Paul the Apostle, Law, and Sin, Part 4

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

Moses’ Law

The Law of Moses incorporated the Noahide Laws and the law given to Abraham (circumcision).

Origins of Moses’ Law

  • Began with the law of the Passover and the Firstborn, Exodus 12:40-13:16
  • Continued with commandments regarding manna and the Sabbath, Exodus 16:4-36
  • Elders appointed to help Moses render judgments, Exodus 18:13-26
  • Moses receives the Ten Commandments from God, and instructions for the Tabernacle, priesthood, and feasts, Exodus 24:12 – 34:28 (discontinuous)
  • Moses receives further commandments and ordinances, especially those regarding sacrifices, Leviticus – Numbers

Acceptance of Moses’ Law by the People

  • The people swear to obey the Law, Exodus 24:3-8
  • Moses calls the people to choose obedience and life, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Joshua calls the people to confirm acceptance of worshiping God, Joshua 24:14-25


  • God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it, Genesis 2:2-3
  • Basic law of the Sabbath, Exodus 20:8-11
  • The law concerning resting on the Sabbath, Exodus 23:12
  • The Sabbath is a sign and holy, Exodus 31:12-18

Jews Blinded by the Letter of the Law

  • The Jews are blinded by the “letter” of the Law to its deeper meaning, 2 Corinthians 3:14-15

The Letter of the Law kills

  • The Law works a consciousness of sin, and its judgment, Romans 7:8-14
  • The Law administers death, the Spirit administers life, 2 Corinthians 3:6-11

One cannot be saved by Moses’ Law

  • Whereas the Law failed to justify sinners, Christ has provided a new solution, Acts 13:38-41
  • Israel failed to be justified by faith, and has rejected their Messiah, Romans 9:31-33
  • Moses’ Law required the letter of the law, but Christ brought salvation through faith, Romans 10:4-5

Those who rely on the Law will be judged by it

  • Romans 2:12-13

No one can be justified by the Law, since all have sinned

  • All have sinned, but God has provided grace through faith in Christ, Romans 3:19-31
  • Grace overcomes the Law of Sin and Death, Romans 5:20-21

Under the Law man is powerless to overcome sin

  • We cannot do the good we want to do, due to the sin nature, Romans 7:15-25

The Law is meant for sinners, not the righteous

  • 1 Timothy 1:3-10

Those who keep the Law are bound to it

  • Romans 7:1-6

Those in the flesh cannot please God

  • The carnal mind is the enemy of God, Romans 8:5-8
  • The Spirit makes us children of God, Romans 8:15-22

Circumcision is a different Gospel

  • Circumcision is a different gospel, Galatians 1:6-9
  • Paul opposes Peter in keeping the Law rather than living by grace, Galatians 2:11-21
  • Abraham was justified by faith, before the Law, Galatians 3:1-26
  • The Law was a disciplinarian until the fruition of full heirship, Galatians 4:1-10
  • The Law is bondage, those of faith are free, Galatians 4:21-31
  • Do not return to bondage, Galatians 5:1-13
  • Beware those who lure you back into bondage, Galatians 6:12-16
  • Consider yourselves dead the commandments of the flesh, alive to God, Colossians 2:10-17, 20-23

Prohibitions on fornication, incest, etc.—parts of Moses’ Law still valid?

  • Taking your father’s wife, Leviticus 18:8; Deuteronomy 22:30; 27:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
  • Laws concerning marriage and divorce, Romans 7:1-4, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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