The church of Christ teaches that God's Law was nailed to the cross and is no longer in effect. We are now under the new covenant and the old covenant is now gone. The Old Testament was for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. Is this all true? Is it all false? Is part of it true?
Most members in the church of Christ believe that there is still a law against murder and stealing. On the one hand they are taught that we must obey the law. They are also taught that the law is done away. A few like one of my Bible teachers at Harding knew that there was more than one law in the scriptures. In fact there are several. In this study I would like to show what is done away and what is not done away.
There are many scriptures that talk about the Law. In part 1 let us deal with a few verses in Matthew 5.
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
There is plenty here to chat about! First of all we really need to take seriously the very first sentence. Based on that we should be able to say that the "law and the prophets" stand today. However which law and what does it include that Christ was talking about? Since I do not see anything to denote which law I will leave it at God's Law in general. I usually think of this as God's moral law summed up in the 10 commandments. We have several examples in the scripture that validate that a law existed before Moses. The easiest to show is Genesis 26:5
"because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
We will deal more with that verse in another part of our study. The next sentence is one that is used quite often by people to turn around after the first sentence and say that Christ did not destroy the law, but that he fulfilled the law or completed it and so it is now ended. It wasn't destroyed, but just ended. The result is the same and so I suggest that teaching really does destroy the "old law". Try this for further clarification on what Christ might have really meant in the phrase, "but to fulfill".
"Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.""
In Luke 24:44 Christ explains what He fulfilled. He fulfilled all that the law and the prophets said or prophesied about Him! Now for the next sentence. I think it is obvious that heaven and earth have not passed away. So not one jot or one tittle has passed away from the law. What about the last phrase of the sentence, "till all is fulfilled"? Christ did indeed fulfill what the law and the prophets said about Him. So we no longer still look forward to that part to be fulfilled do we. What about the law and the prophets that deal with other things? This is where I think the word "all" is important. Heaven and earth have not passed away. Christ satisfies the parts of the law he came to fulfill. The rest of the law is still for us. Make sense?
Back to verse 19 of chapter 5. Anyone in the churches of Christ that promotes the idea that the law is all gone really needs to be careful. At least those who teach against it may be in the kingdom in the next age, but I don't think any of us would want to be called least in that kingdom!
In verse 20 there is one small thing that is perhaps often missed. It has to do with righteousness. How does one become righteous? Matthew 6:33 says that we should seek righteousness. Can it be done without a law? Of course we can not be saved on our own or by obedience to any law. The blood of Christ which we contact in immersion (baptism) is what cleanses our sins. Jesus Christ told us to obey though. To think that one does not need to be obedient is a mistake.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments."
Start looking through the new testament with the idea that God's law is still with us. I think you will start to see verses everywhere that support that idea. Now to finish this study I will mention which law is not with us. The sacrifices, the blood ordinances, and the Levitical priesthood are all satisfied by Christ. Those items are what were added 430 years after the promises. To keep this page short please click and read Yahweh's Perfect Law and see what you think. Try not to be hasty. Be a good Berean. There is more, much more to this. Here is the link to part 2.