288. In the Word "the law" is frequently mentioned; and what is meant by the law in a strict sense, in a broader sense, and in the broadest sense, shall now be told. In a strict sense the law means the Decalogue; in a broader sense it means the statutes given by Moses to the children of Israel, and in the broadest sense it means the whole Word.
That the law in a strict sense means the Decalogue, is well known. That the law in a wider sense means the statutes given by Moses to the children of Israel, is evident from the particular statutes, each of which in Exodus is called a "law;" as also [in Leviticus]:
This is the law of the guilt offering (Lev. 7:1).
This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offering (Lev. 7:7, 11).
This is the law of the meat offering (Lev. 6:14 seq.).
This is the law for the burnt offering, for the meat offering, and for the sin offering, and for the guilt offering, and for the consecrations (Lev. 7:37).
This is the law of the beast and of the fowl (Lev. 11:46 seq.)
This is the law for her that beareth, a son or a daughter (Lev. 12:7).
This is the law of leprosy (Lev. 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57).
This is the law of him that hath an issue (Lev. 15:32).
This is the law of jealousy (Num. 5:29, 30).
This is the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13, 21).
This is the law of cleansing (Num. 19:14).
The law respecting the red heifer (Num. 19:2).
The law for the king (Deut. 17:15-19).
Indeed the whole book of Moses is called the law (Deut. 31:9, 11, 12, 26; likewise in the New Testament, as in Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:22, 23; 8:5; and elsewhere).
That Paul, by the works of the law, means these statutes, where he says,
That a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law (Rom. 3:28),
is clearly manifest from what there follows, as also from his words to Peter, whom he accuses of Judaizing, when he says three times in one verse,
That no man is justified by the works of the law (Gal. 2:14, 16).
That the law in the broadest sense means the whole Word, is plain from the following passages:
Jesus said, Is it not written in your law, Ye are Gods? (John 10:34).
This is written, Ps. 82:6.
The multitude answered, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever (John 12:34).
This is written Ps. 89:29; 110:4; Dan. 7:14.
That the Word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (John 15:25).
This is written, Ps. 35:19.
The Pharisees said, Hath any of the rulers believed on Him but the crowd which knoweth not the law? (John 7:48-49).
It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fall (Luke 16:17).
The law here means the whole Sacred Scripture; also in a thousand places in David.