By Russell E Kelly, PHD



  1. “The Mosaic Covenant, [Notes at Exodus 20]

given to Israel [Ex. 19:3-6],

in three divisions, each essential to the others, and together forming the Mosaic Covenant;

the ‘COMMANDMENTS,’ expressing the righteous will of God

(Ex. 20:1-26);

the ‘JUDGMENTS,’ governing the social life of Israel (Ex. 21:1 thru 24:11);

and the ‘ORDINANCES,’ governing the religious life of Israel (Ex. 24:12 thru 31:18).


These three elements form the ‘LAW,‘ as the phrase is generically used in the New Testament (e.g. Mt. 5:17,18).


The Commandments were a “ministry of condemnation and of “death” (2 Cor. 3:7-9); the Ordinances gave, in the high priest, a representative of the people with Jehovah; and in the sacrifices a “cover” for their sins in anticipation of the Cross (Heb. 5:1-3; 9:6-9; Rom. 3:25,26).

The Christian is not under the conditional Mosaic Covenant of works, the law, but under the unconditional new covenant of grace (Rom. 3:21-27; 6:14,15; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-14, 16-18, 24-26; 4:21-31; Heb. 10:11-17).”[i]


  1. The Mosaic Covenant, or Old Covenant, is distinct from the New Covenant which began the moment Christ died at Calvary and the veil in the Jerusalem Temple was rent.
  2. The Mosaic Covenant was specifically to Israel and for Israel only! Immediately before giving the Ten Commandments, the Judgments, and the Ordinances, God said to Moses, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel,” Exodus 19:3. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” Exodus 19:5,6.


  1. That only Israel was given the conditions, blessings, and curses of the Mosaic Covenant is clear from the introduction to the Ten Commandments. “I am the Lord your God, who brought YOU out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” Exodus 20:2 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6. Only the nation Israel fits this description in the historical sense.


Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.


The answer is sixfold:

(1) The law was added because of transgressions i.e. to give to sin the character of transgression.

  1. a) Men had been sinning before Moses, but in the absence of law their sins were not put to their account (Rom 5:12); the law gave to sin the character of “transgression,” i.e. personal guilt.
  2. b) Also since sin men continued to transgress by the very law which forbade it
    (Rom 7:8), the law conclusively proved the inveterate sinfulness of man’s nature (Rom 7:11-13).

(2) The law, therefore, concluded “all under sin” (cf. Rom 3:19, 20, 23).

(3) The law was ad interim dealing “till the seed should come” (v19).

(4) The law shut sinful man up to faith as the only avenue of escape (v23).

(5) The law was to the Jews what the pedagogue was in a Greek household, a ruler of children in their minority, and it had this character “unto’ (i.e. until) Christ (v24).

(6) Christ having come, the believer is no longer under the pedagogue (v25).


Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.


  1. THE LAW OF MOSES, Summary: [similar to notes at Exodus 20]

(1) The Mosaic Covenant was given to Israel in three parts: the commandments expressing the righteous will of God (Ex 20:1-26); the judgments governing the social life of Israel (Ex 21:1 to 24:11); and the “ordinances” governing the religious life of Israel (Ex 24:12 to 31:18).

(2) The commandments and ordinances were one complete and inseparable whole. When an Israelite sinned he was held “blameless” when he brought the required offering (Lk 1:6; Phil 3:6).

(3) Law as a method of the divine dealing with man, characterized the dispensation extending from the giving of the law to the death of Jesus Christ (Gal 3:13, 14, 23, 24).

(4) The attempt of legalistic teachers e.g. Acts 15:1-31; Gal 2:1-5) to mingle law with grace as the divine method of this present dispensation of grace, brought out the true relation of the law to the Christian.



(1)                             Law is in contrast with grace.

Under the latter God bestows the righteousness which, under law, He demanded (Ex 19:5; John 1:17; Rom 3:21 note; 10:3-10; 1 Cor 1:30).

LAW: Thou shat not …..

GRACE: You will spontaneously as a new creation.

(2)                             The law is in itself, holy, just, good, and spiritual (Rom 7:12-14).

(3)                             Before the law the whole world is guilty, and the law is therefore of necessity a ministry of condemnation, death, and the divine curse (Rom 3:19; 2 Cor 3:7-9; Gal 3:10).


2 COR 3:10

JOHN 16:8-9

JOHN 14:7

1 TIM 6:7-9

(4)                             Christ bore the curse of the law, and redeemed the believer both from the curse and from the dominion of the law (Gal 3:13; 4:5-7).

(5)                             Law neither justifies a sinner nor sanctifies a believer (Gal 2:16; 3:2,3,11,12).

(6)                             The believer is both dead to the law and redeemed from it, so that he is “not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14; 7:4; Gal 2:19; 4:4-7); 1 Tim 1:8,9).

(7) Under the New Covenant of grace the principle of obedience is inwrought (Heb 10:16). So far is the life of the believer from the anarchy of self-will that he is “inlawed to Christ” (I Cor 9:21), and the new “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2; 2 Jn 5) is his delight; whereas, through the indwelling Spirit, the righteousness of the law if fulfilled in him (Rom 8:2-4; Gal 5:16-18).


The commandments are used in the distinctively Christian Scriptures as in instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16,17; cp. Rom 13:8-10; 1 Cor 9:8,9; Eph 6:1-3).




The righteousness of God is all that God demands and approves, and is ultimately found in Christ Himself, who fully met in our stead every requirement of the law. Through imputation Christ is “made unto us …righteousness” (I Cor 1:30; cp Lev 25:47-52; Rom 3:26; 4:6; 10:4; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9; Jas 2:23).




Law (of Christ), Summary: The new is the divine love, as wrought into the renewed heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; Heb 10:16), which flows out in the energy of the Spirit, unforced and spontaneous, toward the objects of the divine love (2 Cor 5:14-20); 1 Thes 2:7,8). It is, therefore, “the law of liberty” (Js 1:25; 2:12) in contrast with the external law of Moses. Moses’ law demands love (Lev 19:18; Deu 6:5; Lk 10:27); Christ’s law is love (Rom 5:5; 1 Jn 4:7.19.20), and so takes the place of the external law by fulfilling it (Rom 13:10; Gal 5:14). It is the “law written in the heart” under the New Covenant (see Heb 8:8 note).