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Is The Law of God Abolished?

 

 

          Did the Messiah abolish God's laws when He died on the cross?  This is a common teaching in the church today, but is it true?  God must have had a reason for giving us His law, but what was it?  To answer these questions we need to turn to the scripture.  After all, the, "scripture is [not] of any private interpretation" (2 Pet. 1:20).  We need to understand the place of God's law from His perspective and not ours.  First, let us look at a warning from the Messiah Himself.  In Matthew chapter 24 the Messiah is warning His disciples concerning the last days.  He warns them of "false prophets" who will "deceive many."  In Matt. 24:11 the Messiah states, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."  In the last days there will be false prophets that will preach deception.  The question to ask is, what is this deception?  He answers this in the very next verse.  In Matt. 24:12 He states, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."  The word "iniquity" is the Greek word anomia which literaly means, "illegality, that is, violation of law" (Strong's Concordance - G458).  The Messiah warns us to beware of false prophets (false preachers) who deceive many.  The result of their deception is lawlessness.  Isn't this exactly what today's church preaches?  It seems the number one doctrine taught in churches today is that we are "under grace" and not "under law."  Their understanding of not being "under the law" is that we no longer need to practie God's law, but is this the correct understanding?  Perhaps we should be aware of the Messiah's warning and, "Prove (test) all things; [and] hold fast that which is good" (2 Thess. 5:21).  The intent of this article is to identify the purpose of God's law and determine if it is still in force today. 

          It is commonly stated that the New Testatament (Covenant) has removed God's law and replaced it with grace.  However, this is simply not true.  One of the first times the New Covenant is mentioned in the scripture is in Jeremiah 31:31-34.  Here God tells us that He plans to make a "new covenant" with the house of Israel where He will, "put [His] law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts."  This does not say He will get rid of His law, but will put His law in our hearts.  It is the same law, not a different law.  In Isaiah 42:21, God said the Messiah will "magnify the law, and make it honourable."  These two prophesies seem to support a New Covenant with a Messiah that endorses God's law, not abolishes it.  When this Messiah finally came, did the Messiah say He was getting rid of the Law?  On the contrary, He directly stated the opposite.  In Matt. 5:17-18 the Messiah stated, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  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."  This verse alone should be enough to demonstrate that the Law of God is still in force today.  If you are standing on the earth and there is a sky above you, God's law is still here.  Unfortunately, this verse is not enough to convince everyone.

 

What did the Apostle Paul say?

 

          The Apostles also said much concerning the Law of God.  Many espouse the Apostle Paul as saying the law is abolished, but this could not be further from the truth.  In Rom. 3:31 the Apostle Paul asks, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."  Faith does not get rid of the law, it establishes it.  The Greek word for establish is histēmi which literally means "to stand . . . abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set up, stanch, stand by, forth, still, up" (Strong's Concordance - G2476).  This clearly shows Paul's position on God's law.  His position is that God's law still "stands."  He also stated later in Rom. 7:12 that, "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."  Comments like these make it hard to say that the Law of God is abolished.  To further understand the Apostle Paul's position on the law we need to first understand what sin is.  In 1 John 3:4, the Apostle John defines sin by stating that, "sin is the transgression of the law."  With this definition of sin, let us read Rom. 6:1-2; "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin [breaking God's law], that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin [breaking God's law], live any longer therein?"  Many in the church today say we are allowed to break God's law, but sin is still wrong.  How can this make sense if we use the Apostle's definition of sin.  This is like saying "we are allowed to break God's law, but we are not allowed to break God's law."  Paul also reminds his readers to "walk in the spirit" multiple times (Rom. 8:1, Rom. 8:4, 2 Cor. 12:18, Gal. 5:16, Gal. 5:25).  The question I have is, what does "walk in the spirit" mean?  God explains to us what walking in the spirit means in Eze. 36:27 when He said; "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."  To walk in God's Spirit means to "walk in [His] statutes" and to "keep [His] judgments, and do them."  It is clear that Paul supports God's law.

 

Do we practice all or just the 10?

