Law of Moses

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The law was like a straight edge given by God to make manifest the crookedness of man. “[The] law entered that the offense might abound” (Rom. 5:2020Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (Romans 5:20)), that is, not to increase sin, but to show its offensiveness, and to bring it home to the soul. “By [the] law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:2020Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)). The apostle said that he would not have known lust had not the law said, “Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:77What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)). The object of the law therefore was to evince the heinousness of sin, while it was a test of the obedience of man to God. It was given to Israel only, the one nation which was under God’s special dealings, and in which He was trying man in the flesh. The heading of the ten commandments is “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” and this could apply only to the Israelites. Again, God says, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:22You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. (Amos 3:2)). The Gentiles are described as not having the law (Rom. 2:1414For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: (Romans 2:14)), though they had the work of the law written in their hearts, and a conscience which bore witness when they did wrong. As the Gentiles became associated with Israel, and heard what God required morally of man, they doubtless became more or less responsible according to the light received. But greater light having come in, the Galatian Christians are sharply rebuked for putting themselves under law, where, as Gentiles, they never had been. Some things forbidden in the law were wrong intrinsically, such as theft, murder, but other things were wrong only because God had forbidden them, such as the command to abstain from eating certain creatures called “unclean.”
The law in its enactment of sacrifices and feasts was essentially typical and foreshadowed what was to be fulfilled in Christ. In accordance with this, Paul, as a Jew, could say, “The law was our schoolmaster unto Christ”; and the Lord said, “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me” (John 5:4646For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. (John 5:46)). This is an important point, for the passage that speaks of the law as the schoolmaster goes on to say that it was in order that they “might be justified by faith.” After that faith was come believers were no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:2525But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (Galatians 3:25)). A converted Jew was no longer under the law—how much less a Gentile believer whom God had never put under the law! See SCHOOLMASTER.
This is often construed to mean that while the Christian is not under the law for justification, he is under it for walk, as a rule of life. This theory is however opposed to scripture, which says, “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:1414For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)). A Christian has died with Christ and lives unto God, beyond the jurisdiction of law, which applies to man in the flesh, man “in Adam.” Christianity is not in its true power apart from death and resurrection. See also Galatians 5:1818But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18).
Many contend that the ceremonial law is abrogated, but that the moral law is binding upon all. This distinction between the ceremonial and the moral law can only be true in so far as the law is the embodiment of moral principles, which must ever be the rule of conduct for an intelligent being as such. So the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled now in those who walk after the Spirit—while they are said to have become dead to the law by the body of Christ. Scripture speaks only of “the law.” The law engraven on stones (the ten commandments) is called “the ministration of death,” not the law of life to a Christian (2 Cor. 3:77But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: (2 Corinthians 3:7)). Law gives no power over sin; indeed, no sooner does a law say that a particular thing must not be done, than a desire arises to do it. Scripture does not say a word about the Christian being ruled by law; but it says that grace teaches him how to walk (Titus 2:11-1211For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11‑12)), and because he is under grace sin will not have dominion over him. The law depicted what a righteous man should be for the earth. It was perfect for the purpose for which it was given, but as seen in the question of divorce (Mark 10:44And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. (Mark 10:4)) it permitted what God had not intended for man at the beginning, and to this Christ bore witness. In Matthew 5:21-4821Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. 33Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. 38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:21‑48) the Lord mentions five particulars, which they had heard in old time, in contrast to which He legislates in accordance with the new order of things that He was bringing in. The law did not come up to the responsibilities of Christianity. The Christian has a higher standard, even Christ Himself. He is to walk “worthy of the Lord” unto all pleasing. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, he is to walk in Him, (Col. 1:1010That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10); Col. 2:66As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (Colossians 2:6)); and to walk also “worthy of God” (1 Thess. 2:1212That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12)); indeed his aim should be to say, with Paul, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:2121For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)).
Man naturally clings to law because it recognizes him as alive in the flesh. And though the curse follows the not keeping it in all points, yet he is not willing to give up that ground. Christ glorified is the One whom God now recognizes—He only suits God’s glory. Hence every one that is not “in Christ” is a sinner already condemned by the light that has come in.