“Without which not” is a legal term which is implied in the covenant that God made with his people at Sinai. Let us see what this entails.
Israel occupied a special place in the eyes of God. He had used every effort to free the people from Egyptian captivity and now, three months into their freedom, Israel was camped in the wilderness in front of Mount Sinai. They were on the verge of their God-given mission: to bring forth a saviour.
Moses is summoned to the mountain and is given a script to follow on his return to the plain. He is to tell the assembled nation what is in store for them now that they have been chosen as a treasured possession, a priestly kingdom, to be the Lord’s forever. There is, however, a “without which not” clause in the agreement. It is spelled out in verse 5: obedience. Israel must obey God’s law and all its ordinances completely and forever. Only in this way could they remain the Lord’s people, a nation from which the Saviour was to come.
There is a similar clause in our receiving salvation from our Saviour: we must believe he died for us.
Lord of salvation, help us to believe. Amen. — AEA