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Let freedom reign: Before the law (Part 2)

Gracetidings with dr doug mamvura

There is a lot of confusion among believers over the Mosaic law. I believe it is the most misunderstood thereby misapplied subject in the Bible.

There are lot of concepts that people have about God that come from the misunderstanding of the Old Covenant Law and all of the wrath, curses and punishments associated with the Old Covenant law.

Most people don’t know how to reconcile this with the New Covenant which is now characterised with grace. The God of grace and mercy is both in the Old and New Covenant. In this article
I am going to share how God related with humanity before and after the Mosaic law.

Usually believers mix up the two distinct eras in the Bible. I grew up in a church where we were constantly taught about law. As a result, the image I had of God was totally distorted.
I thought God was angry all the time and was ready to punish me the moment I made a mistake or I sinned. I thought it was impossible to please Him because I was made to believe that He
was a “consuming fire” who was ready to consume me the moment I made a mistake. People would use scriptures in the old testament to demonstrate how angry this God was. As a result, I
leaned towards the false doctrine that it was God who was making us sick, it was God who was killing people, or it was God who was making us poor. We were taught that He was doing all
this because He was teaching us a lesson or was punishing us for our sins.

Let us see how things were, before the law. “Therefore, just as through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned – For
until the law sin was in the world but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death, reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the
likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Romans 5:12-14).

It is very clear that it was Adam who brought sin and death into the world and not God. It is very interesting to note that at most funerals, you hear most preachers saying, “God has
done His will. He has taken his own” and yet the people who were taken by God were taken alive such as Enoch, Elijah and Jesus. God is not the author of all this death, suffering or
pain. Adam, through sin, brought all this suffering, sickness and death. Why would one love a God who inflicts sickness or death on a loved one? What kind of a God is that? It shows
that people don’t know the true nature of God.

Before the law of Moses, sin was in the world as quoted in the above scriptures. However, God was loving people unconditionally and not holding their shortcomings or sins against them.
However, Satan, was using sin, and through sin death was reigning according to the scriptures.

The law was given because of sin to put a restraint on sin, to make us guilty before God, reveal our sin so we would not put trust in our self-righteousness or our holiness, but that we
would all become guilty of our sin and turn back to God for salvation. Therefore, please note that the law was given to reveal sin, not God. There are people out there who believe that
the law was given to reveal God hence they are telling other people that God is angry and is punishing people.

The law was given to make you guilty before God so that you wouldn’t put trust in your own holiness, but drive you to faith in God.

Why is it that we find in the Old Testament, at times God being so kind, gracious and merciful and allowing the Israelites to murmur and complain and still bless them? We see Him
responding to their needs in spite of them complaining. He parts the waters for them so they can cross the Red Sea, He gives them water from the rock and all this is done with them
complaining and murmuring, but He remains gracious. On the other hand, we see a man struck dead after having picked up sticks on the Sabbath soon after the introduction of Law.

This at times can cause much confusion if it is not explained. When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, there was no law. As a result, His nature was characterised with
grace and mercy. We see God’s grace, love, kindness and mercy after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and eaten the forbidden fruit.

God came looking for them and yet they both tried to hide from Him. God never avoided them. This was in spite of them having committed treason. God came looking for them in the “cool of
the day” and found them hiding. God didn’t kill them. Instead He promised them that He was going to rectify this situation through the Messiah who was going to crush the head of the
serpent. He never quit loving them.

We see Cain and Abel and the former killing his brother and yet God said “whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold” (Genesis 4:15). This was the first murderer in
the Bible and yet God protected this murderer.

However, sin continued to reign up to the time when there were only eight righteous people and these were Noah and his family. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Mankind, whom God had created in glory and made to fellowship with, had
degenerated to the point that everything inside them was evil.

Furthermore, we see the children of Israel boasting that they were able do all the Lord had spoken and so the law was introduced (Exodus 19:8). They were boasting about their
performance and ability to keep the law. Nevertheless, we see them failing to keep the law and one of them being struck dead after having picked sticks on a Sabbath day.

Jesus also demonstrated to the Pharisees and religious leaders that none of them was capable of fulfilling the law. This is why when He came, He told them that whoever was angry with
their brother had committed murder. Whoever had looked at a woman lustfully had committed adultery. All this was to demonstrate that to man that he was not capable of fulfilling the law
and so needed a Saviour. Only Jesus was able to fulfil the law. Only faith in Jesus is what saves man. Our performance or law can never lead us to salvation.

Romans 4:14-15 sums it up –“For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath.”

Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: or Twitter @dougmamvura

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