A Question I Was Asked:

I See Nothing in the Bible to Tell Me I Should Stop Keeping the Law

I believe that I should still keep the law, that it is not overturned in Christ. My salvation does not depend on the law, only on Christ Jesus because He loves me. I am saved by grace through my faith in Jesus. The law was made to bring us to Christ not to salvation because salvation is only in Christ. But where in the Bible does it say that we no longer need the law? Only the ceremonial laws are gone, in my opinion. We must still hold to the law!

UK Apologetics Reply:

Hmm. Okay. First of all I would never say that one should not keep 'the law,' but what law is meant? Here we go:

Christians now serve under the law of Christ, the various laws of the old covenant now have no claim on us. Read the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) !

That the old law, as a code of several points, is now discontinued is backed up by many Scriptures (Scriptures which you infer do not exist). How about the following?

Matthew 5:21-48; John 1:17; Romans 7:6; Romans 8:1-2; Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3 (entire chapter); Galatians 2:16: Galatians 3:13, 23-25,28-29; Galatians 5:3,14; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 1:1-2; Hebrews 7:12; Hebrews 8:13.

The idea that just the sacrificial and ceremonial laws are fulfilled in Christ cannot be backed up by any Scriptures. Theologians may have sometimes separated these laws for purposes of deeper study, the Bible does not. Therefore, if you still want to stand under the law, you should be keeping the 7th day sabbath, sacrificing animals and performing everything in Leviticus, right down to the details. Oh - just one other complication - certain laws which you want to "keep" cannot even be kept without a currently-functioning and God-sanctioned temple (something which modern Judaism conveniently forgets). God allowed this temple to be destroyed by the Romans in AD70 as an indicator that the old covenant had become obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).

The concept that we should try to live under both the Old and New Covenants (continuous covenantism) is a heresy. Would any seek to minimize Christ's sacrifice in such a way?

Regarding the Ten Commandments, the principles behind most of those still stand, but it does not stand as a code of just ten points because the law of Christ goes far beyond. That code stood as a cornerstone of the old covenant, today we look to the spiritual principles as outlined in the sermon on the mount. If you accept Christ but want to turn to the old law, you become a heretic. I'm sorry but as far as I can see that is the New Testament teaching and it is not good for you that I should mince my words. The Ten Commandments were glorious, but for the servant of Christ just ten points can never be sufficient. We should just remind ourselves that the Phariees kept those laws perfectly!! If they were able to keep them perfectly does that not tell us they were imperfect and insufficient?

"We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

"But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:15-21).

Then, in Galatians 3 we have the following:

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because "the righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, "The person who does these things will live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:10-14).

But now notice the vital ending of this chapter:

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3: 23-29).

PLEASE NOTE: the 'guardian' there is the law, Paul states that we are "no longer under a guardian." Could he be any clearer? And finally, look at what Paul tells us in Colossians:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15).

This last quote could be said to be especially revealing because Paul is now addressing non-Jews! So the "legal indebtedness" nailed to the cross refers to our guilt under the commandments and the spiritual law. Obviously this cannot possibly refer to 'ceremonial and sacrificial laws' which only had significance for the Jewish people! So the legal system 'nailed to the cross' was far greater. Indeed, Paul here uses the expression, 'powers and authorities' to refer to the old covenant quite plainly. Christ "disarmed" that system on the cross!

And that's it! That is all I can say on this topic. I feel that 'your heart is in the right place' but you may have become confused by certain legalists. Be wary of what some have called 'Galatianism,' this is the attitude of accepting Christ but then turning back towards the law. Paul the Apostle makes some very strong comments about those who did that in Galatians, even declaring such people 'anathema from Christ' (as rendered in the KJV, Galatians 1:9).

Robin A. Brace. May 8th, 2015.