The Law did not start with Moses when he gave the Ten Commandments and the other regulations. It started way earlier, at the start of creation.
God gave the first Law when he told Adam and Eve:
And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
This is fascinating. I’ve always wondered, why did God give this strange command? Why give a command at all? Wouldn’t it be better if God let Adam eat from every tree?
Remember, God was the one who planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there!
I believe this is the reason:
Without the Law, there can be no sin.
This is stated by Paul.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
The command of God gave Adam the choice. To obey or not to obey. If there was no law, there can be no sin.
For example, if my mother bought cookies for someone else but I ate it instead, and she didn’t give me any instructions not to eat it, I can’t be punished. There wasn’t any commands not to eat it.
But if after that, my mother told me sternly not to eat it and I went ahead and ate it again, I have broken her commands. That is my fault because I disobeyed her command.
Similarly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and sinned. If there was no command, there can be no sin. But thankfully, God in His tremendous grace, sacrificed an animal to cover their nakedness. But this did not solve the problem of sin at all. Mankind were slaves to sin.
When Jesus came to this earth as the ultimate sacrifice and died, all believers were crucified along with Jesus. This crucifixion is crucial to understanding our relationship to the law.
Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.
Before we knew Christ, we were bound, married to the Law of sin and death. And Paul, using a human example of marriage tells us that to be released from the other party, one has to die. He continues:
So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
This is the divine solution to restore our relationship with God.
When Jesus died, we died with Him.
When Jesus rose, we rose with Him.
And in our death, our marriage to sin was broken so that we were free to marry and serve the Lord Jesus. Amazing love and grace!