Pastor’s Viewpoints, “Why then the law? (The Law)”
June 11, 2021, 12:00 AM

Why then the law? (The Law)
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The law “was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary” (Galatians 3:19). Paul was referring to the Ten Commandments. He said the law was added because of sin.
The Apostle John wrote that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines sin as “any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God” (question and answer 14).
The Ten Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. The first part concerns man’s relationship to God. The second provides the basis for men to coexist.
Even in society, the importance of law is reflected. All cultures depend upon what is called the rule of law. Removing law condemns a society to destruction. Therefore, leaders are expected to submit to the rule of law to guard freedom. For example, in our country, the Constitution provides the basis for our rule of law. It specifies that no one is above the law.
In addition, God’s Law and civil law carry blessings and curses—blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. As God created man and woman in His image, we all have the moral code in our hearts. All men have a general knowledge of right and wrong. God’s Ten Commandments specify the details of right and wrong because they reflect the character of God. At its root, the Law of God expresses His grace and is part of what is called, the Covenant of Grace.
Why do we need the grace of God in the Law? As Paul said, it was given by God because of sin (Galatians 3:19). The sinfulness of man leads to law breaking. Since the Garden, no man could keep the Law perfectly. The fundamental reason God gave the Law was to demonstrate man’s need for a Savior, who would keep the Law perfectly. The Bible reveals God’s grace through the Law. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
Further, law, in general, provides additional benefits for all mankind. God’s common grace toward all is experienced by the rule of law in providing for relationships, contracts, economic prosperity, and in summary the security of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As an emphasis of the usefulness of the Law, the Christian Church has taught three uses of the Law. They are, first, to bound sin, second, to point to Christ, and third, to provide the guide for Christian living.
The Old Testament also reveals two principles regarding the Law. God said blessing results from obedience and curse is the result of disobedience (Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 28). God declared that His way is the better way.
The importance of the Law will also be seen in the end of this world. The sign of the end will be apostasy. “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3a). Paul was straightening out false teaching concerning the end of this world. Rebellion against God will be the first sign of the end. The visible sign of rejecting God is rejecting His Law.
History also records man’s awareness of his need for law. One example is the Code of Hammurabi, the ancient law code of the first Babylonian Dynasty ruled by Hammurabi, circa 1728-1686 B.C. Much of his code parallels that of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations likewise depended on the rule of law. As law broke down, those civilizations ceased to exist. They became unable to fight against invaders. Western civilization and especially our United States will also stand or fall as a result of adherence to the rule of law.
In conclusion, the title of this article, “why the law?” has an ultimate answer. Without law we will perish. Because of the Law men are shown their desperate need for a divine Savior. May we commit to stand for the blessing of God’s Law and all law proceeding from it. May submission to the rule of law reflect the desire “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). God’s Law is His standard. It is absolute, eternal, and with no “sliding scale” of obedience!

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