The Sabbath Issue

Chapter 3: The Law of Moses and the Cross

*The clear and consistent claim of the New Testament is that: The Old Covenant and Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative by the death of Christ and has been superseded by a New and Better Covenant in Christ. At the Cross, the whole Old Covenant of Moses was annulled and replaced by the New Covenant. Therefore the associated Law of Moses has been superseded by the superior Law of Christ, and so it has no authority over any person any more, and certainly not believers under the New Covenant. 

Let us now consider some key Passages that establish this point:

*Passage 1. Romans 7:1-6: “Do you not know, brothers, for I am speaking to men who know the Law, that the Law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So my brothers, you also died to the Law through the body (death) of 

Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.... But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the Law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” 

According to this passage, even a Jewish believer, who had been married to the Law is now released from it through the death of Christ. Using the analogy of marriage, he points out that you can only enter into another new covenant with a new husband if you are first released from the old covenant with the old husband, but you can only be released from the covenant by a death. Thus someone married to the Law under the Old-Covenant can only be married to the Messiah under the New Covenant, if they are first released from their Old Covenant Marriage to the Law. But this is only possible if there is a death. But the Law did not die. Instead, when we received Christ, we were put in Christ and were identified with His death and resurrection. We (our old man) died with Christ, and we also rose with Christ as a born-again new-creation in Christ. Thus through Christ’s death, we died and so were released from the old Law (we died to the Law), so that our new man risen from the dead with Christ could be married to the risen Christ through a New Covenant. Thus we have been released from the Old-Covenant 

and Law through the death of Christ in order that we might enter 
into the New Covenant through the resurrection of Christ. 

This passage is clear that we have been ‘released (set free) from the Law’ and discharged from it. It no longer has any authority over us, because we are no longer married to it. “You died to the Law, that you might belong to another(Christ).” You are either married to the Law (through the Old Covenant) or to the Messiah (through the New Covenant), but you cannot be married to both. There are two serious warnings implicit here. (1) You cannot be married to two husbands, and (2) you cannot submit to two men as if they are both your husband (you cannot serve two masters). You will end up being disloyal to your true husband (adultery). (1) If you have always trusted in (the works of) the Law for salvation, then you can’t be in Christ, for you were never released from the old husband. (2) If you were born again though trusting in Christ alone, but then went back under the Law (your old husband), then you are being disloyal to your true (new) husband, Jesus Christ, and are committing spiritual adultery. If you desire to go back to (submitting to) your old husband, the Law, then you are being unfaithful to Jesus and your Covenant with Him. No wonder Paul said to the Galatians who had gone back under the Law of Moses after being under the grace of Christ: “O ye foolish Galatians” (3:1).
*Passage 2. Romans 10:4: “Christ is the END (‘TELOS’ = the termination, cessation or goal) 
of the Law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” 

This confirms that the Law has been rendered inoperative in Christ. He is both the goal and the TERMINATION (END) of the Law. Thayer defines ‘telos’ as: ‘termination, temporal end.’ This is the primary meaning of the word. The context of Romans (7:1-6) confirms this interpretation. Thus Christ has brought the Law to an end through His death on the Cross. The Law of Moses has been brought to an end in Christ, and has been made inoperative for us as a means of justification (Galatians 2:16), or sanctification (Hebrews 7:19), or even as a rule of life, especially for the believer. 

Therefore there can be no justification through the Law: “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Of course this was always the truth due to the weakness of our flesh. Nor is there any sanctification or perfection through the Law: “for the Law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope (the New Covenant)through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19). 

*Passage 3. Galatians 3:15-19. 
The Law was a temporary addition to the Abrahamic Covenant. 

Galatians 3:15-18: “Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the Law, which was 430 years later, cannot annul the Covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the Law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” 

The Law was never meant to be a permanent administration, but only temporary until Christ comes to bring in a New Covenant: 

Galatians 3:19: “What purpose then does the Law serve? 
It was added because of transgressions, UNTIL the Seed 
(the Messiah) should come to whom the promise was made.” 

The purpose of the Law was to reveal sin and prepare for the Messiah. Now that He (Christ) has come, the Law is finished at the Cross. We have now moved from Shadow to the Substance, from the Old (temporary) Covenant to the New (everlasting) Covenant. 

*Passage 4. Hebrews 7:11-18 says there is now a new Priesthood (after the order of Melchizedek, instead of the order of Aaron). Now, under the Law of Moses only the Aaronic Priesthood was permitted, no other priesthood is valid. The Law of Moses was the basis for the Aaronic Priesthood and the two are inseparably connected. There is only one Priesthood (the Aaronic Priesthood) permitted under the Law: “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the Law” (v11,12). 

As long as the Law of Moses is in effect, no other priesthood is valid: “For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the Law of a fleshly commandment (the Old Covenant), but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek ” (v13-17).

So a new Priesthood requires a New Covenant and a New Law to operate under. Therefore the Old Covenant has to be rendered inoperative, so that now there could be a new Priesthood under Christ. The Mosaic Law was annulled, so that a new and better Covenant could be brought in, so that now there could be a new and eternal Priesthood under Christ: “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” (v18,19). 

The Law was disannulled at the Cross, so that Christ could become a Priest after the order of Melchizedek in His Resurrection (v28), “according to the power of an endless life” (v16). This agrees with the Old Testament prophecy of a new Priesthood based on a New Covenant (Psalm 110:4), which confirms this new Priesthood originated with God’s decree at the Resurrection (Psalm 110:1).

Home

Books

About Us

Events

Teachings

Bible Commentary

Media

Shop

Donate

Contact

Print

OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
OX2 7PL
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Print

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK
OX3 7QH