And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said: ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ (Deuteronomy 5:1-7)
The Law Of Moses Was Not A Universal Law
As Moses stood with the children of Israel on the threshold of Canaan, the great man of God rehearsed the law and history of Israel to a new generation of Hebrews. The preceding generation had rebelled at Kadesh-Barnea and died in the wilderness during a forty-year pilgrimage. Canaan stood ready to conquer as ripe fruit on a vine. Moses would not be allowed into the land of promise but he impressed upon the people the Law given at Mt. Sinai they had witnessed at a young age. When they crossed the Jordan River, the Law would be their guide to establish the nation in the land promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The nation of Israel would rise from the fertile soil of Canaan building a nation formed and possessed by the Law of Moses. At Mt. Sinai, God has shown His power and might when He delivered the Ten Words to the people. The commandments of the Lord were preparatory to whole Law. The Law would govern every part of the Jewish life including worship, family life, daily work and devotion to God. If they were obedient to the Law blessings would flow bountifully upon them. Choosing to disobey the Law would bring the wrath of God.
The Law of Moses and the giving of the Ten Commandments was a law given to a specific people. Repeating the Law of God to the people, Moses reminds them the statues and judgments they were to hear came from the mouth of God when He made a covenant with the Hebrews in Horeb. Abraham was not accountable to this law or any of the fathers before them. The Law of Moses was only given to the Jewish nation. This covenant bonded the people of Israel with the Lord God because they were the ones He delivered from Egypt. No other people came from Egypt. Only the Jews. The Law of Moses was the covenant made at Sinai between God and the nation of Israel. It did not apply to the Chinese, Amorites, Egyptians or other nations of the world. God’s law for Israel was for their benefit as they shared in a special covenant with the Lord.
Many in the religious world are confused to the place of the Law of Moses; specifically the Ten Commandments. There is a belief that everyone is accountable to the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. What they fail to understand is what Moses clearly declared: the Jews were the only recipients of the Law (including the Ten Commandments). God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel at Sinai as part of the covenant established that day. Moses emphasizes the Law was given only to the Jews. The Gentiles were not accountable to the Law of Moses. Paul would later show that Abraham was justified without keeping the Law of Moses. Noah found grace in the eyes without the Law of Moses. The Gentile city of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah without the Law of Moses. Justification for the Jew came through the Law and justification for the Gentile came through faith. It is paramount to learn the Law of Moses (including the Ten Commandments) was not a universal law for all men.
The scheme of redemption shows that man could not live apart from the law (Gentile) and man would fail to keep the written law (Jew). Israel exemplified the futile attempt of man to keep the Law of Moses and the Gentiles proved man could not live as a law to himself. Salvation will only come through Jesus Christ who lived under the Law of Moses without sin. He removed the curse of the Law. Man cannot be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments. Jesus took that law away. Following any part of the Law of Moses will be rebellion against the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Trying to justify salvation by keeping a law to himself will only bring destruction for man. Grace, mercy and truth are in Jesus Christ. It matters not if a person is a Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free – all are one in Jesus Christ.
Reading the New Testament account of the early church, it is clear that salvation cannot come from the Law of Moses. The early church never taught obedience by keeping the Ten Commandments or portions of the Law. Disciples were made when they obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. The great commission did not include the Ten Commandments. It demanded obedience by believing Jesus was the Son of God, repenting and being baptized for the remission of sins. Moses gave the Law to the people of Israel alone. Christ came bringing the full measure of salvation to all men. The gospel is the power of God to salvation. Thank God for His incredible gift of His Son.