“What role does the law have in preaching? We must consider where a command is in the story line of the Bible in terms of the redemptive-historical scheme we see in Scripture. The moral norms of the Bible cannot be preached apart from the canonical context and apart from the whole counsel of God. In addition, when we preach God’s commands, we must always preach them in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God saves us by his mercy, and then he gives us commands by which we respond to his grace. It is incredibly easy to turn things around so that law precedes grace, and thereby the moral norms of the law become for us a ladder by which we try to be right with God or to impress him with our works. Obeying God is always a response to his grace; it is never a means by which we become right with God.” – Thomas R. Schreiner, 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law, p. 229
The more that I think canonical through the storyline of redemption, the more I can’t believe I actually once believed that people were “saved” in the OT by works of the Law. But, as Schreiner states, “obeying God is always a response to his grace.” Consider what we see through Exodus:
- The people of Israel were in the bondage of slavery.
- God promised to redeem them.
- God redeemed them.
- God crushed the enemy and the people of Israel experienced victory and vindication.
- God gave them his rules for them to obey in response to his saving act.
Obedience is a response to God’s grace and mercy and should flow out of our recognition for what he has done for us. So preach from the Law, but use it as a guardian towards Christ (Gal. 3:24-25).