Table of Contents
The Law of Christ
The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Galatia wrote: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The Law of Christ is summed in the His words: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Does the Law of Christ Replace the Ten Commandments?
No. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17) hang from the Law of Christ, which is a reflection of His Holy character. For love to God makes keeping the first four commandments (man’s duty to God) a pleasure, and love toward our neighbor makes keeping the last six (man’s duty to man) a joy. Love fulfills God’s moral law by taking away the labor of mere obedience and by making law-keeping a joy (Psalm 40:8). When we love a person, fulfilling his requests becomes a joy.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). It is impossible to love the Lord and not keep His Ten commandments, because the Bible says, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The apostle John adds, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Thus, “the law of Christ” is the essense of the Ten Commandments, for when we live out those laws, we truly love both God and man.
Is it Possible to Fulfill the Law of Christ?
The grace of Christ alone gives people the ability to fulfill the Law of Christ in their lives (1 Corinthians 15:57). Man can not obey the Law of Christ on his own (John 15:51). The Son of God came to this earth to magnify His Father’s law (Isaiah 42:21) and to illustrate by His life of perfect obedience that the believer can, through the enabling grace of God, give obedience to His law (Romans 8:4).
Some claim that Jesus came to abolish the law but He 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). The apostle Paul taught the same truth, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
The plan of justification by faith shows God’s view of His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith cancels law, then there was no need for the sacrificing death of Christ to free the sinner from his sins, and thus restore him to peace with God.
Christ asks for the perfection of His children. He said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect“ (Matthew 5:48). The perfect life of Christ in His humanity is God’s guarantee to Christians that by His power they too may have perfection of character.
Paul affirmed this reality when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). In Christ, there is power to fulfill duty, strength to resist temptation, and patience to face hardships. In Him, there is grace for continual growth, courage to fight all battles, and energy for loving ministry.
In His service,