Why Study God's Law?

 
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By Garry Maddux

September 11, 2022

Opening Scripture Deuteronomy 30:15-16

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. KJV.

As we begin our journey into why study the law, we start with what Paul says, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12”

The Law is good and it defines sin. Our desire as believers is to avoid sin and to serve God.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 

Romans 7:7 What 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. 

Being raised Baptist, my understanding of sin was breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Additionally, it was a sin if you did not try to witness to others and get them saved. It was ok to sin because we are under grace and once saved always saved, was my understanding of the Baptist teaching. Like most other denomination churches, the belief was that the Law was done away with. It was years before my thinking changed about the Law. Now I enjoy studying the Law daily and getting new insight about God. I began to understand how the Law converts the soul and rejoice when my eyes are open to new insight into God’s word.

The Law converts our souls and opens our eyes to understanding our creator and His desire for our life. 

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 

What is God’s law?

A written law according to Webster's (1828) dictionary is a rule of action prescribed or enacted by a sovereign and promulgated and recorded in writing: a written statute, ordinance, edict, or decree.

The Mosaic law, the institutions of Moses, or the code of laws prescribed to the Jews, as distinguished from the gospel (Webster, 1828).

In this study, all reference to the Law refers to the Mosaic law except where noted.

All scriptures are quoted in the KJV unless stated otherwise.

Laws Given to Moses at Sinai

Silberberg (2020) says, “When Moses went up to heaven to receive the Torah, God gave him the Written Torah together with many instructions. These instructions are called “the Law that was given to Moses on Sinai”. It is impossible for any argument or disagreement concerning the law, for the Israelites who heard the instructions from Moses implemented them into their daily lives and passed it on to their children, who passed it on to their children, etc.”

There are 613 laws and commandments related to the Law with scripture support. It is broken down into 248 positives and 365 negative commandments.

The law was to be read every seven years to all Israel and all strangers.

The law was enforced by the government and read by the priest.  Deuteronomy 31:9 – 12

Adam and his descendants were aware of many of God’s commandments

Adam was instructed about finding a helpmate. (No suitable helpmate was found) Gen 2:18-20

Abel understood the law of sacrifice. His sacrifice was accepted whereas Cain’s was not. Gen 4:4 

Noah had to separate clean and unclean for the trip on the ark. Gen 7:2   

Abraham made sacrifices and tithed. Gen 14:20

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all knew about Idols.

Jacob's wife kept an Idol from her father. “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.” Gen 31:32

All things in the world that God created follow God’s law.

The following is part of a Sermon delivered by C.H. Spurgeon, in 1906 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“Those who have been able to observe the marching of an army of locusts have been amazed beyond measure with the marvelous regularity of their advance. The locusts have no king yet go they forth all of them by bands. . . As I considered this remarkable fact in insect life, my meditations led me to note the order which reigns, not amongst locusts only, but throughout the whole of god’s world; and then I said within myself, — After this fashion should there be order and arrangement in the Christian Church. Spurgeon (1906)”

Spurgeon (1906) continues, “If there be any among us who are not converted, let me remind them that they are out of order, and let me tell them what comes of that. When a man sets himself in opposition to God’s laws, they crush him as surely as he is there. Even so, if you are out of order with God, there is no help for it, but your destruction is certain if you remain opposed to him.”

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

God’s law is based upon love.

To love God with all heart, soul, and mind. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

To Love the Lord is to Love the Commandants

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.   This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 

The Old Testament confirms we are to love thy neighbor as thy self. (Leviticus 19:18)

When we study the Commandments, we are to base it upon the precepts of how we love God and how we love our neighbor. These two commandments fall upon all the law and prophets. (Matthew 22:40)

Love is the basis throughout the teachings of the law in the Old Testament.  God was so gracious He gave us instructions on how to love and relate to Him and what He expects of us. To love God and to love thy neighbor is more than burnt offerings.

