The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?

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To benefit from God's wonderful plan of salvation, it is essential that we correctly understand the meaning and purpose of the New Covenant that Jesus Christ implemented.

Through special covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, God long ago began to reveal important details of His plan to produce for Himself an enduring holy people. The promised New Covenant—the basis of Christ’s gospel—is the capstone of that revelation process.

Most religious teachers say that God's commands given through Moses applied only to ancient Israel and are not for us today.

What is the nature and purpose of God's Ten Commandments?

The covenant that God made with the ancient Israelites at Mt. Sinai—to give them His special blessings and protection—was conditional on their obedience to His instruction.

God's instructions to His people and their officials are usually summarized under the three broad categories of statutes, judgments and laws.

The Sinai Covenant's total package of law, the entire five books written by Moses, was designed to cover in principle every major aspect of national life in ancient Israel.

The words righteous or righteousness in English translations of the Scriptures describe primarily personal character as demonstrated in appropriate behavior.

Many people assume that the Ten Commandments and the covenant God established with ancient Israel are identical—and that both were abolished by Jesus Christ's death.

Why did God give His law?

God planned from the beginning to transform the limited and temporary covenant He made with ancient Israel—with its abundance of symbolic sacrifices—into a far superior covenant commitment with a permanent sacrifice for sin open to all of mankind.

What was the problem with the Sinai Covenant?

God balances justice with mercy by considering what is in the heart—whether there remains any possibility of repentance.

The New Covenant unquestionably provides a better relationship with God than the relationship portrayed only symbolically in the former covenant.

The love most often spoken of in the bible is an outgoing concern for others as demonstrated by our actions and more meaningful than mere feelings.

Only by having constant access to a living, permanent High Priest is it possible for us to obey God in a manner that pleases Him.

The word grace is regularly used by some religious people as if it replaces all need to obey God's law. That conclusion is not only inaccurate, it is also diabolical!

The key to solving the problem of sin is the help we receive through Jesus Christ.

"Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation" (Galatians 6:15, NIV).

In countering the Galatian heresy, Paul sometimes refers to Christian freedom. But the freedom he describes is very different from the way his words are commonly interpreted today.

Galatians 3:10-13 is one of the most frequently misused passages in the Bible.

Some view Galatians 4:9-10 as condemning Old Testament laws.

The Bible represents Satan as the master manipulator of human nature.

Was Paul implying that the gentiles' exemption from physical circumcision also exempted them from having to obey any of the laws of God?

One common interpretation of the book of Galatians is that Paul criticized the Galatians for keeping the biblical Sabbath and Holy Days.

We need God's help, through His Spirit, to obey Him from the heart and bring our thoughts, attitudes and actions in line with His.

God is a judge who holds every human being accountable to His law is a theme repeated again and again in the Scriptures.

A comment by Paul that many lift out of context and misinterpret in Romans.

The apostle Paul applies several Old Testament passages about the Lord to Jesus Christ.

Grace is one of the most wonderful things God wants to give to us. It is far beyond just forgiveness of sin, which is extremely important and is also a gift that comes from God. Forgiveness is not something we can earn or buy or pay for in some way. It is a gift freely given by God.

Paul taught that salvation is a gift from God by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

God’s law is a reflection of God’s mind, nature and character.

The question of Jesus Christ’s relationship with and teaching on biblical law has an added dimension that’s seldom addressed or discussed—especially by those who argue that Jesus abolished, fulfilled or otherwise did away with the law. Yet this dimension is likely the most important of all, and key to understanding the importance and permanent validity of God’s law.

The apostle Paul affirms that the God the Israelites of the Old Testament knew - the One they looked to as their "Rock" of strength (see Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:2) - was the One we know as Jesus Christ.

Jesus claimed to be all that God is, and the disciples believed and taught it.

In understanding the relationship between justification and salvation, we need to realize the different senses in which these terms are used.

Words can be difficult to understand when they have been far removed from their original context. One such word is grace.

Many people point to Romans 6:14, which says, “You are not under law, but under grace,” to argue that Christians, being under grace, no longer need to obey God’s law. But is that what the verse means?

God’s law was given to mankind for humanity’s own good and benefit.

Many believe Romans 14 says that Christians are free from all former biblical restrictions regarding the meats they may eat.

Did Paul teach that the Sabbath is no different from any other day or that we are free to choose for ourselves whatever day we wish to observe?

Many people assume that Paul was dismissing any need to keep the Sabbath and other biblical Holy Days.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians is about God's marvelous plan to bring peace, unity and salvation to all peoples—Jews and gentiles alike.

Both internal and historical evidence indicates that Paul was in prison when he wrote his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians.

Almost immediately after the Roman armies destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70, intense prejudice against Jewish beliefs and customs spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire.

The inadequate and misleading translation of a passage in Colossians 2 in some Bible versions is often used to support the flawed belief that God's law was "wiped out" by Jesus Christ.

Paul explains in Colossians that God's weekly Sabbath day and sacred festivals are a shadow of things to come.

The following quote from a book by Dr. Troy Martin, professor of Religious Studies at Chicago's Saint Xavier University, on Paul's letter to the Colossians provides an effective rebuttal to the common but false argument that Paul taught Christian gentiles not to observe the sacred days that were used by the Jews.

Paul warned the Christian gentiles in Colosse against misguided human philosophy, not against the need to keep God's law.

Many people assume from Colossians 2:16-17 that Paul is saying that God's laws about the Sabbath, Holy Days and clean and unclean meats are no longer necessary.

One of the most misguided conceptions of the New Covenant is the idea that through it Jesus Christ canceled obedience to the laws contained in the Old Testament.

By the time of Jesus and Paul, some Jewish religious leaders had distorted the focus of God's law.

In many Bible versions it can be difficult to tell when a New Testament writer is quoting from the Old Testament.

The book of Acts is a key historical record of what the early Church believed and practiced.

Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, is a perfect replica of what God's law teaches. Pointing us to His character and work is the aim" of the law.

Some people believe that the early Church's decision in Acts 15 freed Christians from the need to obey the laws revealed in the Old Testament. But is this the case?

Perhaps the most widespread controversies about the teachings of Jesus concern His attitude toward the laws of God recorded in the Old Testament.

Consider for a moment the penalty that each of us brought on ourselves by sin.

The popular belief that the New Covenant abolishes God's law reflects a misunderstanding of both covenants.

Did Jesus replace God's previous commandments with just this one new commandment?

The religious authorities who accused Jesus Christ of breaking the Sabbath have been described as having a legalistic approach. But what does the term legalism mean?

Eternal life comes as a result of God's grace. It is His gift, unearned and undeserved on our part.

When God confirmed the Sinai Covenant with ancient Israel, He summarized how He wanted the people to respond.

Today's democratic system of government in Western nations is based on liberty that is both defined and guaranteed by law. Biblical freedom or liberty is no different. Without law, there can be no effective or lasting liberty.

Few people realize that the Old Covenant was essentially a marriage covenant.