Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People
Hi Muana, the key to answering this question is understanding if the specific law given was a part of God’s perpetual laws which are to be kept forever, or if it was a part of the old covenant which was made with Israel.
For example, far before the nation of Israel existed, or even the old covenant, we see God made the Sabbath Day Holy and set it aside as a day of rest (Genesis 2:2-3). We see it described and recorded for Israel in more detail later on in Exodus 20:8-11, but it existed as part of God’s perpetual law far before that, and is therefore a law we still keep today.
An example of a law given to Israel that is no longer necessary to keep would be animal sacrifices. One specific type of animal sacrifice for sin is described in Leviticus 4. Under the new covenant, animal sacrifices are no longer necessary, since Christ’s blood took the place of all sin offerings once and for all (Hebrews 10:8-10).
For more information, we recommend downloading or requesting a free copy of our Bible study aide “The New Covenant: Does it Abolish God’s Law?” at https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law
Hi Will! In Romans, Paul goes into a thorough examination of sin, the law, grace and justification. He mentions repeatedly the need for the law to define for us what sin is (Romans 3:20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:7). He calls the law good (7:12,22) and talks about our need to be ‘doers’, or obey, the law (2:13). He talks about the need to stop sinning (6:1-2) and about his own desire to obey the law (7:15-16).
Paul also explains that we are justified through the blood of Jesus (2:25, 5:9) and that no matter how well we keep the law, the law cannot justify us (2:28, 3:20, 5:1). So what’s the deal? Do we need to obey the law, including the Sabbath, as outlined in the Ten Commandments, or are we justified by Christ?
The answer is both. While keeping the law cannot save us, we keep the law because we have been saved. Paul says plainly in Romans 3:31 that we don’t void the law through faith, rather we establish the law. In Romans 6:15, he says plainly we don’t have an excuse to sin, just because we are under grace. Instead, he points out in verses 16-19, that because we have been made righteous, we strive to obey God’s law.
Hi Delores, yes, we can be forgiven from any sin, no matter how great or small! Of course, there are two key things to consider when it comes to being forgiven from our sins. First, we must ask God for forgiveness and be truly repentant of our sin. This repentance must lead to a real change of heart, and be reflected in how we think and live (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). For example, someone who was once a thief can’t just say they are sorry, and go back to being a thief again (Ephesians 4:28). If we acknowledge our sins, yet refuse to make genuine effort to give them up, then we may indeed face God’s wrath (Hebrews 10:26-31). Secondly, while the wages of any sin would be death without the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 6:23), the physical consequences here and now in breaking one of the commandments may vary. For example, stealing a candy bar from a store is a sin that would only carry a small punishment, likely involving repaying the store for the candy bar. Murdering someone carries a much more severe penalty. While spiritually speaking God is willing to forgive in either case, the legal system of a nation would not be.