 

           Many in the church today say we only have to follow the moral laws (10 Commandments) and do not have to follow the ceremonial laws.  Is this what the Messiah taught?  Remember what He said in Matt. 5:18.  He said not, "one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law."  One jot and one tittle would include every statute, judgments, and commandment in the scriptures.  To further support this He continued in Matt. 5:19 by saying, "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."  This is a great statement to demonstrate the place of God's law.  God's law does not bring salvation, but sanctification.  It defines how God wants us to act.  Those who don't practice the least commandments and teach others the same, can enter the kingdom of heaven, but will be called least in the kingdom.  Those who practice and teach the least commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  What are these "least commandments?"  Are there least commandments within the ten commandments?  Is thou shalt not steal or murder a least commandment?  I propose that the least commandments are the ones mentioned least in the scriptures such as the prohibition against wearing mixed fabric (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 22:11) or the writing of the ten commandments on your gates and doors (Deut. 6:9, Deut. 11:20).  These seem like simple enough laws to follow, but no one in today's church even considers following such laws.  Just because we might not know why God wants us to follow such a law does not excuse us from following it.

 

What did the Apostle John say?

 

          The Apostle John also supported the following of God's law.  In 1 John 2:3-4 the Apostle states, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."  To know the Messiah is to "keep his commandments."  The Messiah confirms this in Matt. 7:22-23 when He said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (anomia - illegality, that is, violation of law - Strong's Concordance - G458).  Those who do not know the Messiah do not practice His law.  The Apostle John also stated later in the same epistle, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  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" (1 John 3:22-24).  God will reward us with "whatsoever we ask" if we "keep his commandments."  John concluded this epistle by stating, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:2-3).  If we want to demonstrate our love for God we need to keep His commandments.  Parents can understand this.  Parents know that when their children keep the fifth commandment to "Honour thy father and thy mother" by doing as they are told, then the child is demonstrating love for their parents.  The same is true for us.  If we love God we will do what He says.

 

           The evidence is clear.  The New Testament supports the practice of God's law for today and forever.  After all, God did state that His law was "for ever" (Ex. 12:14-17, Ex. 12:24, Ex. 27:21, Ex. 28:43, Ex. 29:28, Ex. 30:21, Ex. 31:16-17, Lev. 10:15, Lev. 16:29-31, Lev. 23:21, Lev. 23:31, Lev. 24:8, Deut. 5:29, Deut. 11:1, 2 Chron. 2:4, and many, many more).  The question then is, why do so many believe that God's law has been abolished?  Where do these "false prophets" get this from?  There are some passages in the scripture that may sound like it is saying that God's law is abolished, but a careful study demonstrates otherwise.  Most of these passages are written by the Apostle Paul.  It is important to keep in mind that the Apostle Peter gave us a warning regarding the writings of the Apostle Paul.  Peter said, "And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:15-16).  Remember, Peter is not refuting the writings of Paul, but warning us to make sure we have a correct understanding.  Peter says the "unlearned and unstable pervert" the scriptures, which implies that Paul was apparently learned and stable.  We might ask, what was Paul learned and stable in?  Here is a quick resume of the Apostle Paul; he was "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Phil. 3:5-6), and educated at the "feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3).  The Apostle Paul was well educated in the Mosaic law.  He would be what we would call today a prosecuting attorney for he was sent out by the High Priest to prosecute the church (Acts 9:1-2).  We, however, have a hard time understanding his writings because we are "unlearned and unstable" in the Mosaic law.  Those who say Paul advocated the abolishment of the Mosaic law are "unlearned and unstable" in that law.  It is important for us to use the Mosaic law to properly understand Paul's writings.  In so doing we will see that he never once advocated the abolishment of God's law, but rather endorsed the proper understanding and practice of it.  Below are some links to articles explaining some of these "hard to be understood" passages, but if you would like to gain understanding, God tells us in Psalm 111:10 that "a good understanding have all they that do his commandments."  If you start doing His commandments, you just might start understanding why He told us to.

 

Colossians 2 - (Is the Law nailed to the cross or not?)

 

Ephesians 2 - (What are the ordinances that are abolished?)

 

The Book of Galatians - (Which law is Paul writing about?)

 

Romans 14 - (Holy Days/Dietary laws)

 

1 Timothy 4 - (Dietary laws)

 

Hebrews 7-10 - (The Levitical Priesthood)

 

The Sacrificial System - (What is it?)

 

2 Corinthians 3 - (What was done away with?)

 

Acts 15 - (Grace to Learn God's Law)

 

 

By Steve Siefken
 

  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth

not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV