After such an amazing deliverance we see Moses leading the people through the desert until they came to Mount Sinai.
This is a key passage because it is at Sinai that God gives the people the law. He had brought the people out of Egypt and now He wanted to take them in to the land, promised from the days of Abraham.
Moses was called up the mountain to meet with God. Here he was given the ten words, the ten commandments of God which were to be received by the people and which were to be the basis of a covenant that they were required to keep.
Moses is referred to as the mediator of the old covenant in “Galatians 3:19 ESV 9: the law …..was put in place through angels by an intermediary”. He received them directly from the hands of God, written by His finger.
“The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17”
The earlier part of this verse says: “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring – seed – should come to whom the promise had been made” ESV.
This is the key question. “Why then the law?” Why was the law given?
The law does not justify anyone. God has chosen to count men and women righteous by faith. Remember this is what God established with Abraham thousands of years previously.
As a result those who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ”Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” Galatians 3:10, ESV.
But we know that “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” ESV.
The law was given to make sin known. If it had not been for the law, Paul says, I would not have known sin. “For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said ”You shall not covet”, Romans 7:7,8.
Because the law is holy and good, sin kills us. (Romans 7:11). We all stand condemned by it. There is nothing wrong with the law; the problem is with us, we are “sold under sin”, Romans 7:14”.
God gave mankind the law to keep sin restrained. The law acts as our protector. God kept us shut up until Christ came. So, the law shows us our sin and also leads us to Christ.
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith…. Galatians 3:23-26” ESV.
This section in Galatians refers to the Jews, (Paul was one of course) when Paul uses the pronoun, “we”. Then he says, but “you”, referring to those who were Gentiles. The children of Israel were God’s people and to them the law was given, which kept them “under guardians and stewards” until Christ came.
Paul says that the Gentiles also received the Holy Spirit that brought them into sonship too. Sonship for the Jews was couched in terms of them coming into the full right of sons, adoption, whereas the emphasis for the Gentiles was that of a new birth, where “Abba, Father” is the birth cry. These of course are not separate experiences but rather truth revealed in different ways and emphases.
We must now turn largely to the New Testament to see how God has provided a gospel that thoroughly deals with sin.