What place does “The Law” have in the Church today?
There are great disturbances in our society today around the displaying of the 10 Commandments in public places. Many irreligious people say that they are offended by those displays of the 10 Commandments because they advocate religious beliefs… Hmmm, do they really… or … do they represent a standard of morality that the irreligious do not want to be reminded of??? Who knows for sure, many unbelievers are as moral – even more moral sometimes – than some professed believers… so who knows… not that we can religiously live up to the standard of morality represented in the 10 Commandments either.
BUT… what about the Church, the community of faithful born again believers? Do we need to maintain our lives by the 10 Commandments and the Law of Moses so we can be accepted by a Holy God???
Is that even possible???
Let’s consider a few scriptures for a moment… What does the “New Covenant” or New Testament say about this subject?
Jesus said in Matt. …
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:17-20 NASU
How is that possible?
Remember that the gospels’ teachings are part of the Old Covenant/Testament, until Jesus resurrection as the Christ/Messiah/Savior of all sinners. Remember that His shed blood was the sign and source of a New Covenant (Covenant of Grace) which fulfills and therefore replaces the Old Covenant (Covenant of Law) making it obsolete.
Heb 8:6-13 NASU
6 But now He [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He [Christ] is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says,
“Behold, days are coming, says the lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not continue in my covenant, and I did not care for them, says the lord. 10 “for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their god, and they shall be my people. 11 “and they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘know the lord,’
For all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them.
12 “for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
God did all of this after Jesus was resurrected when He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell believers…
We should also remember, in a discussion like this, that the law was never able to save, make one righteous or pure or to do away with sins… it was given to show people that they are sinners and that they needed God’s intervention of grace in their lives, and so they can seek Him – by graces work – to be redeemed and returned to the life God created us to live out… holy, innocent, and righteous in God our Fathers family.
Rom 3:21-31 NASU
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation [Jesus has become our place of salvation/ mercy seat] in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
The Law can, in no way do away with our sin, nor can it change us from being sinners – only Christ can do this through the New Covenant…
Neither the 10 commandments nor the Law of Moses can save us or change us in any way…
Gal 2:16 NASU
“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Rom 5:18-21 NASU
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase [in definition]; but where sin increased [in definition], grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When a person dies she/he is no longer subject to the Law – he/she is dead…
Rom 6:1-15 AMP
1 WHAT SHALL we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow? [people say that if we preach grace Christians will go on sinning]
2 Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?
3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. [if we are born again – we have died to sin in Christ]
5 For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God]. [if we are dead – in Christ – because of believing in Him, we are alive – in Christ – because we have believed in Him]
6 We know that our old (unrenewed) [sin nature] self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. [if we are in Christ through faith by His grace – sin no longer has power over us… in fact we have all power over sin]
7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.
10 For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].
11 Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.
13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].
15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God’s favor and mercy? Certainly not!
As born again ‘sons of God’ we have a new will set free from the power of our old sin nature and empowered by The Holy Spirit to resist temptation to sin and to choose to live our lives after the pattern Jesus lived by while on earth…AND we have been given all authority over all the power of the devil!!!
2 Cor 5:14-20 AMP
14 For the love of Christ controls [constrains, compels] and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One [Christ] died for all, then all died;
15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.
16 Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh].
17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) [through salvation] he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! [to be a “new creation” is to live life turned toward the God whose grace has reclaimed us in Christ.]
18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].
19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
If God has reconciled us to Himself and no longer holds sin against the world – then we are free in Christ – by His grace…
Eph 4:20-25 AMP
20 But you did not so learn Christ! [He is our template for living]
21 Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],
22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],
24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.
Rom 12:1-2 AMP
1 I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
2 Cor 10:3-5 AMP
3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
We have the new nature, authority over sin and the devil, and the indwelling Holy Spirit so we can live our new life. BUT we must make the decision to do just that and we must do it according to the Truth and by the enabling power and direction of the Holy Spirit.