Love: A Great Lesson From A Limited Law

It is a fundamental tenet of the New Testament that the Law of Moses (basically the entire Old Testament, save for Genesis, the first chapters of Exodus, and Job) was of limited utility. It could not sanctify (Gal. 3:2,3); nor justify (Gal. 2:16; 3:11); nor forgive (Heb. 10:4). So it was replaced. 

Heb. 7,18,19 “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

Even though the law was limited, weak and replaceable, it still taught its subjects lessons of the highest importance: Loving God and each other. 

Matt. 22:36-20 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Don’t think that it was a low or limited standard of love for God and man that the law taught its adherents. Jesus explained in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matt. 5:44-48 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

If the limited, weak and replaceable law called us to this, how much more the gospel? Should not the love of God and others be even more our goal?