Which Law are You Under?
“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain
which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls,
saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment:” Acts 15:24
The Ten Commandments are the very heart of the Old Covenant between God and Israel. In many of today’s churches the Ten Commandments play an important role. Many of the churches in the area in which I live start their services each week by reciting the Ten Commandments. Many professing Christians will use the Ten Commandments as the ultimate guide and rule for their life. In our society conflicts concerning the Ten Commandments are often in the national news. Almost every year we hear of a court case concerning the display of the Ten Commandments in public places such as schools or court buildings.
With the emphasis that many churches place on the Ten Commandments as well as all the fuss in society concerning them, one would think that Ten Commandments would be understood very well, especially by religious people. In fact, just the opposite is true. If religious people really understood the law of Moses (in which the Ten Commandments are the very heart) they would be horrified by what they have done with them. They would know that the Ten Commandments were a ministry of death and condemnation and could never minister to spiritual life. They would not entertain the thought for even a moment that they could live according to a standard that only had the power to condemn them to death before a holy and just God.
If a person was to claim that the Ten Commandments never applied to the gentiles and that they applied only to the Jews from Moses to the cross many would label this person as a heretic. If the person went on to say that the Ten Commandments was a ministry of death and condemnation and was not given for a righteous man many would say that this person is not only a heretic, but a lunatic as well. If this person went on and said the Law of Moses was made void and made obsolete by Jesus because it had a major fault in it and that those who tried to live by it were cursed, then this person better be prepared to be stoned. Yet, the Word of God teaches these things and more about the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses.
Below are a few very important truths concerning the Mosaic law from God’s Word that will greatly help those who are truth seekers.
John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
These two verses let us know the beginning and the end of the Mosaic law, which was from Moses to the cross of Jesus Christ (where He fulfilled the law).
John 1:17 tells us that the law came by Moses. This teaches two important points about the law of Moses. (1). As stated above it had a beginning and (2). That before Moses many generation existed without the law of Moses. This does not mean that people from Adam to Moses were not accountable to God for their sin. Romans 5:13 says “(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”
God gave mankind many commandments before Moses came along with the Mosaic law. The first command God gave to mankind in which mankind broke was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 1:16). There are many commands God gave to man before Moses Gen. 9 records a few:
Gen. 9:1 “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. 7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.”
These commands were given to all mankind not just the children of Israel. They still apply to us today. In verse one and seven God commands mankind to be fruitful and multiply. Even though this command is still in effect (God never made it void), many today refuse to obey it. Christians who actively practice birth control are disobeying God’s clear command in these verses. They use many excuses for not obeying God, expenses, housing, schooling, nobody else is doing it, etc, but the bottom line is they are disobeying God. I wanted only two children but God gave me eight so far, and when I look at and hold each one in my lap I am so thankful my wife and I submitted to God in this area of our life. God’s Word teaches that Children are a gift from God, doesn’t it seem strange that so many Christians today refuse God’s gifts. I know my 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th child are glad we obeyed God rather than go our own way in family planing.
Other commands in this list also teach us not to eat flesh with the blood still in it, which was repeated to the gentiles in Acts 15 by telling them not to eat things strangled. Also, not to shed another man’s blood. God also allows mankind here to eat any animal whether clean or unclean unlike the Mosaic Law which forbids the eating of unclean animals. So we clearly see that even without the Mosaic law mankind was responsible before God concerning his sin. God defined certain sins and set limits upon mankind many generation before Moses, God also judged sin as seen in Romans 5:13-14 many generations before the Mosaic law was given. In Exodus 19 God is going to make a covenant with a certain group of people. This covenant as one can read is the Ten Commandment which follow in Exodus 20. A covenant is a legally binding contract between two or more parties. In this case the text of Exodus 19 is clear that the covenant (contract) is between God and the children of Israel who were delivered from Egypt.
Ex. 19:1 “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they [into] the wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come [to] the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. 3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”
There are two very important observations that a careful student of God’s Word will notice in these verses.
