March 18, 2018
In this issue: Did Jesus Take Away All Law? by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.
In taking away the Law, did Jesus take away all law?
We are hearing a lot lately about how we, living under the dispensation of Christ, are under grace and not under law. The implication being that Jesus died to free us from law – period – not merely the Mosaic law.
Much is made of the fact that, in many translations and manuscripts, the article, the, is not present. Hence the new dispensation is said to be one of grace without rules to be obeyed. It is alleged that our freedom in Christ is freedom for all law – any system containing commandments or rules to be observed.
Also, much is made of Romans 6:14-15, where about all translations say that we are not “under law but under grace.” The King James Version pretty much stands alone in saying not “under the law.” According to various scholars, there are a few places where the King James and maybe some others go with “the law” where “the” is not present in the original. Granting that to be the case, the contexts, both immediate and broader, bear out that the writer had “the law” (of Moses) in mind.
The without law concept destroys both grace and law for this dispensation. Note the following:
Sin is, by biblical definition, transgression of law (or lawlessness). (1 John 3:4) – so, where there is no law, there is no sin (Romans 4:15).
So, if we are not under law (of any kind), then we have no sin.
Grace is God’s answer to sin (See Romans 5:14-6:2) – thus, with no sin we have no need for grace.
Hence, we have a dispensation with neither law nor any need for grace.
Let us reference a few other passages that show the New Testament is law of some kind:
Hebrews 10:9 – Jesus came in order take away the first will in order to establish the second. The first will was “the law” (of Moses) according to verse 8. The Old Testament was God’s first will or law, while the New Testament is His second will (or law). His “will” is His law. If I do the will of God I am doing His law.
Hebrews 7:12-14 – With ushering in of the New Testament there was a change of “the law.” You see, God is such a stickler for law, that not even His Son could be high priest without a change of law. The first law provided for only Levites being priests. But Jesus was of Judah; a tribe of which the first law said nothing concerning priesthood. So there was of necessity a change of the law so that Jesus could be a lawful (legal) high priest.
Note the text does not merely say there was a necessity for removing the law, but a change of the law. A law changed is still law. In fact, the whole book of Hebrews is given to convince Jews that the law or covenant had been changed. Whether you view the two systems (Old and New) to be laws, covenants, or wills there are still “rules” to obey. As parties to each covenant there were the terms of the covenant that had to be adhered to. The first covenant had its rules to be obeyed. It was “the law.” The second covenant also has its rules to obey. The first covenant was the old law. The second covenant was the second law. It is God’s law changed. If I change clothes, I am still wearing clothes. There has been a change of clothes, not a mere shedding of clothes.
The New Testament speaks of the law under Christ in various ways. It speaks of the “law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2); “the law of faith” (Romans 3:27); “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2); “law of liberty (James 1:25; 2:12); “the law of God” (Romans 8:7); “under the law to Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21).
Do not be deceived. By the grace of God, we are under law to Christ that, according to James, tells us to look into that law in view of continuing in it and doing the works taught therein – and with the view of being judged by it at the end of our journey here on earth. ~
Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.