First we would like to caution our readers. This topic is very difficult to understand and we encourage you to prayerfully read this and study the scriptures to see all of the light it holds. The topic of God’s law is one of the most misunderstood topics of the New Testament. The reason for this, is that the Apostle Paul in his many letters was trying to explain this very difficult concept to the Gentiles, and much of what he has said, has been taken out of context and used in bits and pieces rather than as a whole, to form various false doctrines. We encourage you to study in detail all of the writings of Paul and consider them as a whole, not in part. The Apostle Peter warned that a twisting of the scriptures would happen, as these things from Paul are “hard to be understood”.
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” ~ 2 Peter 3:13-16
In looking at the Old Testament, Abraham by faith obeyed God’s law, his commandments, his statutes etc. Abraham was not in the condition of “under the law” as you will see in the verse below that “sin is not imputed when there is no law”, but he was a sinner. His obedience to God wasn’t due to a situation where the law was held over him, nor was he forced to obey with the threat of punishment, rather Abraham obeyed God because he had faith and trust in the Creator and he loved God. For this reason he was given the promise from God, “by faith.”
“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” ~ Romans 5:13 (The law came with Moses, Abraham was not under the law)
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” ~ Genesis 26:4-5
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” ~ Romans 4:18-22
Four hundred and thirty years later came Moses, the man that would free the Israelites from slavery. At this time, the Israelites, though chosen by God due to the promise that He made with Abraham, were no longer obeying all of God’s commandments and statutes. Moses came to reinstate and re-teach God’s requirements to Abraham’s seed, these slaves of Egypt. In their flight from Egypt, they passed through the Red Sea that was parted by God, and the pillar of cloud, which represented according to Apostle Paul their baptism into the “Old Covenant” of God. They also received the instruction/spiritual meat and drink in the commandments which were given……by Christ!
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Once they reached the other side of the Red Sea, God through Jesus (the word) began to teach Moses His law and requirements. This all culminated at Mount Sinai, where Moses ascended up the mountain to receive the law and the tables of stone containing the ten commandments that would be placed in the “ark of the covenant.” At this point, the Old Testament Israelites became “married to the law” according to Apostle Paul. You can see in this verse that the New Covenant requires us to become dead to the law, and married to Jesus. (Note: “Dead to the law” does not mean that the law has passed away and is no longer required. Please consider this entire article, and all of Paul’s writings to understand this concept- our salvation is no longer by the obedience to the law because it is law, but rather our salvation is by obedience to the law in faith towards Jesus Christ, For this reason we are no longer married to the law, but we are married to Christ.)
“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” ~ Romans 7:3-4
Though the Israelites under the Old Covenant were married to the law of God, they were unfaithful. They constantly disobeyed the covenant, and God’s laws and ways were not found in their hearts. When examining the Old Covenant, the entire purpose of the law of God was to lead the people to one thing……LOVE. Love for their neighbor and love for God. The penalty for disobeying the law (also known as sin) was death. There was forgiveness offered under the Old Covenant also through the sacrificial system of Moses. In the end, the marriage to the law did not lead men to love God, or love their neighbor, but rather men ended up having a “heart of stone”, bound to man-made traditions and all kinds of added man-made laws. They failed to realize the true purpose of God’s law….LOVE.
“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;” ~ Romans 9:30-32
You can see here, that the gentile who obeys God, by faith in God and his promises, have attained righteousness by faith. You can also see that Israel did not seek to obey the law because of faith in God, rather they sought to obey the law because it was the law. This is a stark difference in approach and you can see that because of this cold attitude of the heart, not only did love never come into their hearts, but many also were never made righteous before God. During this time of the Old Covenant, the prophets had prophesied of a Messiah that would come one day to heal and save the nation of Israel. As we know, Jesus came, and we find in the New Testament that they didn’t recognize him at the time. When Jesus came onto the scene, he spoke with authority. He obeyed all of the laws of God, but did not obey the traditions of the elders as they were not a part of God’s law. We know from the scriptures that He fulfilled the requirements of God living free from sin (disobedience to God’s law).
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:” ~ 1 Peter 2:21-22
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” ~ Hebrews 4:15
During His ministry, Jesus lived “under the law”, which at the time carried the penalty of death for the transgressor, yet he broke no law of God. Regardless, he was put to death as an innocent man who is revealed to us today as the Son of God. His blood was offered up to God as the final sacrifice for sin under the Old Covenant sacrificial system, and Jesus initiated the New Covenant between God and man. This New Covenant was prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament, and confirmed by Paul in Hebrews 8. Under the New Covenant, we are reborn through baptism just as the ancient Israelites were reborn when they crossed the Red Sea and passed through the pillar of cloud. We become dead to sin, and rise out of the water to life in the spirit with God’s law written into our hearts. We are changed, and our condition becomes “under grace”, rather than “under the law.” According to Paul, we now obey God by faith just as Abraham did! Because he loved God and believed in God and His promises, Abraham obeyed- rather than obeying God merely because the law said that he should obey. When walking in the spirit, we obey God because we have received a true love for God, and a true love for our neighbor which allows us to fulfill the law of God by faith. By obedience through faith, Abraham received the promise of God, and by obedience through faith today we can receive eternal life through Jesus Christ our Messiah.
