God's Laws and Principles

Genesis affirms that God created mankind for himself. He desired a warm, personal, trusting relationship. Sin entered with its devastating consequences, but God’s love for his creation never wavered.

Cast out of the garden, mankind was thrust into a turbulent journey spanning several millennia. Throughout, God’s plan for restoration relentlessly unfolded. First, he called one man, Abraham, who, with his family, grew to become an entire nation. God gave them choice land on which to live, men to lead them and guidelines to live by. In ways that go beyond our limited human understanding this people group, the Jews, were destined to become the cradle of a restored creation.

To Moses, a descendant of Abraham, God dramatically imparted a compact set of Ten Commandments—etched in two stone tablets by the finger of God himself. Each of these ten was for the good of his people. Where Adam and Eve had transgressed by violating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their descendants were provided a lifegiving love letter— “Do this and you will live…”

We are familiar with many applications of God’s law today. “Freedom of worship,” for example, secures our right to openly love and worship God. Most societies accept that it is fundamentally good to bless and care for others. We know honoring parents is of great worth. Likewise, the law reminds us it is wrong to murder, to steal and to slander others.

“It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you.”

(Deuteronomy 31:24-26)

Yet even the law, for all its value, was never intended to be a permanent solution. The Apostle Paul speaks of it as a “schoolmaster”—an essential bridge that governed life during the Old Testament period. It provided structure and priority, guiding how God’s people should relate to him and to each other. It protected and sustained God’s people as they traversed the ages, moving steadily toward the fulfillment of God’s design—Jesus.

Why this extended chapter in history lasted as long as it did, we don’t know, but God knows. What’s clear is that a profound pageant was playing out. God was pressing toward the restoration of a covenantal relationship with each of us, his prized creation. Nothing in heaven nor on earth would hold him back.

Yet, as important as the law was, God did not limit his engagement with his people to this means of guidance alone. He also sent prophets, ones who would proclaim his intentions for days yet to unfold.

“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

(Deuteronomy 30:14)