he believed the law of Moses to be "holy, righteous, and good" (Romans 7:12).
He asks, "Is the law sin?" and he answers, "May it never be!" (Romans 7:7). He asks again, "Did that law which is good become death for me?" and he answers, "May it never be!" (Romans 7:12-13).
You see how careful Paul is not to make the law of Moses a law of sin and death.
2 The Law of Moses was Lacking
Paul criticized the law of Moses not because it was righteous, and thus condemned sin, but rather because, having convicted the sinner, it could offer no escape from the law of sin and death that the sinner was under. In that sense the law of Moses was "the ministry of death" (2Corinthians 3:7). It was not a law of sin; it was not a law of death; yet neither was it a law of life.
3 The Law of Moses was Replaced
Only the law of Christ, which replaced the law of Moses, could turn spiritual death into spiritual life (Romans 8:1-2). Consequently Paul believed that the law of Christ had set Christians free not only from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), but also had released them from an obligation to the law of Moses (Romans 7:6).
To be set free from the law of sin and death, and to also be set free from the law of Moses, and then instead to be under obligation only to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus —is that not most certainly to be under grace?