1. The Ten Commandment was a covenant that God made ONLY with the children of Israel.
Verse 1 “children of Israel”, verse 2 “Israel”, and in verse 3 “the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;”
It is clear that God is making this covenant with only one group of people, Israel! No gentile nations or people are even mentioned or hinted at in this passage. God is singling out one nation out of the entire world and making a covenant with them exclusively. Deuteronomy 5 even claims that the covenant of the Ten Commandments was not even made with the forefathers of Israel but to them alone. Therefore many men of faith such as Abraham, Noah and Jacob and his children which are the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel were not included in the covenant of the Ten Commandments. Did these men know what sin was without the aid of the Ten Commandments? Yes! Where some of these men able to live lives pleasing to God without the aid of the Ten Commandments? Yes! How? By walking in faith (Heb. 11).
Duet. 5:1 “And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, [even] us, who [are] all of us here alive this day. 4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, 5 (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,”
2. The result of the covenant that God made the with Israel was that they would be a peculiar people, distinct and separate from all other people of the world.
Ex. 19:5 says “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:”
The result of this covenant was to make Israel a “peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” This is important to grasp because it too means that the Ten Commandments were given ONLY to the children of Israel. If God made this covenant with all people of the world this could not be true seeing everyone would be following the same covenant and Israel would not be a separate, distinct and peculiar people as a result of the covenant between them and God.
The Bible clearly teaches in many places that a Christian is not under the law of Moses. Those who insist that we are under the law of Moses mistakenly claim that without the law of Moses you give a licenses to sin. What they don’t realize is that just because Christians are not under the law of Moses doesn’t mean they are without divine law. Think about it for a moment, people from Adam to Moses were without the law of Moses, yet God gave them commands to follow as previously shown above. Some of the laws given to those from Adam to Moses were similar to those given in the Mosaic law, such as murder. Yet others were complete opposites such as the eating of clean and unclean animals. There were two different laws to govern two different groups of people. The same is true today, Christians are not under the law of Moses, they are under the law of Christ which is love. Therefore the divine law for Christians is the law of love. If we love God as we should then we would never sin against Him. If we love our neighbors and enemies as we should then we would never sin against them. The law of love is far superior to the law of Moses. The law of Moses was an external list of 613 do’s and don’t which one could be forced to follow to a certain degree even if their heart was not in it. On the other hand the law of love covers every conceivable sin one can commit and those who obey do so from the heart because true love comes from the heart. This is why love is the greatest law and fulfills the law and the prophets. Christians do not commit murder, adultery, lies etc. because it is against the law of love, not because it is a violation of the Mosaic law. We obey righteousness because we are under the law of Christ, not as incorrectly claimed by some that we are under the law of Moses.
In the book of Romans the apostle Paul had to defend against the charge that to be without the law of Moses was a license to sin.
Rom. 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Because Paul taught that one is saved by grace through faith rather than law keeping his enemies accused him of teaching that a Christian had a free license to sin. Paul gave the death blow to that argument in verse 1 of Romans 6. He went on to say:
Rom. 6:15 “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
Can God’s Word get any clearer that we are not under law but under grace (verse 15)? And can God’s Word get any clearer that because were are under grace and not the law that this is not a license for free sinning? True Christians do not practice sin because they follow the law of love which comes from the heart. Notice Paul says in verse 17 “but ye have obeyed from the heart”. Those who claim to be saved and continue living a life full of sin are false professors and their actions prove that they are still servants of sin rather than a servants of righteousness just as the above verses declare. Those who are truly saved obey from the heart out of love for God and mankind. As a result their righteousness far exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees who were trying to be righteous by the deeds of the law.
Mat 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Those who insist that Christians are under the law of Moses apparently do not understand what a great burden this is. In Acts 15 the apostle Peter is speaking against the law keepers and had this to say about the law of Moses.
This is what the law keepers said:
Acts 15:5 “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.”
