What Good is the Law? (Pt. 3)
May 13 2018
While government was established by God to protect the innocent and to punish evildoers (Rom. 13), when you hear of some laws that are still on the books of some governments, you wonder who is protecting the government from itself. For instance:
- In Dubai, it is illegal to drive a dirty car, but its also illegal to wash your vehicle with water outside your home.
- In Arkansas it’s illegal to honk your horn after 9 p.m. where iced-cold beverages or sandwiches are served.
- In Manila, it’s illegal to drive on main roads on a Monday if your license plate ends in 1 or 2.
- In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with a gorilla in the backseat. (Is it legal if he’s in the front seat? I’m not sure!)
- In Singapore, it’s illegal to import chewing gum.
- In Rio Claro, Brazil, it’s illegal to sell watermelons within the city limits.
- In Minnesota, it’s illegal to hang both men’s and women’s clothes on the same clothes line.
- In Kentucky, it’s illegal to keep ice cream in your back pocket (for fear that a horse might follow you and you might steal it).
- In Florence, Italy, it’s an offense to eat or drink near the main churches or public buildings.
Sometimes our government’s laws just don’t seem to make sense. And believers might be tempted to think similarly of the Old Testament Law. We understand the Ten Commandments, but all the dietary restrictions and commands about attire and the proscriptions about worship are confusing and seem to be irrelevant (and we certainly don’t obey many of them as we like to eat pulled pork and shrimp, and most of us wear clothing with blended fabrics).
It would be simple to say, “the Law was for Israel and it’s not for us,” but then we read passages like we read last week — “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.…For we know that the Law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14). Those verses echo what Paul also said in Rom. 3:31 — “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.”
So what good is the Law? And how can we use the Law without becoming legalistic? That’s the topic of the message today; while we will examine a number of passages, we do well to remember Paul’s premise in Romans 7 about the benefit of the Law of God for the believer today —
The Law is good, because through it we see the extent of our sin.
To understand the function of the Mosaic Law we need to understand it from three perspectives —
- The Mosaic Law and the Israelite
- The Mosaic Law Could Never Save (Mt. 5:48; Gal. 2:16)
- The Mosaic Law Could Expose Sin (Rom. 7)
- The Mosaic Law Could Govern the Nation (Gal. 3:24)
- The Mosaic Law and the Believer
- The Mosaic Law was Fulfilled by Christ (Mt. 5:17-19)
- The Mosaic Law is Supplanted by Grace (Rom. 6:14-15)
- The Mosaic Law Still Reveals Holiness and Righteousness (Lev. 19; 1 Pt. 1:15ff)
- The Mosaic Law and You (some applications)
- Use the Mosaic Law to Define Sin
- Use the Law of Christ to Produce Your Sanctification
Download the rest of this sermon on the use of the Law.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.