Law and the New Covenant

Let’s clear up our terminology, and understand Paul’s famous and oft-quoted statement in context of the New Testament.

There is still Law.

Everyone knows Romans 6:14 and Galatians 3:25 and 5:18.

But what about all of this?!?!?

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“…through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

“the sinful mind…does not submit to God’s law.” Romans 8:7

“…law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no trangression.” Romans 4:15
–but there is sin/transgression so law must exist
–wrath is coming (Col 3:6; 1 Thess 2:16)

“…the perfect law that gives freedom…” James 1:25; 2:12

“if you keep the royal law found in scripture (OT), love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing right.” James 2:8

“Everyone who sins breaks the law.” 1 John 3:4

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; Jeremiah 31

Since God and Jesus are still reigning, there is still law.

Since there is still right and wrong, there is still law.

Yes, we are under Grace.  No, we are not under the Law of Moses.

But guess what Christians, you can’t get rid of Law so easy.


10 thoughts on “Law and the New Covenant

  1. Then you throw in how many times Paul appeals to “the Law” to strengthen his case, and it makes you wonder… what would Paul think of those who try to argue that the Law was nailed to the cross?

  2. In my opinion; Old Testament laws, were rules that brought death.
    New Testament laws, are rules that bring life.

    That is the difference between the first Adam, and the second Adam.

  3. Brian you mentioned, women and the law. lets examine one of the most controversial misunderstandings of what Paul said about women and the law.

    1Cor:14:34: Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

    Sounds here like Paul said it was against the law for women to speak in churches. Not what he said at all. Paul said it was against the law for women to be disobedient.
    If the man made rules were not such that women were to remain silent, it wouldn’t be against the law at all for them to speak in church. If you look back to the old law obedience was the law, not speaking in church. the same law remains to day, if the church leaders have no rule against women speaking in church, it is not against any law of God. Who is in the wrong here.

  4. James

    Sorry I am jumping in this conversation and feel like I missed something [maby the last year]. I will say the law is used in all the ways you used it in your post and is not a simple thing. My main thought in response is to say the issue is spirit. When Paul discusses teh qualities / fruit the Spirit produces, he observes there is no law against these. If we live controled by the Spirit we have no need to worry about the law.imho

    I will try to check in more regularly.

  5. Seems to me Paul says people are not and have never been justified by the Law, regardless of what Jewish tradition said. We’ve interpreted that to mean we don’t need the Law. Pauls’ point is that we don’t need it for justification as that is impossible, no flesh will be justified by the deeds of the Law. We are justified by Christ and now we have become the fulfillment of the righteousness of the Law. We take a beautiful point and twist it into “I can do whatever I want.”

  6. Yes, the Epistles did say all those things, but they did not teach law. This is where many preachers get caught up and contributes to many people turning from the church. Paul and Peter taught grace. They used law to convict the heart and then used grace to fill it. By teaching law, we end up with people (notice I did not say Christians) who are trying to earn their way to Heaven by following law, not Christ and him crucified

  7. Brian

    I was just trying to make a distinction between the Law of Moses (which is usually the only thing that pops up when we hear the word) and law in generally.

    Law, even Mosaic, isn’t as dirty and evil as we talk about it.

    If how many talk and refer to it were true, we would be making a fool out of David (Psalm 119) and making Paul/Scriptures a liar.

    Laymond, I like the distinction you make, laws that bring death, laws that bring life.

    It is also unfair to judge/discredit the Law of Moses for not accomplishing what God never intended for it to accomplish–justification/salvation. It served its purpose.

    “The Law is holy, the commandment is holy, righteous and good” Romans 7:12
    “Is the Law sin? Certainly not!” Romans 7:7
    “The Law is spiritual” Romans 7:14
    Paul delighted in God’s law in his inner being. Romans 7:22
    No one was justified by it. Galatians 3:11
    Wasn’t able to save/justify man
    It served its purpose:
    –Make us conscious of sin—Romans 3:20
    –Lead us to Christ—Galatians 3:23-25

  8. In 1 Cor. 9:19-23, it’s clear that Paul the Christian no longer considers himself to be “under the law.” Although he can be like one under the law of the Jewish Scriptures, he himself is not under such law. Which is not to say that he is somehow lawless. Knowing that his first disclaimer might be misunderstood, he adds that he certainly is under divine rule. Indeed he is “under Christ’s law.”

    It must have come as a shock when Paul’s fellow Jews understood that he no longer considered himself subject to Mosaic law. When asked why, he no doubt would have used the language of Philippians 3. Although Paul could easily confide in his adherence to Mosaic law—”as for legalistic righteousness, faultless”—he was eager to renounce all of that for “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ” (see Phil. 3:1-11). Again, not that there was anything wrong with keeping the Law. But there was something wrong with assuming that the mark of circumcision, and the observance of sabbath ordinances and dietary laws were not only important but even essential for the people of God in Christ.

  9. Pingback: A Thought About Grace « The Blog Prophet

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