And here is what Peter said:
Acts 15:10 “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Peter says that the law of Moses was an unbearable burden that neither they or their fathers were able to bear. If the apostles themselves could not bear the law of Moses what chance do we have? Peter said that those who taught that Christian have to keep the law of Moses were tempting God, a very serious sin. Those who teach that Christians have to keep the law of Moses are siding with the Pharisees of verse 6 and those who temp God (verse 10) and those who subvert souls (verse 24):
Acts 15:23 “And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment:”
Notice that verse 24 for says it was the troublemakers who taught that Christians must keep the law of Moses and that the apostles themselves never gave such a commandment. Now lets look at the contrast in what the Lord Jesus Christ had to offer in Matthew 11.
Matt. 11:28 “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”
What the Lord is offering in Matthew 11 is just opposite of what the Bible says about the law of Moses in Acts 15. What the Lord offers is rest for the soul, an easy yoke and a light burden. What the law of Moses offered according to Acts 15 was an unbearable burden that was impossible to bear. Therefore they cannot be talking about the same thing. Jesus also said this about His commandments in 1 John 5.
1Jo 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
If Jesus was talking about the law of Moses here then we would have a major contradiction with Acts 15 which says that the law of Moses was an unbearable burden. Yet this verse goes right along with the words of our Lord in Matthew 11:28-30. The only possibility then is that the commandments that Jesus is talking about in 1 John are not the commandments of the Mosaic law but of a different law. If we look at the context of 1 John it is very easy to see what commandments the Lord is referring to in 1 John 5:3.
1Jo 2:3 “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”
Notice verse 5 talking about the love of God being perfected in a believer and in verse 10 the emphasis on loving a brother.
1Jo 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
`In verse 23 the Lord spells out exactly what His commandments are, “That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” There is nothing even remotely suggesting that He is talking about the law Moses in these verses, rather the emphasis is on the law of love.
I am often surprised by so-called “law keepers” lack of understanding of the book of Hebrews. To rightly understand the book of Hebrews one must see that it is a comparison of the Old Covenant (which is the law of Moses starting with the Ten Commandments) with the New Covenant. One of the key words to pay attention to in Hebrews is the word “better” which is used numerous times in reference of the New Covenant being better than the Old. The book of Hebrews deals with many of the errors which “law keepers” so often teach. One common error of the law keepers is that they believe that a person is drawn closer to God in their attempts at keeping the law of Moses. Yet, what they fail to realize in their foolish zeal of the law of Moses, is that the law of Moses never had the power to make a person right with God.
Heb 7:18 “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
Verse 18 is talking about the Old Covenant being annulled. The Greek word used for disannulling means:
From G114; cancellation (literally or figuratively): - disannulling, put away.
It is interesting that God’s Word says that the Old Covenant has been canceled, put away, yet “law keepers” continue to act as if it is still in effect, in other words not canceled or put away. Who is right, God who cannot lie, or the “law keepers” who not only can lie but be deceived as well? If God says the Old Covenant is cancelled then it is cancelled regardless of what any man may say. “Law keepers” think that their feeble attempt at keeping the law of Moses will draw them closer, and make them more pleasing, to God. Yet, verse 18 claims that the law could not make anything perfect, nor could it draw them closer to God. That is why the New Covenant which is referred to as “the bringing in of a better hope” was made. The New Covenant was made in the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is by that precious blood that we are drawn closer to God, not the law of Moses.
Hebrews 8 says that the Old Covenant is obsolete and vanishing away.
Heb 8:13 “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
The Greek word for old means obsolete or worn out. Hebrews 10 goes on with this thought.
Heb 10:7 “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
Here Jesus takes away the first (Old) Covenant that He may establish the Second (New). According to Hebrews the Old Covenant has been cancelled made obsolete and replaced by the New Covenant. Yet “law keepers” would have you believe that the Old Covenant (which is the law of Moses starting with the Ten Commandments) is still in effect. If this is true then it has not been cancelled, made obsolete or replaced by the New Covenant as the book of Hebrews declare. Again, who is telling the truth, God who cannot lie, or the “law keepers” who can?
