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The Law of Moses and Law of Salvation Explained

Deuteronomy 11:26

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse

Following the Exodus from Egypt, God made a covenant with the Hebrews through the law of Moses, and the condition was that if they keep all His commandments, they will be blessed and rewarded, but if they disobey, they will be cursed and punished. The Old Testament then chronicles the seesaw of Israel obeying and disobeying, with prophets sent to set the people back on the right track when they are punished for their disobedience. Here is an incomplete list of those laws:

  • You shall have no other gods before me.
  • You shall not make for yourself an idol.
  • You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  • Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • Honour your father and your mother.
  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  • You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.
  • You shall not make a covenant with the people of the land.
  • You shall not oppress a stranger.
  • You shall not sow your field with mixed seed.
  • You shall not wear clothing made of mixed fibres.
  • You shall not practice divination or witchcraft.
  • You shall not uncover your father's nakedness.
  • You shall not round the corners of your head or mar the edges of your beard.
  • You shall not oppress your neighbour or rob him.
  • You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.
  • You shall not pervert justice or show partiality in judgment.
  • You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together.
  • You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads grain.
  • You shall not commit incest.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not commit bestiality.
  • You shall not practice prostitution.
  • You shall not commit acts of homosexuality.
  • You shall not commit adultery with another man's wife.
  • You shall not engage in sexual relations with your sister-in-law.
  • You shall not have sexual relations during a woman's menstrual period.
  • You shall not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists.
  • You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed.
  • You shall not eat fruit from a newly planted tree for three years.
  • You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
  • You shall not move your neighbour's boundary stone.
  • You shall not intermarry with the people of the land.
  • You shall not charge interest on loans to the poor, foreigner or Israelites.
  • You shall not withhold wages from a hired worker.
  • You shall not curse your father or mother.
  • You shall not move your neighbour's livestock.
  • You shall not oppress a hired worker.
  • You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.
  • You shall not take a widow's garment in pledge.
  • You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together.
  • You shall not sacrifice to any other god.
  • You shall not offer your children as a burnt sacrifice.
  • You shall not sacrifice animals with any defect.
  • You shall not practice divination or sorcery.
  • You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your forehead.
  • You shall not profane or swear falsely by the name of God.
  • You shall not oppress a stranger or a foreigner.
  • You shall not take a bribe.
  • You shall not move your neighbour's landmark.
  • You shall not gather grapes from another person's vineyard.
  • You shall not glean your vineyard completely.
  • You shall not oppress the poor or the needy.
  • You shall not keep a hired worker's wages overnight.
  • You shall not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice.
  • You shall not offer the wages of a prostitute or the price of a dog as a sacrifice.
  • You shall not delay the offering of the first fruits of your crops.
  • You shall not eat any leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  • You shall not offer the blood of sacrifices with leavened bread.
  • You shall not let the sacrifice of the Passover remain until morning.
  • You shall not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.
  • You shall not make, worship or bow down to any idols or carved images.
  • You shall not make any molten gods, gods of silver or gold, or graven images.
  • You shall not worship the sun, moon, or stars.
  • You shall not bring any foreign gods into your house.
  • You shall not allow sorcerers, mediums, or those who practice divination to live.
  • You shall not make your daughter a prostitute.
  • You shall not consult oracles or seek omens.
  • You shall not wear clothing of the opposite sex.
  • You shall not cut yourself or make any marks on your body for the dead.
  • You shall not eat any blood.
  • You shall not eat any abominable creatures.
  • You shall not eat any fat from sacrificial animals.
  • You shall not eat any creature that has been strangled.
  • You shall not eat anything that dies naturally or is torn by beasts.
  • You shall not eat any creature that has been sacrificed to idols or false gods.

The list is far from exhaustive and we come to learn more about the law and how difficult it is to keep. In Proverbs 24:9 even the thought of foolishness is sin. So even the best of Israelites fell short in some way, from Abraham being dishonest about the identity of his wife, to Moses being a murderer, to King David scheming to get a soldier killed so he could marry his wife, to King Solomon having many wives and ending up allowing their false gods to creep into Israel.

But God always displays His mercy and faithfulness, though they had to suffer the consequences of their actions, He always listened and showed favour when they repented and turned back.

Even more drastic, it is expanded on by Jesus that even looking at someone with lust is adultery in the heart, and hating someone is murder in the heart. Clearly, sin runs deep in man's veins, and we cannot overcome it with our own strength. It is later expounded on by the Apostle Paul, that this originated with Adam and Eve and their disobedience and as a result, death entered in and corrupted the mortal sinful flesh we inherited from them. It is consequently in the nature of the flesh to sin and to die: the law was given to make the imperfect situation of our flesh evident.

This is where Jesus comes in: he overcame the flesh and was a spotless sacrifice for sin - the Christ who was prophecised in the Old Testament. He did not sin even once - he was absolutely perfect because he was the holy Son of God. It was a gift of God given for the world that we might be forgiven, and we can accept this through faith. Simply faith, no works are required to receive this undeserved gift of grace, just repent and turn to Him to accept His gift. We learn that he was perfect through the Holy Spirit, given to those who believe in him and are born again, not of the flesh but of the spirit. This is the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus (Romans 8:2).

From here on, the spirit of God lives within believers and wars with the sinful flesh of man. God wants us to be perfect and to sin no more, so He convicts us should we disobey. God is ultimately victorious: those who endure and live by faith by believing in Jesus will be raised on the last day and given incorruptible bodies. We will then get to see paradise: a world free from sin and its pain.

Proverbs 24:16 A just man falls seven times, but he will get back up and return to God. The law was grounded in love for God and for each other, it was given for our own good, the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath - so keep His commandments in your heart and rejoice in them and if you fall, get back up and do not cast away your confidence. (Hebrews 10:35)

Acts 13:39

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.