Mark 12:32-33

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 

Thus, in following the guidelines in the law, we tell God that we love Him.

God’s love is defined by keeping His commandments

1 John 5:1-3 

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.   By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.   For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 

Example:  God’s Law on Homosexuality

Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

It is an admonition. How can we love our neighbor if one commits this crime?

God commands us to stay away from homosexual activity.

Does this behavior cause disease and plague those who choose not to stay away?

Is it racial to stereotype bisexual groups?

The media downplays a homosexual disease among gays.

The following is a posting by Finway institute (May 2022) entitled Monkeypox and gay and bisexual men.

“Is monkeypox a gay disease? No. Monkeypox appears to be spreading now among some sexual and social networks of gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). However, there is no such thing as a gay disease … Gay and bisexual men and African immigrants already experience significant stigma and prejudice and are vulnerable to discrimination and violence victimization … The public health response to this outbreak of monkeypox should not be allowed to exacerbate homophobia and racism and the scapegoating of gay and bisexual men and African immigrants (Finway 2022).

Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 

Modern Christians don’t believe we are under the law except for maybe the Ten Commandments

Compelling truth blog (2022) states, “Do Christians need to obey the Old Testament Law? No. However, the Old Testament Law does provide guidelines for living the Christian life. The "moral" laws given to the Israelites describe practical ways to love God and others. It is as if the Israelites were given the rules for soccer and Jesus changed the game to a team marathon. “

Modern Christians believe Jesus changed everything.

We are to stay away from the rudiments of the world.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 

Example: Charismatic belief in being led by the Spirit in determining right from wrong.

According to Farley (2019), “Some claim that we believers died to a part of the Law but we’re still under the Ten Commandments. It’s relatively easy to accept that rules about pork and shellfish and ceremonial washings don’t apply to us Christians today. But it’s a lot harder to let go of the Ten Commandments as our “source” or “guide” for daily living.”

Farley continues, “So, there’s no need to go digging through Leviticus to seek out random, cherry-picked definitions of sin for the believer today. Yes, the whole Bible is God’s inspired Word from Genesis to Revelation, but context matters. We should read the Old Testament with our “New Covenant glasses” on since we’re led by the Spirit and not under the Law.”

God gave Adam free choice.  Christians today have free choice, but making the wrong choice leads to idolatry and worshiping an anti-Christ spirit or person.

Christianity today continues to grow in lack of real bible truths. This leads to serving other gods who they believe are true gods. It is idolatry.

A research study on Christianity today shows

According to (Peterson,2022), “Our understanding of scripture, or lack thereof, forms our opinions on what is right and wrong and what is true and false. Without question, Biblical illiteracy is taking its toll on America. Only 51% of our pastors and 6% of Americans continue to hold a Biblical worldview.”

Are 51% of Pastors who say they have a Biblical worldview serving the God of Israel?  Our most Christian pastors lead by things of the world or the spirit of the world.  1st John tells us antichrists speak things of the world

 1 John 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 

We are to remember the Law of Moses and keeping it is a great reward.

Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 

Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 

Psa 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 

The law will keep us from falling into presumptuous sins. This prayer I pray daily that the Lord keep me from falling into sin by keeping away from the negative commandments and observing to do the positive ones. Keep me from falling into presumptuous sins.

Psa 19:12-13 

“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” 

What happens when people change God's law?

Is it a sin to change God’s laws?  The following article from Christian Courier tells about the sin of Jeroboam in changing God’s Law.

Jeroboam, a ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, is given special attention in the Old Testament. He is charged no less than twenty-one times with having caused Israel to sin (cf. 1 Kings 14:16).

What was his transgression that merited such attention?

  • First, he corrupted the worship of Jehovah by instituting golden calves as objects of divine adoration (v. 28).
  • Second, he changed the place of service from Jerusalem to the cities of Bethel and Dan — under the guise of convenience (v. 27-30).
  • Third, Jeroboam appointed priests from among tribes other than that of Levi (v. 31) — a practice unauthorized, since the law had spoken “nothing” about priests from Israel’s other tribes (cf. Hebrews 7:14).
  • Fourth, the king altered the time of the feast of the tabernacles from the seventh month, the fifteenth day, to the eighth month, the fifteenth day (v. 32). (Jackson, n.d.)

