While speaking to some Jews one day, Yeshua (Jesus) said, "Do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set." (John 5:45)
Since "the Law was given through Moses," (John 1:17) he represents the perfect and holy commandments that were given to God's people on Mount Sinai. And anyone who places their hope for Heaven on their ability to obey the commandments will be sorely disappointed. The Law will one day come crashing down on them like a ton of bricks.
There is no flex or give in the Law. It is firm, solid, unchanging, and ultimately condemning. No one except Yeshua has ever lived in perfect obedience to the Law. Only Jesus lived a sinless life. And if you hope to spend eternity with your Creator, you would be wise to realize that your sincere attempts to obey the Law are a long way from perfection.
Jews and "professing Christians" who rely on the Law to be justified before God will be in for a rude awakening. While every professing Christian identifies as a believer, some who choose to wear that label nevertheless rely upon their works and their obedience to get into Heaven. Therefore, they remain unsaved and lost in their sin in spite of professing to know Christ. You see, a label has never saved even one Jew or one professing Christian. After all, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6)
When it comes to the Law, you are either perfect or guilty. Sinless or sinful. Justified by your perfect life, or condemned by the perfect Law. There is no middle ground.
"Whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10) When Moses is your accuser, the commandments are your judge and jury. Your life is weighed according to the perfect standard of the Law. And in every area where you fall short of perfection, the Law will crush you, condemn you, and serve as the basis for your sentence of eternal punishment in Hell.
Jesus wasn't playing around, and He told the truth every time He spoke. When Christ described what happens to your soul at the end of your life on Earth, He made it very clear that Heaven and Hell are the only two destinations in eternity. The fact that both destinations are extreme does not make them any less real. And while it is often difficult for man to wrap his mind around these eternal realities, the Lord leaves it up to each individual to either accept or reject this clear message of Scripture. (Matthew 13:42; Mark 9:43, 48; Luke 16:19-31; John 3:16-18; John 11:25,26)
So where do you stand on the issue of life and death, Heaven and Hell, belief or unbelief?
Moses delivered the Law, and the Law accuses. Jesus delivered the Gospel, and the Gospel saves. The Law tells us what we must do. The Gospel tells us what God has done to rescue us from sin. The Law condemns. The Gospel rescues. In that sense, Moses accuses, while Jesus defends, protects, provides, and delivers a soul from eternal punishment in Hell.
When you stand before God one day, you will desperately need a "defense attorney" rather than a "prosecuting attorney." Moses, in essence, is the prosecuting attorney, while Jesus serves as the defense attorney. Moses is not able to get any of your charges dropped, whereas Jesus makes sure your charges are dropped the moment you receive Him into your heart through faith.
You are declared "not guilty" when you trust Yeshua to wash away your sins. You see my friend, it was the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross that paid for all of your sins. And when you rely upon His death and His blood to cleanse you rather than your obedience to the Law, you enter a realm that can only be entered through faith in the Messiah.
You may identify today as a Jew, or as a Christian, or with some other label. But here is the critical question: Are you placing your hope in Moses? That is to say, are you relying upon your obedience to the commandments Moses brought down the mountain in order to be accepted into God's family?
"Wait a minute," you say. "I am already in God's family." Well, that may or may not be the case. If you are placing your hope in Moses and the commandments, then the weight of the Law is exactly what you will get on Judgment Day. You will be condemned by the very Law you assume you are following so perfectly. In reality, you have fallen far short of God's commands on many occasions. The same is true for each one of us.
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
If we didn't fall short of the mark, there would have been no need for the Messiah to come here to deliver us from our sin. While Moses is a completely competent prosecuting attorney, he is a lousy defense attorney. The Law is not able to provide even a smidgen of forgiveness for your soul. A sacrifice of atonement was necessary in order to purchase the forgiveness of your sins, and the extremely high price was paid in full by Yeshua. It's a done deal. The sacrifice has been made. All that remains is whether or not you are going to apply Christ's blood to your sin by faith.
When you do so, your Father in Heaven completely forgives you and declares you to be "not guilty." You are instantly acquitted, forgiven and granted the free gift of eternal life in Heaven.
The Law that Moses brought down the mountain is supreme in its authority and utterly decisive in its accusations. Thankfully, the moment a person turns to Christ in repentance and faith, Jesus comes alongside you as your defense attorney. Moses is replaced by Yeshua who will now stand with you in your court appearance on Judgment Day. This is what prepares a person to stand before God and hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. ... Enter into the joy of your master." (Matt. 25:23) Only Jesus can cover your soul and your sins with His atoning sacrifice and His perfect obedience.
So who will it be my friend? Will you place your hope for Heaven in Moses and his perfect commandments, or in Christ and His perfect sacrifice of atonement on the cross? "All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse." (Gal. 3:10) This goes for everyone who seeks to earn their way into Heaven by their obedience to the Law. On the other hand, those who place their faith in Christ discover that He is more than able to deliver them from sin and death.
The day Jesus was crucified became the ultimate "Day of Atonement." And the blood from that one-time sacrifice has the power to wash away your sins today. But it will require faith if you are going to cross over from death to life. Yeshua said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24) There is no accusation in the Gospel, but only a promise. Yeshua delivers people from death to life, and from unbelief to saving faith.
Will you come to Christ today in repentance and faith? If so, you may find this prayer to be helpful:
"Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I have broken your commandments and I am far from perfect. Forgive my sins. I believe you are the promised Messiah and that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. Come into my life and be my Savior. From this day forward, I will follow you and seek to do your will. Thank you Jesus for granting me the free gift of eternal life in heaven with you and all believers. Amen."
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.