Did Paul abolish the Ten Commandments?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Paul and the Ten Commandments

Some claim that Paul abolished the Ten Commandments and they base their claim on the following verse: “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24, 25). Did Jesus abolish the law or the ten commandments in the gospels and was Paul echoing that in his epistles?

In Galatians 3, Paul figuratively described the children of God who lived before the first advent of Christ as: being “under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father” (Galatians 4:2). “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (verse 4).

Some have interpreted the phrase “under a tutor” to mean being “under the condemnation of law.” But that is not what Paul was saying. For it is not the function of a “tutor” to condemn but to guard and protect (verse 24). Paul, in Galatians 3, was only against gaining righteousness by keeping the law instead of by faith (verses 1–3, 7, 11, 14, 21; etc.).

The Apostle Endorsed the Keeping of the Law

Paul affirmed the need to keep God’s law for he said, “…for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefor, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

The apostle also asserted, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). The apostle asserted that law and viewed it as a revelation of the divine will of God and of the lasting principles of morality. For it is fully vindicated and established by the gospel of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus magnified the law of God in His life (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17) and He revealed by His life of perfect obedience that believers can, through the grace of God, render obedience to His law. Justification by faith shows God’s regard for His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith abolishes law, then there was no need for the sacrificial death of the Son of God to free the sinner from his sins, and thus give him peace with God.

The plan of righteousness by faith puts the law in its proper place. The function of law is to convict of sin (Romans 3: 20) and to show the great standard of righteousness. The sinner who is faced with the law sees not only his sin; he sees also his lack of good qualities. The law thus leads him to Christ for cleansing (Galatians 3:24). Then, faith and love bring forth a new obedience to the law of God, the obedience that springs from faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26), the obedience of love (Romans 13:8, 10).

It is difficult to understand how anyone can conclude that Paul in Galatians 3:24, 25 the abolition of the Ten Commandments, God’s great moral law. So long as the new hearts and minds of the children of God last, the divine moral law, in living characters, will be written upon them. Jesus declared, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 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” (Matthew 5:17,18).

After Christ’s Death, What Happened to All the Laws?

The ceremonial laws of Moses ceased for Christ’s sacrifice took the place of animal sacrifices, and thus the laws governing such sacrifices ended at the cross (Colossians 2:14-17; Ephesians 2:15). https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/89-what-was-abolished-by-christ/

Regarding the civil statutes, they lost their significance when the Romans overcame Israel in 70 AD. At that time, spiritual Israel (the church) took the place of literal Israel and was governed by the civil laws of the other nations that the Christians fled to. And regarding the health laws, they remain in effect today for the body of the Jew is no different than the body of the Gentile. https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/186-good-health/

Regarding the moral law (Ten Commandments), it is to be written on the heart of man (Hebrews 10:16). Believers that are “justified by faith” in Christ become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) with the law of God written in their minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10). And, thus, “the righteousness [or requirements] of the law” is “fulfilled” in them (Romans 8:4).

See: Why was the law given at Sinai?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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