BIBLICAL LAW



(DEUT. 4:1-2) 4 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.

BIBLICAL LAW IS MORE THAN LISTS OF DOS AND DONT'S. IT IS A SYSTEM OF DIVINE EXPECTATIONS REGARDING BELIEF AND BEHAVIOR WHICH, IF FAITHFULLY CARRIED OUT, WILL BRING GOD'S RICHEST BLESSINGS. LIFE ITSELF DEPENDS ON KEEPING THE LAW (DEUT.5:32-33).

THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT FREED THE NATION OF ISREAL TO BECOME GOD'S SERVENT. WHEN GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM BONDAGE BY "A STRONG HAND, A POWERFUL ARM, AND TERRIFYING ACTS", IT WAS NOT BECAUSE ISRAEL HAD EARNED THIS RIGHT THROUGH ITS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS BUT BECAUSE GOD IS GRACIOUS AND FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM. THE PURPOSE OF THE RESCUE FROM EGYPT WAS NOT JUST TO RELIEVE THE ISRAELITE OF THEIR ONEROUS BURDENS (EXO 1:11-22; 5:4-23), BUT TO MAKE A COVENANT WITH THEM. THE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP DID NOT MAKE THE ISRAELITE S GOD'S PEOPLE; THEY ALREADY WERE HIS PEOPLE. OBEDIENCE WAS NOT A PRECONDITION TO THE COVENANT BUT THE PROPER RESPONSE TO IT. IT PLACED ON THEM THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SERVING GOD AS A PRIESTLY KINGDOM AND A HOLY NATION(EXO.19:4-6).

THE COVENANT GUARANTEED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL ABUNDANT AND MEANINGFUL LIFE IF THEY KEPT THE LAW. THE COVENANT DOCUMENT CONSISTS OF BROAD PRINCIPLES, PATTERNS, AND STANDARDS. GOD'S INSTRUCTIONS ARE EMBODIED MOST FAMOUSLY IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (DEUT 5:6-21) AND MOST SUCCINCTLY IN THE SHEMA. ALL OTHER LAWS OF GOD ARE INTERPRETATIONS AND APPLICATIONS OF THESE PRIMARY PRINCIPLES. THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO REGULATE ISREAL'S AFFAIRS AS A NATION SO THAT GOD'S PEOPLE WOULD BE A BEACON OF HIS GRACE TO THE WHOLE WORLD.

THE LIFE THAT RESULTED FROM OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW WAS NOT ETERNAL LIFE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SENSE. IT WAS GOD'S PROMISE THAT IF THE ISRAELITES WERE FAITHFUL TO THE COVENANT, THE NATION COULD EXPECT LONG AND PROSPEROUS DAYS IN THE LAND. JESUS ALSO EXHORTED HIS DISCIPLES TO KEEP THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AMD THE DEMANDS OF THE SHEMA - NOT TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE BUT AS AN EXPRESSION OF COMMITMENT TO HIM.

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