If you understand the purpose of the old Law, found in the Old Testament, it is helpful to us in understanding and accepting the statements in Hebrews 8 that the old Law is now “obsolete” and no longer applies to those IN Christ. Of course, we have not done a very good job in allowing the Law to stay that way, but the fact that we are no longer under the rules of the old Law does not necessarily mean that we are living fully alive in the new. Chapman is right. We have dragged too much of the old into our present expression. There is no life in that! We were never supposed to carry the old Law into our new life in Christ. James 2:10 warns us (my paraphrase): “if you are guilty of violating any one part of the old Law, you are entirely guilty for sinning against ALL of the old Law. The simple solution is not to play by those old rules…period!”
So, what was its purpose? If it produces death for us, why did God allow and establish the Law in the first place?
THE LAW IDENTIFIED SIN – You would think that is a good thing right? Paul tells us that once we clearly saw the explanations of good and evil, right and wrong, it produced inside of us an appetite and desire to do what we were told not to do in the first place. Not good.
THE LAW PRODUCED BROKENNESS – Why? Because we can NOT keep the Law. I hear all the time that people want to be holy. They are thinking they can act holy externally in hopes that it will produce holiness internally. That is the way most Christians think. Good luck with that. In the book of Galatians, Paul mentions that the Law was our tutor. We think “teacher” when we hear that word. Paul is not picturing a teacher, but a truant-officer. The (paidagos) had the responsibility to round up the kids and keep them on the path to school. If they got off the path, he had a long stick and he would whack a stray kid to keep them on track. The job of the law was to whip your butt every time you broke the rules. Sooner or later the message is bound to sink in that you are in deep yogurt because you can NOT keep the Law! Fortunately, Galatians 3:25 tells us that we are no longer bound to the old Law!
THE LAW DROVE US TO GRACE! Jesus said, “Blessed (happy) are the poor in spirit (the broken)”. Why? Because they’ve stopped trying to earn God’s love by trying to keep the rules and regulations of the old Law. They fully realize that they can NOT be righteous in their own efforts. They have no other choice than to accept the free gift of grace and enjoy the pure and simple truth that GOD IS LOVE. When that truly washes over your life, it changes you from the inside out! We get off of our works treadmill and move into real Kingdom living. God is patient with us and will allow us to work ourselves into more death, but we can stop with all that at any time and choose responsible freedom that brings life, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost!
That is a lot of good-news, in fact, too much good-news for most of the church. I know, I used to live there. But, I have found that this is the better way to live. In the new…fully alive…fully loved…full.