Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Law and the Cross

Read Deuteronomy 21-24.

These details concerning Israel's laws are often skim read or not read at all.  As believers in Jesus, we do not live under the laws of regarding the priesthood and sacrifices for sin in order to have and maintain a relationship with God.  Yet, these laws contain wisdom and direction for this nation on how to make judgments, who should make them, and what to do about wrongs done against each other.

People who want to live by doing what is right in their own eyes, who believe in victimless crimes, and want to behave without anyone telling them what to do are truly law-less.  This is nothing new.  The Bible teaches that individual behavior can have influence on the entire nation and how God responds.

One such law had to do with capital punishment.  As any student of the Bible knows, Israel's method of execution was stoning.  So it does seem strange to have a law regarding hanging the criminal on a tree.  Evidently, this was for the most heinous of crimes.  It appears that the person was probably stoned to death and then hung on display as a severe public warning.  But they were not allowed to leave the body hanging; it was to be buried the same day.  Why?  "You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance." (21:23) 

Notice how the Apostle Paul wrote about this very verse:
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'." (Galatians 3:13)

Jesus hung on a Roman cross and this verse makes it clear as to who is to blame.  It was for us He died.  He took our "curse", the eternal punishment for our sin.  "So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:14).

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