Back in 2003 I compiled a list of Biblical law that could be found in Exodus 20 to the end of Deuteronomy, but existed prior to the codification of the Torah upon Mount Sinai. I did this because I've met many bible-believers who think that the law only came about in Exodus 20 with the 10 commandments. It's been 12 years since I made this list so I could probably add to it now, but here is the list as I made it back in 2003. I just ran across it again today.
1. Sabbath = Genesis 2: 2-3/ Ex. 16
2. Offerings of flock = Genesis 4: 4
3. Offerings of fruit = Genesis 4:3
4. Clean and Unclean = Gen. 7:2/8:20
5. Offerings of worship = Gen. 8:20
6. Building altars = Gen. 12:8
7. No eating blood = Gen. 9:4
8. Capitol punishment (murder) = Gen. 9:5-6
9. Parental authority = Gen. 18:19
10. Against adultery = Gen. 39:9/34:7
11. Priesthood = Gen. 14:18
12. Tithing = Gen. 14:20/28:22
13. Circumcision = Gen. 17:9-10
14. Oath Taking = Gen. 21:23
15. Birthright = Gen. 25:33
16. Anointing with oil = Gen. 28:18
17. Obligation of vows = Gen. 28:20
18. Idolatry = Gen. 31:32,35
19. Uncleanness = Gen. 31:35
20. Raising seed = Gen. 38:8
When I read 1 John 5:3, I think of the Sabbath. That text tells me that His commandments are not a burden. I guess the reason I think about the Sabbath is because Sabbath means rest. To stop, an intermission, cease from work. What a gift that is.
Yeshua states this in his ministry in the form of "the Sabbath was made for man." I've heard that statement before by some in an attempt to abolish the 4th commandment. I can't for the life of me understand why someone would want to abolish a commandment that privileges us with rest, but go figure. In context, Yeshua meant that the Sabbath was made FOR man, in other words, to bless man. Man wasn't made to bless the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made to bless man.
The Sabbath can become a day in which you are scared silly to pick up your leg out of bed and put your foot on the floor. That is, if you treat it like a first-century Pharisee; if you view Yahweh as some kind of "big-thumbed-god" ready to squash you the instant you mess up in the least little manner. Yahweh is rather the merciful Mighty One, longsuffering, slow to anger, rich in love, and abundant in mercy. I took that last line from the Old Testament.
The Sabbath is a day to unwind, dedicated to Yahweh yes, but a day in which He gifts us with something we need: REST. We all work enough, some of us (including myself) too much. I'm thankful for His gift. I've been keeping a Sabbath now for 19 years. I don't ever want to stop. I love His rest.
References: Mark 2:27; Exodus 34:6-7; Exodus 20:8-11
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 HCSB)
1. The new heart relationship with Yahweh, will have a new heart relationship with His law - every single time.
2. The leading of the Holy Spirit is never contrary to the Holy Law.
3. The Holy Spirit is given to the house of Israel to cause them to obey the Holy law. Without the Spirit, it’s impossible.
4. Israelites do not possess the new heart, new spirit, or Yahweh's Spirit by nature. By nature they have hearts of stone. New hearts must be given to them.
5. Yahweh does not change or abrogate His law. He changes the stony hearts of His people to keep His law.
6. If Yahweh says, “I will make you clean,” then you will be made clean because it’s a supernatural work, not of man.
7. To try and separate the Spirit from the law is futile. The Spirit is given so that the law can be followed.
8. Good works are the effect of a cause placed in man, by Yahweh. Therefore He should get 100% of the credit.
There are a multiplicity of things that go through my mind in a day's time. I really don't know what I'll be thinking about from one minute to the next. But one thing that generally permeates my brain in some way, for most of every day, is the strong arm of the law and the sweetness of the gospel.
Martin Luther once said something like this: "Give the law to the hard hearted. Give the gospel to the broken hearted." I remember the first time I ever heard that statement. My heart leaped for joy because I understood the meaning behind the words. The more I've meditated on the phrase, the more I've combed through Scripture since then, the more I've seen it in action. The more true it has become.
The primary use of the law of Yahweh is not to curb evil or to instruct us in righteousness. The law does both of those things, and both of those are good things. The law itself is holy, just, good, and spiritual (Romans 7:12, 14). But the primary use of that holy, just, good, and spiritual law is to show us sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that we are not holy, just, good, and spiritual. The problem has never been with the law. The problem is with us. The law's number one function is to reveal our sin. It proves to us that we are transgressors.
I find it amazing that in the large scope of Christianity today we have various groups that believe jumping through their particular hoops makes them righteous. Each group focuses on one or two or maybe a handful of laws (some of which are not found in Yahweh's law by the way), and if they practice those it makes them better than everyone else. This isn't how it works. Yahweh doesn't operate like this.
Yahweh is perfect. He is without flaw. His law is the same because it emanates from His being (Psalm 19:7). He has told us in His law that a person is cursed if they don't continue in all the words of His law (Deuternomy 27:26). What the prideful heart does is read that and then fool itself into thinking he or she is not cursed. So long as a person doesn't smoke or drink, murder or rape someone, there a good person. Just vote republican instead of democrat and you're squeaky clean.
The Bible says that there's not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20). If Yahweh kept track of sins, no one could stand in His presence (Psalm 130:1-3). All have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). And if even believers say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). If we keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, we are guilty of violating it all (James 2:10). Paul said it well by saying that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, and in my flesh dwells no good thing (Romans 7:14, 18).
Until a person comes to grips with this, they need to keep hearing it over and over. The man or woman that hasn't come to terms about their sinfulness will not appreciate the gospel. They won't long for the gospel. The gospel will not be good news to them, they already think they are good. They've got it all ironed out already. They go to church once a week, and have the "read the Bible in a year program" in their wallet or purse for crying out loud.
This is what it means to give the law to the hard hearted. The hard hearted person, the person that has yet to fully realize their utter depravity, needs to keep hearing the holiness, perfection, and strong arm of the law. They don't need to hear that they are a saint, they in fact may not be. They need to hear that they are a sinner. A wretched sinner. A miserable soul headed for destruction.
But, at the moment we break. At the moment our heart crumbles of its pride and arrogance. The instant we admit we are doomed because we haven't met the law's requirements. It is then that we need to hear the sweetness of the gospel. That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). That he who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). That he was bruised for our iniquities and the punishment for our peace fell upon him (Isaiah 53:5). That right there is some sweet news to a broken heart.
I see this at work in my day-to-day life as a parent. My children range from ages 6 to 16. Each day in some way I give someone the strong arm of the law, and each day in some way someone gets the sweetness of the gospel. I can see when my children "buck up" against me or their mother. I can sense when they are resisting authority. I can feel when their heart is hard, and when I feel it, I give them more law, more discipline. They must realize that they've not just disobeyed dad, they've violated the rules of the Creator of all things.
I often see their little hearts break. They tear up and grab me and say, "Oh dad... I'm so sorry." Just the other day one of my children hugged me, cried, and said, "I don't want to be like this dad." How did I respond? More law? Nope, they had heard enough law. I rather told them, "Take heart my child, your sins are forgiven."
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.