Which law was abolished at the Cross?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Some sincere Christians believe that the law of God was abolished at the Cross. And they base their belief on 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). Let’s allow the Bible to clarify.

Two Laws – God’s Law and Moses Law

The Bible presents two distinct laws. These are: the moral law of the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial Law of Moses contained in ordinances. And this is shown clearly in the following verses:

“So He(God) declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess” (Deuteronomy 4:13,14).

“and I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers—only if they are careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them” (2 Kings 21:8).

“Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him” (Daniel 9:11).

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).
Stands 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 Abolished at the Cross

Moses’ law was the temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. It regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, feasts, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc., all of which foreshadowed and ended at the cross. This law was added “till the seed should come,” and that seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16, 19). The rituals and sacrifices of Moses’ law pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice. When He died, this law came to an end.

There were seven yearly holy days 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 weekly seventh-day Sabbath. These yearly sabbath feasts along with all the temple ceremonies foreshadowed or pointed to the cross and ended at the cross. That’s why when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn pointing the end of the sacrificial offerings (Matthew 27:51).

God’s Law Stands Forever

God’s Moral law has existed at least as long as sin has existed. The Bible says, “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin]” (Romans 4:15). And according to the Bible, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

The Mosaic law was against us (Colossians 2:14). However, there was nothing in the Ten-Commandment law that could be defined as “contrary” to us. It was not “against” the early Christians to refrain from adultery, theft, lying, keeping the seventh day Sabbath, murder, coveting, etc. On the contrary, the moral law provided protection for the keepers.

Canceling 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(s) fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8).

The apostle Paul confirms that God’s Moral Law is still in effect: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7); “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law?” (Romans 3:31).

Divine Grace for Obedience

Christ came to this earth to honor the law (Isaiah 42:21) and to illustrate by His life of perfect obedience that believers can, through the strengthening grace of the Father, give obedience to His law. Through divine grace and power, the believer can be “saved to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25), be “more than conqueror” (Romans 8:37) and “always triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14). If Satan can make people sin, God can without any doubt make people not sin. Paul affirmed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

The purpose of law is to convict of sin (Romans 3: 20) and to show the great standard of righteousness. But it has no power to save the sinner. The law then leads the sinner to Christ for cleansing (Galatians 3:24). Then, faith and love will 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). The Holy Spirit will transform the believer’s life “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).

Justification by faith shows God’s high respect for His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith cancels the law, then there was no need for the sacrificial death of the Savior to free the guilty sinner from his sins, and thus give him reconciliation with God. True faith means having a willingness to fulfill the will of God in obedience to His law (Romans 3:28). It is based on real love for the Redeemer, which leads to obedience. The fact that Christ endured such suffering because of our transgression of God’s law is one of the strongest motives for obedience.

The secret of victory over sin lies in the believer’s daily connection to God through study of His word and prayer. But if he cut his connection with the Lord, he loses the supply of grace. Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit…” (John 15:5). If we abide in Christ, we can declare triumphantly, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

For more on this topic, check the following link: What was abolished by Christ?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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