Some people look at God’s Law in much the same way as they look at sin: it’s outmoded and detrimental. Some go so far as to say Christians ought to follow the law if they truly believe what the Bible says.
Of course that’s a set up—a trap—because they want to charge Christians with cruelty or hypocrisy because of the consequences in connection to some of the decrees listed in the Old Testament. They don’t understand that believers in the work of Christ at the cross have a New Covenant that supersedes the old. They don’t understand the function that the Law now plays in the life of the Christian.
All this to say, not many people expound on the beauty of the Law. But I think we Christians can do so.
Paul refers to the Mosaic Law as a tutor:
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
That alone makes the Law valuable. But beautiful?
I term it beautiful because it creates such clear pictures of greater spiritual truths.
Take for example all the laws that detailed what made the people unclean and what they had to do to become purified. A woman with an “issue of blood” was unclean, as was any thing or any person she touched. A leper was unclean in the same way. Anyone touching a dead person became unclean.
The most notable thing about those who were unclean, as I see it, was that they were cut off from the rest of the people and from worship. They couldn’t participate in the religious celebrations or offer sacrifices. Their condition was a barrier between them and God, between them and other people.
Move ahead in time from the giving of the Law to the life of Christ. He who could speak a word and calm the wind and waves, who could heal by saying, Get up and walk, chose to touch a leper in order to cleanse him. Touch a leper. By all rights, Jesus should have become unclean. Instead, the leper took on Christ’s purity rather than Christ taking on the man’s uncleanness.
A woman who suffered with an issue of blood for twelve years dared to touch … not even Jesus, but the bottom of his garment. She knew by Law she would be rendering Him unclean. Instead, she was healed and her sins forgiven. Jesus? still pure.
When this woman encountered Jesus He was on the way to Jairus’s house. His little girl, a pre-teen, was sick, and while Jesus dealt with the woman in the street, word came that Jairus’s daughter had died. Jesus went anyway, put everyone out except those He hand-picked, and then touched the little girl. He took her hand and commanded her to stand up. She did. Instead of becoming unclean because he touched someone who had died, Jesus brought life and remained clean.
What does this have to do with the beauty of the Law? Because of this litany of commandments, thousands of years later I see and understand Jesus better. I see how He is greater than the Law, how He provided the cleansing demanded by the Law even as He brought healing to those condemned to isolation and separation by the Law.
What a beautiful picture of redemption!
The major part of this post first appeared here under this same title in October 2011.