Some sincere Christians believe that the whole law was abolished 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 do the verses in Ephesians and Colossians point?
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., 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 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. 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.
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).
In His service,
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