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New Testament Writers and God's Law

 

 


          Is the Law of God abolished?  This is a question that rarely comes up anymore, nonetheless, it is still an important question to answer.  The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that God's Law is still in full force and effect today, just as it was since the beginning of creation.  In fact, the Apostles routinely endorsed practicing God's Law as a way of life.  The Apostle Paul is most often quoted as one who taught that the Law of God is abolished.  However, this is simply not true.  Paul wrote the majority of the book of Romans endorsing God's Law as worthy to be followed, but for some reason people use his writings to abolish the law.  The truth is, each of the writers of the New Testament are proponents of following the law.  Consider the following:


The Apostle Paul endorsed God's Law:
 
* Paul starts his epistle to the Romans by stating, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom. 2:13).
 
* After Paul finished a summary on faith and salvation through grace, he said "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31).
 
* Paul later speaks of the laws place regarding sin and concludes that "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12).
 


The Apostle James endorsed God's Law:
 
* James calls God's law "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25, 2:12).
 
* James said to "fulfill the royal law, ... ye do well" (James 2:8).


The Apostle Peter endorsed God's Law:
 
* The High Priest asked the Apostles concerning their "doctrine" (law) and Peter's response was "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)
 
* Peter quotes Leviticus to demonstrate how our conduct should be.  Peter says "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Pet. 1:15-16)  This is a quote from Leviticus.  This verse in Leviticus says we are holy because we practice God's dietary laws.
 
* Lev. 11:44: "For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy."
 
* Lev. 11:2, 46: "These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth . . . . This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth."
 
Either Peter was misquoting Leviticus or he was taking it completely out of context.  Leviticus 11 is the dietary laws of the Mosaic Law.  If Peter is quoting Leviticus correctly and not out of context, he is saying one way for us to be holy is to follow God's dietary laws.
 
* In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter says "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."  What most people don't realize is that this is a quote from God's law.  Just look at the following verses:
 
* We are chosen:  "the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deut. 7:6).
 
* We are a priesthood:  "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex. 19:6).
 
* We are a holy nation:  "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex. 19:6).
 
* We are a peculiar people:  "then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people" (Ex. 19:5) . . . "and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself" (Deut. 14:2) . . . "And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people" (Deut. 26:18).
 
Again, was Peter misquoting the scripture, or are we a "chosen" people, a royal "priesthood", a "holy nation", and a "peculiar people" because we practice God's law?  You can be sure of one thing, if you practice God's law instead of man's law, you will be "peculiar."  Those who practice the Feast of Tabernacles instead of Christmas sure are peculiar.  Those who practice the Passover instead of Easter sure are peculiar.  The more you practice of God's law, the more peculiar you will become.


The Apostle John endorsed God's Law:
 
* John said that "we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (1 John 2:3)
 
* John calls us a liar if we say we "know him, and keepeth not his commandments." (1 John 2:4)
 
* John concludes this statement by saying "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."  (1 John 3:6)  Didn't Jesus "fulfill" the law and walk accordingly?
 
* John also gives us the biblical definition of sin; "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."  (1 John 3:4)  If transgressing God's law is sin, should we continue in sin (break God's law) after we have been forgiven?
 
* John states later that "whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."  (1 John 3:22)  What is pleasing in God's sight?  The "keeping of His commandments."
 
* He concludes his epistle by telling us what love is; "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, 2 John 6)

         It is quite clear that the New Testament writers support following God's law.  Each of them stated so clearly.  From the smallest books like first and second John to the larger books like Romans and Hebrews.  The evidence is clear.  The question then is, did the Messiah endorse following God's law?  Without a doubt He did, consider the following:
 
* The Messiah clearly taught and advocated practicing God's law.  In Matthew 5:17 He stated that He did not "come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
 
* The Messiah was so emphatic about the above statement that he said "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."  (Matthew 5:18)  If there is an earth beneath your feet, and a sky above you, God's law is still in effect.
 
* As if this was not enough, the Messiah added that even the "least commandments" were still in effect.  In Matthew 5:20 He states "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."
 
* In fact, the Old Testament clearly taught that the Messiah "will magnify the law, and make it honourable." (Is. 42:21)
          It is clear that the New Testament writers and Jesus endorsed the law of God.  They quoted it over 400 times and they directly stated the need to follow it.  The question then is, why do so many believe that the law has been abolished?  Is this unwarranted, or is there a reason to think so?  I readily admit that there are some verses that might sound like God has removed His law, but is this true?  Perhaps there is another way to look at these verses.
          Most of the verses sighted to say that God's law has been abolished are written by the Apostle Paul, but is it possible that Paul wrote about difficult matters that are hard to understand?  In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter, speaking of Pauls epistles, mentions that  "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."  Peter apparently was aware that some use Paul's writings to "wrest" (
strebloō - to pervert) the scripture.  These people are "unlearned" and "unstable" and they pervert the scripture to "their own destruction."   This begs the question, who are the "unlearned" and "unstable?"
          To answer this question it will help to understand Paul's background.  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, in today's vernacular, a prosecuting attorney.  The High Priest sent him out to "persecute" (or prosecute) the church (Acts 9:1-2).  He understood God's law far better than most.  It is this understanding that made his epistles "hard to be understood."  I propose that in order to propely understand Paul's writtings you must first have an understanding of God's law.  I can personally attest to this.  Since 2008 I have been on a mission to understand the Mosaic Law.  I have gone through every statute, judgement, and commandment and organized them by category.  Simply doing this has given me a different understanding of the majority of the New Testament and all of the difficult passages that sound like God's law is done away with.  Many times Paul is talking about a specific law in the Old Testament that we are not familiar with, and because we are "unlearned" in God's law, which makes us "unstable," we "wrest the scriptures, to [our] own destruction."  For more on this please read my articles concerning passages incorrectly cited to refute God's law (links below).

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 7 - (Are We Dead to the Law?)

 

Romans 14 - (Holy Days/Dietary laws)

 

1 Timothy 4 - (Dietary laws)

 

Hebrews 7-10 - (The Levitical Priesthood)

 

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

 

The Tabernacle and the Sacrificial System - (What is it for?)

 

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