The law was given by Moses? Yes indeed, it was given by Moses, and it could not save anyone. Paul said “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”(Gal 2:21) Can one gain life or righteousness by the law? Many have felt that if they tell someone to do something over and over again, that somehow they will eventually gain righteousness and become good people. But rules do not change a person. They can only point out what is wrong with that person. Therefore righteousness could never come by the law, nor did it ever come by the law.
Moses Could not Give Grace or Save
Moses did give the children of Israel the rules of God, but only Jesus Christ could give them life. And the only way in which life could be attained is through God’s grace alone. The only way by which a man can be made righteous is by faith alone.
Eph 2:7-10 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The law is righteous and Paul concluded that God had ordained that we should walk in those things he had appointed us to walk in. We read in Galatians that “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”(Gal 3:21, 22) David said “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”(Psalms 19:7) And Paul also said “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”(Rom 7:7). Therefore, the law made him aware of his unrighteousness and need of a saviour.
One might think that if the law is so good, just, righteous and holy, why then is it against me? Why is Paul telling us all that righteousness does not come by the law? Well the truth of the matter is because the law has no power to do anything but to condemn, imprison, and hold in bondage one who has broken it. It can only point out that we are filthy, unrighteous, carnal, lost and in need of salvation. Not salvation in sin, but salvation from sin.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
So therefore if Moses gave the law to the people, this law could only condemn the people and point them to the need of a saviour to save them from their bondage in sin. The law pointed out that the people were lost without Christ. Did it not point this out until Jesus was made flesh?
Grace and Truth From the Beginning
Many when reading the following text that“grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:18) have concluded that “grace and truth” came at the time of the cross and that before the cross everyone had only law. But after the cross they are no longer under a system of law and therefore don’t need to know, study, learn or keep the law. This couldn’t be further from the truth or from the gospel and the way in which God has always worked for mankind. Let’s read the context.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
We are told that the word is full of “grace and truth” and that when the word dwelt among us we saw and beheld that “grace and truth” made flesh. But before the word was made flesh, he existed in the form of God, and was equal with God. Was he not “grace and truth” before he “was made flesh”. We are told that “the word” is “full of grace and truth”. How long has that “grace and truth” existed?
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So therefore we can verily conclude that “grace and truth” has existed from “the beginning”. As to when that beginning was, I don’t believe that humanity could comprehend it even if we were told. So that is best left as it is.
The word is full of grace and truth. It is my understanding that God spoke his word at Mount Sinai, therefore we must conclude that what was spoken at Mount Sinai was full of grace and truth. However, without seeing Jesus Christ in it, they could not have seen the grace and truth that was in that word.
2Co 3:14-15 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (15) But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Their minds are blinded even today. They can’t see Jesus Christ in those writings of Moses. We are told further about their minds and who blinded them, and from what they are blind to when reading the writings of Moses.
2Co 4:3-6 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Grace and Truth Given to Israel
Though the law was given to Israel to point out their sins, it is not truth that they were left to try to attain righteousness by the law until the cross. If Righteousness came by the law, even back then, Christ died in vain. So therefore grace must have been given before the cross. And it was given. After the Israelites had promised to keep the law of God, Moses went up to the mountain to receive the tables of stone. When he came down the children of Israel had made a graven image and went a whoring from their God. After this, God spoke with Moses and God said that he would reveal his glory to Moses. His glory is a revelation of his grace. (Exodus 33:13-19, 34:6, 7, 14, 15)
Exo 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, (7) Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Moses had found grace in the sight of the LORD.(Exo 34:9) We read in John 1:17 that “Grace… came by Jesus Christ”. Moses was not saved by the law. When Grace came for Moses, he was no longer under the condemnation of the law.
Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Moses was not “under the law” but “under grace”. Many would say that “under the law” refers to a dispensation of time where God put his people under a system of law, and they were not “under grace” but God has not left his children without grace even when he gave the law at Sinai, grace and truth were given then, as much as they are given today to anyone who will receive it.
If we are preaching that somehow God had a system of law before the cross, we are teaching “righteousness by the law” and if this was ever possible then “Christ died in vain”(for nothing). Why did Christ die on the cross if it was possible to attain righteousness through the law before the cross? That would not make any sense.
Grace and truth most certainly did come by Jesus Christ and if we are teaching that God ordained a different system whereby righteousness was to be attained before the cross, then why not say that there was no “truth” before the cross?
How then do we relate to the law today? Does the law condemn those who are in violation of it? Absolutely. Is the law good? Absolutely. Is it the truth? Absolutely, and if we look carefully, we will see that the demand for breaking the law is death, and that this demand was satisfied by our Lord Jesus Christ, who took upon himself our penalty for violating that law. Now that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, are we going to break the law? God forbid. Absolutely not. (Rom 6:14, 15, 23)
One might be quick to say that I am stirring things up because I tell you the truth of the gospel, that it is the same gospel, yesterday, today, and forever. The truth must be told, and I believe I am only following in the steps of my redeemer who was shut out of the synagogues himself. The power is in the word, and the word if believed will do what it says.
Luk 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Men like Moses were justified by faith. And before faith came he was kept under the law, a slave to sin, guilty and condemned by it. But after faith came Moses refused to be called a child of Pharoahs daughter, and was redeemed from under the law, becoming a child of the most high, being born again of the spirit of his Son, whereby he was a child of His Father and Abba, God. (Gal 3:23-25, 4:1-6, 5:18, John 3:3-12, Heb 11:24,25).
The Dispensation of Grace is From “the Beginning”
The word is truth, and the word is full of grace and truth, and the word is from the beginning, therefore the dispensation of grace is from the beginning.