The Purpose of the Old Law


I.         As we study the Bible, we learn that God has had three laws in effect at different periods of time – The Patriarchal, The Mosaical, and Christ’s Law.

            A.        Much confusion has arisen because people do not distinguish between these laws

            B.        While the laws are related, because they all derive from the same source, they are distinct and apply to different groups of people.

            C.        The Law more people have difficulty with is the Old Testament Law of Moses

                        1.         This has plagued the church since its foundation.

                        2.         Even though the Law of Christ is far superior to the Law of Moses, still people have favorite sections they do not want to leave behind.

            D.        Others want to get rid of the Old Testament completely. It is old and no longer in effect, so why bother looking at it?

            E.        Today we want to address the purpose of the Old Law.

II.        What the Law did for mankind

            A.        It defined sin

                        1.         The God’s Laws are upright and righteous - Ps 119:137-138, 164

                        2.         But man is not righteous - Rom 3:10-12

                        3.         The Law made the world accountable for their actions. It defined what sin was and showed that man could not be justified by the law - Rom 3:19-20

                        4.         Sin is not imputed to a man if there is no law - Rom 5:13

                        5.         But with a law, man has an awareness of sin and the Law shows how severe that sin is - Romans 7:7-13

            B.        Because man was unable to keep the Law perfectly, the Law convicted the world of sin

                        1.         Gal 3:21-22 - The Law bound men with their own sins

                        2.         This binding was essential to God’s plan. Until man could see their helplessness, they could not appreciate the mercy of God - Rom 11:32

                        3.         As a result, the bind of men to their sins eventually leads men to Christ - Gal. 3:23-25

            C.        The Old Law prepared men for the New Law by hinting at better things through shadows

                        1.         Col 2:16-17 - The Old Law was a shadow of the New.

                        2.         Heb 10:1 - It was a shadow of better things – the reality.

                        3.         The things done under the Old Law by its followers were important, even if they did not comprehend the significance of their deeds - Heb. 8:4-5

            D.        The Law was for the Israelite nation - Deut. 5:2-3

                        1.         By following the Law, God bound the Israelites to Him - Ex 19:5-6

                        2.         The Law made the Israelites distinct among the nations and prepared the Gentile nations for the New Law - Deut. 4:5-8

III.       For all that it did, the Old Law was temporary - Jer. 31:31-34

            A.        Jesus stated it would last until all was fulfilled - Matt 5:17-18

            B.        Jesus’ purpose was to fulfill the Law - Luke 24:44

            C.        Christ is the ending of the Law - Rom 10:4

IV.      Though it was removed, it does not mean it is now useless

            A.        The Old Law provides evidence that Jesus is the Christ - John 5:39

                        1.         The Old Law speaks of Christ - Luke 24:27

                        2.         Belief in the Old gives rise to belief in Christ - John 5:46-47

            B.        The Old Law also gives evidence of God’s purpose

                        1.         I Pet 1:10-12 - God revealed His purpose through the prophets, though they often did not understand

                        2.         Rom 3:21 - Righteousness from God is proven by the Old Law

            C.        The Old Law prepares people for salvation - II Tim 3:15-17

                        1.         The Scriptures Timothy learned was the Old Testament. Both the Old and New Law equips the saints.

                        2.         Notice that faith does not nullify the Old Law - Rom 3:31. It still serves a purpose.

                        3.         Notice how often the Old Law is quoted to prove a point in the New Testament.

            D.        The Old Testament provides examples

                        1.         Of Righteousness - Hebrews 11. Notice Hebrews 12:1

                                    a.         Where would we be, if we did not understand the story of Job (James 5:11) or Elijah (James 5:17)

                                    b.         We find out that these people are much like us.

                                    c.         We need to understand Sara to be good wives - I Pet 3:6

                                    d.         We need to know the story of Noah to understand salvation - I Pet 3:20-21

                        2.         Of Wickedness - I Cor 10:1-11

                                    a.         Knowledge of the wilderness wanderings serves as a warning to us - Heb 2:1-3

                                    b.         Heb 10:28-29

            E.        The Old Law gives us encouragement and hope - Rom 15:4

V.        An example of applying the Old Law

            A.        Eph 6:4 - We are to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but how do we do this?

            B.        From Hebrews 12:9-10 we learn that discipline is involved, but what form does it take?

            C.        We turn to the Old Testament with its many examples and teachings about raising children to learn how to do what the New Testament instructs us to do.

            D.        Are we binding the Old Law? No, the instructions come from Christ’s Law. Only the illustrations come from the Old.