2 Cor. 3:6 “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious. 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, [which] put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [vail] is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3 is talking specifically about the Ten Commandments (verses 7,13) in comparison to the New Covenant. Paul says in verse 3 that they are ministers of the New Covenant (New Testament) which is not of the letter (Ten Commandments), but of the Spirit. The Ten Commandments are not part of the gospel, the gospel and the Ten Commandments are opposed to each other so that they cannot be mixed. The Ten Commandments brought forth death and condemnation while the gospel of the New Covenant brought forth life and a clear conscience before God.
Notice verse 7 refers to the Ten Commandments as a ministry of death, not one of life, and verse nine says the Ten Commandments were a ministry of condemnation, not one that would clear a guilty conscience. I am amazed that some people insist upon putting themselves and others under a ministry of death and condemnation. Why would anyone who is sane want to be under a covenant that could only condemn and kill them in the first place? Are they under a false delusion that a ministry of death and condemnation is able to bring them life and a clear conscience before God? No wonder the apostles, elders and brethren of Jerusalem said it was the subverters of souls who taught that Christians are to keep the law of Moses (Acts 15:24).
Verse 11 clearly teaches that the Ten Commandments are done away with and that the New Covenant is what remains. The so-called law keepers cannot explain verse 11. Verse 11 says that the Ten Commandments are done away with and the so-called law keepers say it is not. Who’s lying, the so-called law keepers, or God? I will give a little hint it’s not God. Verse 13 declares that the Ten Commandments are abolished, how can a Christian be subject to something that is abolished and no longer in force? The reason some people insist that the Ten Commandments are in force today is explained in this chapter as well. It’s because they are blind by a vail upon their heart in their understanding of the Old Testament (verse 15). In other words they don’t even understand the purpose of the Old Covenant and like the unbelieving Jews they think that their righteousness is by the deeds of the law (Rom.9:30-33). This vail will only be removed when they repent by turning their hearts away from the ministry of death and condemnation to the cross of Jesus Christ where they will find life and a clear conscience before God.
Like the self righteous Pharisees of old, today’s subverters of souls think that they are serving God when they teach their false gospel of works based salvation. Like the Pharisees of old, they lead souls to hell rather than heaven.
Matt. 23:13 “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
Strong words from our beloved Lord Himself. Those who teach that Christians must keep the law of Moses are enemies of the cross and wether they realize it or not they help promote Satan’s deadliest work of blinding mens eyes to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 Cor. 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Many who teach that the Law of Moses is still enforce use a the following few verses as proof. The number one objection that I hear most often is Matthew 5:17-19. Let’s take a closer look at this verse and see if it can be used to support the idea that the Mosaic Law is still enforce today.
Mat 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Verse 17 is very straight forward and declares that Jesus purpose in coming here to earth was to fulfil the Law. If this was His purpose in coming then we know for sure He completed His task before going back to heaven. Jesus even said that He completed the work the Father sent Him to do (John 4:34, 17:4). On the cross Jesus cried out “It is finished”.
The so-called law keepers say that verse 18 teaches that heaven and earth will pass away before even the smallest change takes place in the law. Yet, that is not what verse 18 is teaching. Verse 18 is teaching that heaven and earth will pass away before one jot or one tittle is changed in the law “TILL ALL BE FULFILLED”. When was all fulfilled? The answer is obvious, at the Cross of Christ Jesus. Now that Jesus fulfilled the law it could be changed. We see this fact in Hebrews 7:
Heb 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
Notice, if one jot or one tittle cannot be changed till heaven and earth pass, then Hebrews 7:12 cannot be true. Not only that, but Hebrews 7:12 is far greater than just a jot or tittle being changed, it’s a major overhaul of the Mosaic Law. If the way many apply Matt. 5:17-19 in support of the Mosaic Law is true then it would it contradict the clear teaching in 2 Cor 3:11 about the Ten Commandments being done away with and abolished and many other verses as well. If Matt. 5 teaches what the so-called law keepers claim then 2 Cor. 3 is a major contradiction. Yet, if Matt 5 teaches that the Mosaic Law could be changed after “ALL BE FULFILLED” then there is no contradiction with 2 Cor 3 and many other verses, instead you have complete harmony the way Scripture should be.
