All scripture references are from the NASV unless otherwise noted.
"Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh..." (Ge. 12:6a). In the previous article, we spoke of the revelation of the cross and we saw that Shechem is a type of this revelation. Here we see that Abraham came to Shechem, and to the oak of Moreh. Moreh is a type of the work of the law that always precedes a true revelation of the cross of Christ. That's why we see them together here and throughout scripture: because they work hand in hand. Moreh means an archer, and to teach or teaching. The word Moreh and the word Torah (the law) both come from the root Yarah. According to Strong, Yarah means to flow as with water (i.e. to rain) to lay or throw (espec. An arrow i.e. to shoot) figuratively to point out (as if by aiming the finger) to teach.
Abraham came to Shechem and to Moreh, and in following the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, one must be exercised by the "schoolmaster" called the law, which is our teacher or tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24, 25). Without the work of the law, there will be no true revelation of the cross of Christ.
The work of the law, of which I write, is the Holy Spirit (who came to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment) wielding the judgment edge of the sword of God's word. It is the arrow that is sharp in the heart of the King's enemies, as seen in Acts 2:37 where we read of sinners being "pierced to the heart" by Peter's words, and then pleading, "What shall we do?" God said, "Is not my word like a hammer that shatters a rock?" (Jer. 23:29). The work of the law is the crushing blow from the gavel of God's justice that judges a man as a lost and terrible sinner against God and sentences him to an eternal hell. The work of the hammer called the law is to break the hard stone heart to pieces, making it fertile soil for the message of the gospel. The more intense the revelation of God's judgment and our sinfulness (Rom. 7:13) under the tutelage of the law, the greater the height and depth of the love and mercy of God at the revelation of the cross of Calvary.
I believe the work of the law precedes the revelation of the cross, and I believe that so few Christians have had a revelation of the cross because so few have been brought to that experience by their "schoolmaster". The word "schoolmaster" in Galatians 3:24 is translated from a Greek word that means a servant or boy leader whose job is to bring children to school. That verse says that it is the job of the law to bring us to Christ.
Those who come to Christ without deep conviction of sin and deep repentance (without being exercised by the law) are described by Jesus in His parable of the sower. Jesus spoke of a farmer, or a minister of the Gospel, who went about sowing his seed (the true message of the Gospel). This seed fell on four types of soil. One soil type was "rocky soil", and in this soil the seed sprouted and grew very quickly. However, because the soil was rocky, the rapid growth was actually a result of a shallow root system, and the plant eventually withered and died. Jesus was saying that those whose hearts have not been prepared will receive the word "with joy", but will have no depth of root, and the eternal life within will grow quickly for a time, but in a time of testing will wither and die. In other words, a person whose hard stone heart has never been broken by the law will receive the message of the Gospel with gladness, but it will be a shallow experience, and when times are good, they will have eternal life, but the difficult times will reveal the shallowness of the conversion as the life within dies. Jesus said to the church at Sardis, "You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1). He told them to overcome that their names would not be blotted out of the book. They who once had eternal life and a name written in the book of life were now spiritually dead, and were in danger of having their name removed from the book that records those with life - those with life, not those with correct beliefs.
The job of the law is soil preparation. The job of the law is to break the rock. Remember that the Passover was to be eaten with bitter herbs. I'm always skeptical of people who hear and receive the message of the Gospel "gladly", as Jesus said, when there has been no breaking, no bitterness, no chronic or acute conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
I believe more often than not, the modern gospel message, and especially the religious tradition of the sinners prayer, serve more to inoculate a person against true conviction and true conversion than it does to promote such. It brings a person just enough knowledge of his own sin and of the concept of forgiveness and salvation from hell to awaken within him a sense of need before God, and then quickly cuts short the dealings of the Holy Spirit and the pangs of his own conscience by administering Christendom's "sacrament" of the sinners prayer or the scriptural sacrament of baptism. We then tell these "converts" that they are now born again children of God, assured of eternal life in heaven, whether God has done the miraculous in their lives or not.
Why do I believe that so many who are brought to grace are only inoculated from true conversion by their experience? Because I believe that before someone is brought to grace, they must first be brought to judgment. That, I believe, is what is missing today in a powerless church that does not have the true full baptism of the Holy Spirit who came to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. That is what was missing in my first experience, and what brought me to a true revelation of the cross in my second experience. To truly come to grace, one must come through judgment.
Remember in a previous article on the revelation of the cross, I said that in this hour of restoration, God is going to restore the message and the work of the cross just as the Israelites returning to Canaan under Ezra's leadership first rebuilt the brazen altar (Ez. 3:2)? The brazen altar speaks of the cross: the cross upon which Jesus died, and the altar upon which we lay our lives as we take up our cross and follow him, being made conformable to His death. This altar was made of brass, and in scripture, brass speaks of judgment. Judgment precedes Grace. The work of the law precedes the revelation of the cross, and the reason why modern Christians have so shallow of an experience in their conversion is because they have not come in the right way. They have been brought to a spurious grace by those who know nothing of the judgment of God. Brother, I would rather face my judgment at the cross than at the throne. Some men's sins go before to judgment, and some men's sins follow after.
The job of the law is to break our stony hearts by showing us our sinfulness before God. Paul said of the law, "...I would not have come to know sin except through the Law..." (Rom. 7:7). The law is our teacher, our tutor, our example that is as straight as an arrow, and that points as an accusing finger at our crooked lives. It teaches us of our need for a grace that we feel we deserve as much as anyone before it reveals to us our sinful state. The work of the law is to bring us to the place where we cry, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me?", and it is this work that brings a person to the cross that is the power of God unto salvation. It is the revelation of the cross that truly brings a person into Christ where there is now no condemnation, "so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:4).
For someone to have a true saving faith that will stand the test of time, a faith that overcomes in times of testing, a faith like the faith of our father Abraham, their heart must be good soil in which the seed of the Gospel can grow unto eternal life. The rock must be broken, and it is the law that is fitted for such a purpose.The True Gospel Series