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Was the law useless and imperfect?



Christian missionaries often argue that the law that was given to the Israelites was practically impossible to follow as the people would often break the rules by going against it (sinning), and so the law was not perfect and something else was needed.

They argue that perfection was provided in the form of Jesus’ death on the cross, and his resurrection after 3 days. Salvation now relies on one putting his complete trust and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and through that he shall be saved.

On paper the argument may sound logical, after all it is true, we are not saints, nobody is able to perfectly follow the law that was given by God, we have all gone against it. But does that make it imperfect and useless? If we want to use the same analogy, then we must also argue that our current judicial law is also useless, as people continually break the law by committing acts of murder, and every other crime, so should we simply get rid of the current law since people break it?

Secondly, what the missionaries fail to realize is that even with the death and resurrection of Jesus, people continue to sin. And when I say people, I am referring to people who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. So what’s the difference? With the law people were sinning, without the law, people are still sinning, so if Jesus was meant to provide something different, it didn’t exactly work out.

One might argue back that according to the law, you will be punished if you do break the law, that you won’t be right with God, and so a sinner will never be able to be with God. Indeed the law does call for punishment in breaking it, but it also teaches about repentance and forgiveness, in other words if you do sin, it doesn’t mean you’re finished, rather you can still repent of what you did and you will be forgiven and be right with God.

The same applies to one who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus, if one sins, what does he do? He repents. Similarly, when one broke the law, he too repented, so therefore you still have the exact same method in place, and nothing’s really changed. People are still sinning, and people are still repenting, so what’s the main difference? And just like with the law, if a Christian persists in sin, and does not repent, he won’t be right with God. Just like a person who persists in breaking the law, and does not repent, he too will be punished according to the law. So in both cases we still have a punishment to be handed out to the guilty, and in both cases the guilty one can avoid a punishment, through the means of repentance.

Last but not least, if the law was imperfect and impossible to ever follow, then why on earth would God have made it? Isn’t that unjust? Isn’t that unfair? And isn’t that quite ignorant to make a law that you have to perfectly follow in order to attain salvation, but in actuality you will never be able to perfectly follow it thus damning you to hell?

That doesn’t exactly sound like an all-knowing wise God, in fact it sounds like a God who even made a mistake. So God made the law, but people couldn’t perfectly follow it, so he then came up with another plan, because the first plan was impossible for the people to do. Shouldn’t God have known this from the start?

In any case, when reading the Jewish Bible, it’s quite apparent that God did not demand perfection from the people, if he did, then why would he introduce the concept and method of repentance? If he expects perfection, then there wouldn’t be a need of repentance. Yet the concept and method of repentance is throughout the Jewish Bible, and is something very well known within Jewish theology. And what this shows is that God did expect people to sin and fall short of the law, which is why there was a concept of repentance, so that if somebody did go against the law, they could make it right by repenting, hence the law was not useless, but was still perfect and whole through the means of repentance.


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