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Many Christians are confused as to what the word “Law” stands for. The rich young ruler came to Christ and asked him “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Jesus answered, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, which? Jesus said Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, and Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:16-19). Here Jesus pointed to the Moral Law of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) as the Law by which we are going to be measured. James echoed the same thing in James 2:10–12.
Obedience to the law in itself does not save anyone “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20). Obedience is only the evidence of God’s work in the heart. Christians don’t obey the law to be saved but because they are saved. Obedience to the law becomes the fruit of love. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15; Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13). We need to remember that obedience is achieved only by the grace of God (Philippians 4:13).
There are two laws: God’s Moral Law and the Mosaic Law
Some sincere Christians believe that the whole law came to an end at the Cross. They refer to the following verses:
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” Ephesians 2:15; “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16, 17).
However, abolishing the moral law is not possible because Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 5:17, 18); “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17); this is because God’s Moral Law “stand fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8).
Then, to which law the verses in Ephesians and Colossians point? They point to the Mosaic Law.
There are two primary laws given in Scripture: the moral law of the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial Law of Moses contained in ordinances.
|Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22).|
|Called “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15).|
|Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12).|
|Placed outside the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).|
|Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15).|
|Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19).|
|Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14).|
|Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16).|
|Carnal (Hebrews 7:16).|
|Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).|
|Called Ten Commandments-”the royal law” (James 2:8).|
|Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).|
|Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).|
|Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).|
|Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20).|
|Not grievous (1 John 5:3).|
|Judges all people (James 2:10-12).|
|Spiritual (Romans 7:14).|
|Perfect (Psalms 19:7).|
Moses’ law was the temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. It regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, feasts, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc. There were seven yearly holy days, or holidays, in ancient Israel which were also called sabbaths. These were in addition to, or “beside the Sabbaths of the Lord” (Leviticus 23:38), or the seventh-day Sabbath. This law was added “till the seed should come,” and that seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16, 19). When Jesus died these ceremonies and sabbath feasts that foreshadowed or pointed to the cross, ended at the cross.
God’s Moral law God’s Seventh-Day Sabbath was made before sin entered, and therefore could foreshadow nothing about deliverance from sin. The Seventh Day Sabbath was instituted at Creation (Genesis 2: 3). There were no Jews at creation. We know sin by the Moral law for “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). The moral law provids protection for the keepers (Romans 7:12). Therefore, God’s moral law should be kept “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law?” (Romans 3:31).
In His service,