Why do we have the old law? Why do we need the old law in our bibles? Why did Jesus come if God already had a system set in place? The answers to these questions surrounding God’s law are vital in understanding why we have it. This time, we are going to study the old law and why we have it. So let us begin.
First off, we must understand why we need God’s law in our bible’s and why we have it. Paul gives an excellent explanation of why it was important in Romans 7:7. It reads, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”” Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Romans 5:12). Therefore, God set up a system in which His people were to follow. That is why Paul says he would not have known what coveting was unless the law said ‘Do not covet’. In other words, he would not have known what sin was, if it wasn’t for the law. So a simple answer to the question ‘Why do we have the law?’ is so that we know what sin is. Without it, we would not know what sin is because the commands of God make sin, sinful (Romans 7:13). When God commands not to do something, and we do it, it is now sinful. That action has become a sin. The law was set in place not as a comprehensive law code for the people of Israel to follow. rather, it was a set of moral and ritual standards to which they were held too. The law was about loving God and loving your neighbor and by following the law, the people of Israel would act, speak, and think differently than all the other nations. The law is not the same as our Constitution or State Constitutions are here in the United States. Not every single law or forbidden and allowed action is in the 613 commands of the Torah. Only the standards that provide a basis for moral uprightness and ritual purity and blueprints for buildings are given. The law was not made to condemn. It was given to show the people how to make right with God, until Jesus came.
Now that we know the core meaning of the law, and why we have it, why did Jesus come to fulfill it? In Matthew 5:7 Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the Law or Prophets, but to fulfill them. Why did he do that? To find that, we must go back to the prophet of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 11:8 God said, “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’” God’s people had broken the covenant, the same covenant made on Mount Sinai had been broken. How did they break it? They broke it by following the desires of their hearts and not the desires of God. They did not follow in the law that had been established by God. So it was time for a change. It was time for a new covenant. This new covenant is prophesied of in Jeremiah 31, ““The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.”” This new covenant, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Hebrews 9:15 says “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant.” Without Him, there is no new covenant.
So now we know that Christ had to come, but what did He do? Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” What was the law powerless of doing? The law was powerless of taking away sins. It could cover sins, but it could not take them away completely. Christ was the sin offering. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The old law covered sins. But now, through the blood and sacrifice of Christ, our sins are forgiven and cleansed.
In conclusion, the old law is still vital to our lives. It gives us an insight as to what sin is, and it gives us an insight as to how significant Christ really is. Paul says in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Praise God.