Why Did the Law of Moses Have to Die?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:7-12).

If God’s holy Law is not culpable in any way for human sin (v. 7), why did God abolish it at Calvary’s middle cross? Why does its tombstone read “From Mount Sinai to Mount Calvary”? Why did the Law of Moses have to die?

Paul’s explanation in Romans 7 is twofold:

  • God’s prohibitions of evil which were to protect me were perverted by Satan into avenues of temptation and death (vv. 8-9).

  • The commandments which were designed to give me life by informing and protecting me from evil were used by Satan to kill me via sin (vv. 10-11).

The writer of Hebrews is more succinct: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Hebrews 8:7-8). The breakdown of fellowship with God did not come through any faults or flaws in God’s holy, just, and good commandments. All fault lies “with them” (i.e., the Jews who failed to live in perfect obedience to it).

As the old comic strip character Pogo once succinctly and colorfully put it: “We have found the enemy, and they is us!” The Jews themselves are the sole reason why the Law of Moses was abolished.

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Author: jchowning

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