Does God get angry when we attempt to change God’s law? Could our names be taken out of the tree of life?

Many of us try and make the law fit our desires by rewording or changing it all together.

Rev 22:14-19 

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” 

A few last thoughts on the law

If a commandment is not possible to be fulfilled in a generation, it does not pass away. It might be possible for future generations that this commandment can be obeyed.

Matt 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Example of the negative Commandment that can’t be fulfilled in this generation:  Don't eat tithes in your gates

Deut 12:17 Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:

The source of this prohibition is God's statement, in your settlements, you may not eat the tithes of your grain, wine, and oil.  The phrase 'your cattle and your flocks' comes only to make a prohibition for one who eats a sin-offering or guilt-offering outside the curtains [of the Tabernacle].

It was obvious that we no longer bring our tithes to the curtains of the tabernacle. But could this law be back in force when the new temple is built?

The last reason to study the law

We must know the law to teach our children and future generations; to teach them how to love God and how to love thy neighbor (fellow Israelites).

Deu 32:46  And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. 

Conclusion

 The Law is our way of life

The law teaches how to love God and how to love our neighbor.

Moses received the law and instructions on Mt. Sinai and taught it to all of Israel.

Modern Christians don’t understand the law and most believe it is done away with.

There are 613 laws and commandments related to the Law with scripture support.  It is broken down into 248 positives and 365 negative commandments.

We should study the law to understand our God and to teach it to future generations.

2 Maccabees 6:18-31 Good News Translation

Eleazar Dies for His Faith

18 There was an elderly and highly respected teacher of the Law by the name of Eleazar, whose mouth was being forced open to make him eat pork. 19-20 But he preferred an honorable death rather than a life of disgrace. So he spit out the meat and went willingly to the place of torture, showing how people should have courage to refuse unclean food, even if it costs them their lives. 21-22 Those in charge of the sacrifice had been friends of Eleazar for a long time, and because of this friendship they told him privately to bring meat that was lawful for him to eat. He need only pretend to eat the pork, they said, and in this way he would not be put to death.

23 But Eleazar made a decision worthy of his gray hair and advanced age. All his life he had lived in perfect obedience to God's holy laws, so he replied, Kill me, here and now. 24 Such deception is not worthy of a man of my years. Many young people would think that I had denied my faith after I was ninety years old. 25 If I pretended to eat this meat, just to live a little while longer, it would bring shame and disgrace on me and lead many young people astray. 26 For the present I might be able to escape what you could do to me, but whether I live or die, I cannot escape Almighty God. 27 If I die bravely now, it will show that I deserved my long life. 28 It will also set a good example of the way young people should be willing and glad to die for our sacred and respected laws.

Pork:  unclean food as stated in both Old and New Testaments of the Bible.Would you die or be tortured if you were forced to eat pork? Would you be willing to die for your belief in the law and Israel?

Works Cited

Truth. (2011). CompellingTruth.org. http://Compellingtruth.org

Grow in Faith with Daily Christian Living Articles. (2019). Crosswalk.com. http://Crosswalk.com,

(n.d.) 1 Kings 12 - The Sin of Jeroboam. (n.d.). Christian Courier. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1147-1-kings-12-the-sin-of-jeroboam

Farley, (2019) Grow in Faith with Daily Christian Living Articles  http://Crosswalk.com

Finway, (2022). Monkeypox and gay and bisexual men

Peterson, (n.d.) Ignite America Certified Statistics. Ignite America. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from http://igniteamerica.com/ignite-certified-stats

Silberberg, (2019). @Chabad. http://Chabad.org

Spurgeon, (1906) All things in the world that God created follow God's law.