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1. Introduction

This lesson will see why the law, also called the Old Covenant, no longer applies to believers today.
The Mosaic Covenant is another term.

We will find that Jesus fulfilled the law through two commandments and brought in a New Covenant, making the Old Covenant obsolete.

In The Old Covenant, we saw that law added sin to our account, judges and condemns us, empowers sin to kill us, brings a curse on us, and produces self-righteousness. We also looked at the three types of law.


2. The Law no Longer Leads us to Christ because Faith has Come

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

People have used this scripture to say we need to follow the law. Others say we must convict people of how sinful they are by using the law in our evangelism.

Yet the next verse tells us that faith has come through Jesus; therefore, the law is no longer our tutor!

But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Galatians 3:25


3. Jesus Died to Fulfil the Law and Bring in the New Covenant

Once we realise that the law, along with sin, died in Jesus, we find that the main reason Jesus died was to bring in a New Covenant that guarantees forgiveness of sin. For more detail, please look at Covenantal Atonement.

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

Hebrews 9:15-17

Jesus being the testator of the New Covenant is such a powerful statement that I often use in my evangelism. In most cultures, the parents make a legal document to pass an inheritance onto the children. That inheritance only comes into effect once the parents are dead. It is the same with the New Covenant – it came into being once Jesus died.


4. The Law has Been Annulled

A. Annulled

Paul makes it clear that the law is no longer active, saying:

For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Hebrews 7:18-19

The Greek word for annulled is ἀθέτησις athetēsis; cancellation, put away.


B. Law is Unprofitable

When something is unprofitable, that means there is nothing to be gained by following it. People think they need to obey God by observing the Sabbath or going to Israel to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles. They believe that if they do these things, it will please God. Paul makes it plain there is zero profit. So, for example, quoting Zechariah, they think they will stop famine and drought in their land by going to Israel. Yet neither Peter nor Paul nor any of the other apostles went to Jerusalem to prevent the famine of 45-54CE.


C. Law is Weak

If we focus on something weak, then we will become more vulnerable. The word here means weak, infirm, and impotent. Note the last word impotent – which means unable to reproduce. Today, many churches wonder why they do not regularly see new converts being effectively disciples. Lack of growth is because they encourage people to follow something that will not reproduce with the life of God. The law does not have resurrection life upon it!


5. The Law is Nailed to the Cross

The law no longer applies to us because it was nailed to the cross

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:14

Let us look at this more closely:

A. Wiped out means obliterated! ἐξαλείφω exaleiphō; to smear out, i.e. obliterate
B. Handwriting means the legal documents. χειρόγραφον cheirographon; something hand-written (“chirograph”), i.e. a manuscript especially, a legal document
C. Requirements mean the law, the deed, the decree. δόγμα dogma; a law, decree, ordinance
D. Contrary means our adversary. ὑπεναντίος hypenantios; contrary to, i.e. opposed or (as a noun) an opponent: — adversary, against

 

The law which was our adversary, that was against us, has been obliterated, along with all its decrees, legal documents and deeds, by being nailed to the cross! The law is now out of our way because it is dead.

Since the law is dead, then the law no longer applies to us.


6. The Law is Now Obsolete Because There is a New Covenant.

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:13

It vanished 5-7 years later when Titus destroyed the temple, and the priesthood could make no further sacrifices.


7. The Old Covenant was Also Faulty – and so the Law No Longer Applies.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Hebrews 8:7

It was faulty because man could not keep it, and therefore become holy and blameless as God desired in Ephesians 1:4-5.


just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:4-5


8. Christ Fulfils the Law


A. Fulfil not Destroy

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Matthew 5:17

Some say that the law still applies, and therefore, we need to follow the law. But they fail to read on.


B. If we Follow the Law, we Must Follow it All

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Matthew 5:18

If we take this literally, we need to follow EVERY part of the law as this verse says. We must follow all moral, ceremonial or civil/judiciary rules!


C. Breaking the Law Does Not Stop Entrance into the Kingdom of God.


Also, note that Jesus said whoever breaks the law will be least IN the kingdom of heaven? However, he will still be in the kingdom of God.

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

D. Time Caveat for Obeying the Law

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Matthew 5:18

Notice also that it says, “TILL all is fulfilled”. So when was it fulfilled? Jesus fulfilled the law when He nailed it to the cross, and the New Covenant came into effect. The New Covenant continues until Jesus returns. Jesus uses New Covenant terminology in His teaching on how He will fulfil the law with this:


9. How the Law was Fulfilled – Love! Therefore the Law No Longer Applies

Paul makes it very clear that love fulfils the law.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14

And again in Romans:

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

A. God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16

B. It was out of God’s Love that He Planned to Create you.

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:4-5

therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 

Romans 13:10

Because love is the fulfilment, the law no longer applies.


10. Jesus Summarised the Fulfilment of the Law.

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31


Once God comes inside of us, love comes inside of us. The law no longer benefits us because if we try and obey the law, as we found out in Old Covenant, this brings a curse. So we love God and love people. As John says:

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:9-11


11. You Are Now Dead to the Law and Free from It, therefore the Law no Longer Applies

We cannot continue in the Old Covenant and enter the New Covenant without committing spiritual adultery!

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Romans 7:1-3

We cannot continue in the Old Covenant and enter the New Covenant without committing spiritual adultery!


12. Based on What Jesus Said About the Two Commandments, we should Obey The New Covenant Rather than the Old

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34

The New Covenant came with New Commandments. When it comes to loving your neighbour as yourself, keep it simple; in everything we do, do it as if it was to ourselves. If we do this, we will fulfil the law.


13. Jesus Teaches us How Impossible it is to Obey the Law by our Own Ability:

A. Murder.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus talks to those under the Old Covenant because we have seen He does not judge those under the New Covenant. Notice that the requirements are even more complicated than the original law!


B. Adultery.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:27

Here, Jesus again lifts the standard of another of the Ten Commandments. Like the last one, He moves it from the act to the heart. As Apostle Paul says, we cannot obey the law by our ability. There is only one way to do it: becoming a new creation or being born-again by believing and confessing that Jesus is Lord. He then gives you a new heart.

 

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

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