The Law is a term used to refer narrowly to the
Ten Commandments (also called the "Decalogue"; cf. Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21), and more broadly to the first five books of the
Old Testament (or
Pentateuch, also the Torah), but especially to the material found in chapters 20-40 of the
book of Exodus, the whole
book of Leviticus, and chapters 5-30 of the
book of Deuteronomy. The Law establishes the fundamental principles and specific commands which distinguished Israel as God's chosen people and governed their social relations and worship of
As Christians, we are released from the condemnation of the Law, which exposed our sin and rightly condemned us to hell.
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Another aspect of law refers to universal moral principles that are not specifically tied to the special revelation of Scripture. The Old Testament appeals to natural law by defining right and wrong through observations drawn from nature (Psalm
19:1-6; Proverbs 6:6-11) and human relationships (Proverbs 24:30-34), and by the fact that God holds nations that lacked the special revelation of the law accountable for their sins (Isaiah 13-23; Jeremiah 46-51; Ezekiel 25-32). This is affirmed in
Romans 2:14-16: "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience
also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."
The law speaks "so that every mouth may be stopped"
"Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since
through the law comes knowledge of sin." - Romans 3:19-20 "For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression." - Romans 4:15 "Now the law came in to increase the trespass..." - Romans 5:20