Over the past few books of We’ve been looking at the statues and laws of the Old Testament or “Old Covenant” – often referred to as “Mosaic Law”. The Law was pretty specific and covered many aspects of life. Today we Christians live under a “New Covenant” which was provided to us through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Having submitted our lives to Christ we are free from the Law; it no longer has power over us. So, why should we spend time reading about the Old Covenant? Why should we care about all of these laws which no longer apply to us?
Before I make the case that the Mosaic Law is important to us let me make it perfectly clear that the Law cannot save us. To be saved one must submit their life to Christ – period. It is not Jesus plus the Law or anything else. It is Jesus alone. With that said, Jesus told us that He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He also taught that once one was submitted to Him the Law would be written on one’s heart. What does it mean to have the Law written on one’s heart? Let me give you an example from my own life.
Years ago, as a young man only a couple years out of college, I walked out of a bank only to find $60 lying on the ground. Back then $60 was a lot of money to a young person just starting out. Still, the only thought that came to my mind was how I could return the money to the rightful owner. Not for one second did I consider keeping the money. Even as it dawned on me that it was extremely unlikely that the owner would come back for it, I did not think to keep it. I walked back in to the bank, handed the money to an employee of the bank and told them that someone had dropped it outside. The woman to whom I handed the money looked at me like I was crazy. The look on her face as she slipped the money in to her drawer told me that the money was now hers no matter who might come looking for it.
Was I a fool? Perhaps but the point I’m trying to make is that God’s Law against stealing was so imprinted upon my heart that I never considered keeping the money. That is the kind of thing Jesus was teaching us. That is one of the ways you know you belong to Christ – you don’t need a list of rules to do right because doing right is what you desire to do – it’s written on your heart. Jesus also made the point that the standard for His followers was greater than the standard of the Law. He said that not only is murder a sin but anger at someone is the equivalent of murder. Have you ever been angry? He said that not only is adultery sin but lust is the equivalent of adultery. Ouch!
You see, the Law is only intended to show us our need for a Savior. We can’t perfectly keep the Law and any misstep prevents us from coming in to God’s presence. Once we have the Holy Spirit residing within our heart, not only can we obey the spirit of the Law, we can live at a much higher standard than the Law.
So, what is the point of reading the old, dead, Mosaic Law? The Mosaic Law reminds us of the higher standard to which we now aspire and which we are now completely capable of attaining. As you read the old Mosaic Law, you should notice your heart responding in agreement. The spirit of that Law is written upon your heart. The writer of Hebrews quotes the prophet Jeremiah when he writes:
Hebrews 8:10 ESV
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
So brothers, read today’s passage realizing that the spirit of the laws you read are already written upon your heart and then go and live the truth of who you are in Christ.