Once I was having a discussion with a close family members, and the topic of Old Testament and its role in the New Testament became a point of contention. In his opinion, the beliefs of my church and my brethren is one based on the New Testament and we  failed to consider the Old Testament.

To deal with this mis-conception I wanted to highlight the difference between the Old and The New Testament. This difference was actually pointed out by Apostle John in the gospel of John.

For the law was given through Moses,
  but grace and truth came through
  Jesus Christ.”  – John (Jn 1:17)

The main difference between our time in the last days and the time of Abraham , David, Prophet Malachi  is this, we are no longer under the law, but we are under grace. Just like how Paul tells us us

For sin shall not have dominion over you,
for you are not under law but under grace.” Paul (Rom 6:14)

Since the time of Abraham to Prophet Malachi sin have had dominion over everyone, including the saints of the Lord. When God gave the law through Moses, his purpose was meant to teach the world what sin is (Rom 7:7). The law today serves to teach the Christians the definition of sin. The purpose of the law is to punish sin, and the method of remission of sin is through sacrifice and burnt offerings.

By sinning here I refer to falling short of the standards of God. Since the time of Moses until now, the basic standard of morality given by God was inscribed with the finger of God onto the the stone tablets containing the 10 commandments. 

Those who lived under the law  lived in fear. Due to sins dominion over the people of God there is this constant fear as one would sin against God. In order to remind the Israelites of the law , a constant system of feast and festivals was given. On that day, sacrifices were offered for the forgiveness of sins, and the law would be read to the people. The sacrificial system of the old testament serves as a constant reminder of sin (Heb 10:3-4).

When one keeps the law, there would be blessings from God given to him, but those who failed to keep the law falls under the curse of the law. They died in their sins 

Paul describes it like this

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse;
  for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in
  all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”” –Paul (Gal 3:10)

This is the reason why the law is not a blessing, but a good chain that teaches what is sin. Those who lived under it will never be free, they will be trapped by those law, like a bird trap in a cage. Interesting, when the apostles describes the law they called it “yoke  the neck that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10)

In the new testament, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law by sacrificing himself as the sacrifice of sin. By doing so Christ had released us from this curse of the law.

As Paul describes 3 verses later

“ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
   having become a curse for us (for it is written,
  “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” – Paul (Gal 3:13)

At this point of time, most people would have a very negative impression of the Law of God. Now the question is, why then a good God created such a law that appears bad?

Why Did a Good God Created A Law That Curse People?

In fact, the law was given by God during the time where sin holds a dominion in the world.  The curses of the Mosaic law was given because God knows that man are stubborn and prone to sin. If there is no law to restraint man, law and order will be in disarray.

Imagine a world where there is no law to keep criminals at bay and everyone could do what they want. What would most people choose to do?

Every race and countries had rules and regulation set so that there are law and order. For example, in order to protect road users, we set up traffic lights, speed limits and highway codes. If one abides by the law, there will be road safety.

Similarly God created laws that are good, for when human are allowed to do what they want, they will often choose sin and be in conflict with God . This is why mankind needs to receive the law of God as a way of life, for without it  there will be be nor fairness, law and order.

The Beginning Of Law And The Beginning Of Grace

Yet, whenever I think about the day in which the law was instituted verses the day Gods grace began. I cant help noticing a big contrast.

When Moses took the stone tablet down with him, the Israelites had already began sinning, they created a golden calf, calling it “The Lord Whom Brought You Out Of Egypt”. At that point Moses gave a command to the Levites.

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” – Moses (Ex 32:27)

On that day, the Levites killed 3000 of the Israelites (Ex 32:28) and those people died because of their sin against God .

On the contrary, when grace came on the day of Pentecost, a contrast can be seen 

After Peter spoke the first sermon on the day of Pentecost, he  exhorted the people saying “Be saved from this perverse generation.”. Luke the Physicians describe it like this

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” – Luke (Acts 2:41)

From here the curse of the law and the benefit of grace can be seen clearly.

Treatment Of A Rebellious Son

The approaches to sin and the treatment of sin is different under the law and under grace. Lets take for example, a rebellious son. The law of Moses Deut 21:18-21 stated

If a man had a stubborn and rebellious son, who disobey them even when chastened, he will be brought to the elders of the city, and they will stone him to death with stones. This is done so they will put away evil from among you and for all to hear and fear

The law of Moses does not leave compromise, whenever a person sins, he will be punished accordingly.

This is a big contrast when we compare to the parable of the prodigal son spoken by Jesus in Lk 15:11-31

The prodigal son demanded his inheritance from his father, and squandered it all.  It was difficult for him to return to his father. But in that parable, when he return home,  his father was there to welcome him back.  The fathers reaction is different from the Law.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring
out the best robe and put it on him, and put 
  a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and
  let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead
  and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And
  they began to be merry.” – Jesus (Lk 15:23-24 )

This story doesn’t change the fact that both the law and grace regarded the rebellious son as a sinner, but its treatment to the problem is very different. Under the curse of the law, the rebellious son would have been killed long before he can repent.

The Conclusion So Far

So far we have merely scratched the surface of contrasting between the law of God and the grace of God.  On the next post entry, we would talk about even more contrast between law and grace.