1. The law in the Old Testament
...and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. -Psalms 111:7-8
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord...... You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. -Psalm
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. - Psalms 119:160
He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous. -Ezekiel 18:9
Throughout the OT, there are tons of such references made to the "law". It is declared as 'eternal' and keeping the law is equated with righteousness.
The Israelites were expected to worship God and keep the law, also referred to as 'commandments' and 'precepts'.
2. The law and Jesus
Jesus, as a baby, was consecrated to God according to the law. Jesus explicitly spoke in support of the law... condemning those who broke the law and
instructing others to keep the law. Of course, Jesus did not teach people to follow the law for the sake of following the law... like the self
righteous Pharisees did. Instead he emphasized on higher qualities such as mercy and also applied discretion. Nonetheless, he maintained that the law
was to remain.
a. Jesus criticized the keepers of the law regarding their breaking of the rather harsh commandment to kill those who cursed their
“And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses
their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say ....Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition." - Matthew
b. Jesus also instructed his followers to do as the teachers of the law say...
Jesus' reason was because they occupied the seat of
Moses, who brought the law to the Israelites. BUT he warned them not to do as they do
because they were hypocrites who did not practice what
they preach. Jesus did not oppose their positions as teachers of the law, but only questioned their hypocrisy.
c. Jesus said he wasn't here to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfill it...
meaning he was operating within the framework of
the Israelite religion. Jesus was not here to dispose off the Old Testament law.
d. Jesus declared that the law would remain until heaven and earth pass away...
so the law should have been a part of Christian belief system
e. Jesus said that those who ignore even the least commandment would be the least in the kingdom of heaven.
3. Christianity's abandonment of the law
Despite all these statements in the OT and the gospels regarding the importance of the law, Christians believe that the law has been done away with or
that they are somehow exempt from keeping it. This belief is derived by interpreting Jesus' words on the cross, "it is finished".... to mean Jesus
fulfilled the law and so therefore there was no more need of keeping the law. Or maybe its something else... but whatever the reason is, the
Biblical narrative shows that Jesus made a case FOR the law and never said anything to imply that the law would be done with upon his crucifixion...
not when he was alive nor when he appeared after his crucifixion. In fact, the disciples were still discussing the law in Acts.
4. Pauls teachings against the law
Without a doubt, Pauls writings against the law have played a major role in Christianity's dismissal of the law.
-In Galatians 2:16, he claims a person is not justified by the works of the law, thereby contradicting all previous associations between the law and
-In Romans 10:4, he claims the law culminated with Jesus, despite the fact that Jesus never claimed so.
-In Colossians 2:14 he seems to imply the law was nailed to the cross. However, (a) there is not a single prophecy which states that the law was to
be terminated after Jesus' crucifixion. (b) Jesus never mentioned any thing about the law coming to an end upon his crucifixion. In other words, Paul
was teaching ideas that did not come from the mouth of Jesus.
6. So what is the deal between the law and Christianity?
God and Jesus said the law was to remain. On no occasion did God or Jesus ever promulgate the idea that the law would be done away with at a future
time. So therefore Christianity's idea that the law was done away with comes from a source other than God and Jesus.
Perhaps Christianity's abandonment of the law was a direct result of Paul's teachings taking precedence over the direct words of God and Jesus on the
law... or maybe its because Christianity itself evolved into something that Jesus would not have approved of. The fact remains that Jesus never said
anything to imply that the law was done away with.
edit on 29-3-2013 by sk0rpi0n because: (no reason given)