When Jesus spoke the words of verse 19 He was still under the Old Covenant even though man placed the gospels under the heading of the New Testament. The Old Covenant was in force until the death of Jesus. After the Cross the New Covenant started. Hebrews teaches this.
Heb 9:16 “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
So when Jesus uttered these words the Old Covenant was in fact in force, therefore if anyone at that time would teach that one should break the Sabbath or any other commandments they would have violated verse 19. After the cross a New Covenant with better promises was made, the Old Covenant passed.
Another verse often cited is Romans 3:31 which says:
Rom 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Rom. 3:20-31 in context is talking about establishing righteousness. These verses teach that righteousness could not be established by the deeds of the law but by the law of faith Rom. 3:21,22,28. By believing on the Lord Jesus Christ one becomes righteous, by trying to be righteous by the law one becomes condemned. Prefect law keeping would establish that one was righteous, the problem was that there were none righteous by the deeds of the law. The Lord Jesus is righteous and therefore was able to keep the law perfectly. What we could not do He could and did. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ His righteousness is imputed to us through faith. This is how through the law of faith one establishes the law of righteousness. Those who sought to establish righteousness by the deeds of the law failed, those who sought to establish righteousness by faith in Jesus succeeded. Romans 3:31 in context teaches that true righteousness is through faith in Jesus Christ not by efforts at law keeping. It does not teach that Christians are to keep the law of Moses.
Many use 1 Timothy 1:8 to support their position that the Law of Moses is still in force.
1Ti 1:8 “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;”
We need to be careful when we study the Scripture. Many times a person reads into a verse something that it does not say. I believe that to be the case with many when reading this verse. Notice it does not say that the Law of Moses is still in force. What it does say is that the law is good if it is used lawfully. So what would be the lawful use of the Mosaic law today? To use it the way God intended it to be used. As mentioned earlier in this article the Law was given ONLY to the children of ISRAEL from the time of Moses to the cross of Jesus. Therefore the only ones that this law could be applied to were the ones God gave it to and not to any others. An unlawful use would be to apply the Mosaic Law to those who it was not given to. Many times the apostles had to deal with those who insisted that Christian are under the Law of Moses. Every time the apostles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit said no! In fact, they said it was the “subverters of souls” who taught this and that they never commanded such a thing (Acts 15:24). The books of Romans, Galatians, Hebrews and many other Scripture verses teach that it is unlawful to teach that believers are under the Law of Moses. When we look at the context of 1 Timothy 1:8 we see that Paul is once again correcting the so-called law keepers rather than supporting their cause.
1Ti 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
Notice verse 5 says “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” Paul is clearly speaking about the New Covenant commandment here. The command to believe on the Lord Jesus and to love one another (1John 3:23). Scripture clearly teaches that the only way one can have a pure heart and a clear conscience is to have them washed in the blood of Jesus by faith, not by keeping the Law of Moses.
Paul goes on to say some have erred on this point and turned aside to vain (worthless) jangling. Desiring to teach the law which they do not even understand. He then says one can use the law if one uses it lawfully and then states that the law was not made for a righteous man but for the unrighteous. The problem the apostles faced over and over were these so-called law keepers teaching that the law was for the righteous man and that believers were to keep the law of Moses. Paul says this is an unlawful use of the law.
If they would teach that no one could become righteous by the law of Moses and that God proved it by giving it to a chosen and privileged people (Israelites from Moses to the cross). Therefore what hope would those far from God (gentiles without the law) have of keeping the law of Moses if those near could not do it. That the law did not have the power to give life or clear one’s conscience but only to condemn and kill, and that the way to life and a clear conscience before God was only through the blood of Jesus. Then they would be using the law lawfully. Yet, these so-called law keepers went about teaching that the law was for a righteous man and that by keeping the law you pleased God and established righteousness before Him which was an unlawful use of the law which Paul condemns.
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