The Hebrew people were brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand in the Book of Exodus. God was calling them to himself; they would be his people and he would be their God. It was a covenant relationship not offered to any other people on the face of the earth. He made a dwelling place for himself among them and gave them his law. As people of faith living in the age of grace, we may think of the Law as a burden that is too great to bear. At the time it was gift, given only to God’s chosen people.
In the New Testament Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets – he did not do away with them. We are partakers of grace, but Paul teaches us to think of the Law as a tutor or like a school master. The Law teaches what God requires. Consider the way of the righteous in Psalm 1: his delight is in the law[ of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Then in Psalm 19 David says:
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules[d] of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
The Law of the LORD is perfect. In this context, perfect means complete. What David calls “the law of the LORD” we might think of more like the Word of the LORD (God). He is not just talking about a list of rules, i.e. the Ten Commandments, but rather every single word that came out of God’s mouth. James 1 says that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” Jesus taught that just as we give our children good gifts, God knows even better how to bestow good gifts on his children. The Law does not and cannot make us righteous; we need an all sufficient savior for that. Man’s failure to keep the Law was part of the learning process that God had in mind.
The very best gift he had to offer was his own Son. Yet the Law was in fact a gift of God. And it has not nor will it be done away with.