According to Apostle Paul, we are now married to Jesus and we are no longer married to the law. Our husband, Jesus, leads the family of God, and revealed to us His wishes. Jesus brought the message of love plain and clear and revealed to us that when we love God and our neighbor, we by second nature obey God’s law, also known as the schoolmaster. For this reason, he presented not a change in the law, not a passing away of the law, but rather a higher standard of the law of Moses that is expected of the body of Christ:
“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:” ~ Matthew 5:21-22
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” ~ Matthew 5:27-28
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” ~ Matthew 5:40-44
You can see the high standard that Jesus presented to the brethren. We only mention here a tiny piece of His many teachings. This standard can only become possible, when one truly walks in the spirit with God’s law written into their heart. You can also see that Jesus did not destroy the law, nor did He teach that it had passed away. On the contrary, he explained an even higher standard that we, through Him and the Holy Spirit, would walk in the law and according to its precepts. How does one get to this point of obedience to the law of God from the heart to the level that Jesus described? Is this possible? For those chosen by God, we know from scripture that yes it is possible when walking in the Holy Spirit through faith. The law was given as a teacher or schoolmaster:
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” ~ Galatians 3:24
Jesus again taught us the faith of Abraham, who obeyed God not because he had to, but because he loved the Father and believed. The Israelites had forgotten this. The core difference between the Old and New Covenants is not the law, rather it is the motivation behind one’s obedience to the law. Under the Old Covenant they followed the “letter” of the law because it was law. Under the New Covenant we follow the same law, but now we obey because of faith in God and Jesus Christ, faith in the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom, and love for God and our neighbor.
Many of us have been to a math class I’m sure. I’m confident in saying that we all learned that 1+1=2. This is a principle and precept that can be used in trillions of different situations in life. Having graduated from high school, the precept that 1+1=2 still remains true, and man will continue to apply this basic and simple precept daily. Once we learned this precept, we can apply it to many situations, as it is a “law of addition.” Whether one believes that 1+1=2 or they don’t, 1+1 will always equal 2. The law of God, in this same regard is our schoolmaster. We learned the basic precepts of his law through Abraham and Moses. These precepts have never changed, whether we believe them or we don’t. In addition, these precepts can be applied in advanced ways to trillions of situations in life, and these laws continue to remain constant. When one believes in God, has faith in him and believes in the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ, they first take this teaching that was given to us in the “school of the law”, they become baptised, through the spirit it is written into their hearts, and it is applied to life in a way that can only occur when the actual Spirit of God is living within the soul. This is the high standard that Jesus taught that is required of those that follow him. The laws of idolatry, the law of the Sabbath, the laws to honor parents, the laws forbidding killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and coveting, along with the statutes, ordinances etc of the Old Testament, all remain law. These are the basics, and they are constant. What a high standard Jesus has called us to. He has called His chosen to a high and holy standard of living in the spirit in a complete state of love for God and love for man, reflected in obedience through faith in the Creator to God’s commandments to the best of our ability, all while we are at war with our flesh. According to Paul, the war with our flesh is a constant battle, yet we are commanded to “walk in the spirit”, the Holy Spirit that was placed within us. Jesus’, the “Word Made Flesh”, gave us the perfect example of obedience to God through love, and was our final teacher/schoolmaster revealing to us how it is possible to obey God when love truly reigns within us and we maintain faith in the promises of God.
“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” ~ Matthew 23:8-10
The doctrines today that proclaim that the law has changed or has passed away are dangerous. It would be the same to suggest that 1+1=5. The result of this kind of reasoning is complete confusion, and can be seen in the hundreds of different denominations/divisions in Christianity today. One could reason that 1+1=3, another could say “no, 1+1=4.” Those that really seek truth, will always come to the conclusion that 1+1=2. Why? Because it is the truth, and the only truth. The bible, the law and their precepts remain constant. We pray that all Christians today simply stop, and seek truth. For scriptural evidence that explains why God’s law remains until the end of the world, please visit the “Why Follow The Commandments” page of this website. The precepts of the law have been made known to the entire world, the final teacher (Jesus) has brought the law to an even higher standard through love, and in the end those that are “doers of the law” shall be justified:
“Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” ~ Romans 2:9-16
Remember though, we are not justified by works of the law alone, rather we are justified by obedience to God’s law because of faith in Jesus Christ our Messiah, because of love for God and neighbor, and because of faith in the promises of God that will one day give us the inheritance of eternal life with the Father and Son. Today those that have repented of their disobedience to God’s law and have become baptised enjoy the condition of being “under grace”, where through Christ we have been pardoned of our sin and are expected to now walk in obedience to the law of God in the spirit from the heart to the best of our human ability, all because we love God and have faith in His promises (just as Abraham did). This is GOOD NEWS and a wonderful gift that has been given to us! We encourage you to study and meditate on these things. We are called to repent of our disobedience to God’s law, find forgiveness in Christ, become baptized and walk in the spirit under grace and free from sin to the best of our ability. We continue to pray that all of mankind will learn the precepts of God’s law, learn the warnings of the prophets, learn the teachings of the Messiah and repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand!
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” ~ Hebrews 10:26-29
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at: but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” ~ Acts 17:30