Repealed by Jesus?

Many Christians view law, spiritual law, religious law, as a bad thing. The wrongheaded views...

  1. Law was abolished by Jesus
  2. 10 commandments not binding on Christians
  3. Old Testament law was only for the purpose of demonstrating to the world that law is useless
  4. No one is capable of following law
  5. Law is for the unrighteous, not the righteous
  6. The Law of Moses was impossible to follow
  7. The Pharisee's view of Old Testament law matched the law given to Moses
  8. Faith and law are incompatible
  9. Without law there is no sin
  10. The law is only for the Jews
  11. Law causes God's judgment, his wrath
  12. Law forces us to sin (by tempting us)
  13. It is harder to follow God's law than to live a life of faith
  14. God established law as a consequence of man's sin
  15. The only purpose of Old Testament law was to set the stage for Jesus

Is the Old Testament Law really merely for the purpose of displaying the need for salvation by faith only? It is absurd to think that God created the Law and placed his chosen people, the Israelites, under this Law — but this was all really done for Christians centuries later, for their benefit; and that the Law had no salvation benefit whatsoever for the Israelites.

The three kinds of law in the New Testament...

  1. the law of faith — repent from sin; love and worship the unseen God
  2. good works pleasing to God (the law) — the 10 commandments and other moral laws
  3. mere ritual, faithless works (the law) — mere actions performed without faith or love of God

Only option #3 is bad.

For us Christians today the whole emphasis of the New Testament writers on the proper role of Jewish law means nothing. Ironically, the interest of the Protestant Reformers on the topic was triggered from abuses and improper emphasis by the Catholic Church and had nothing to do with Jewish law, yet they turned to the New Testament writers to clear up the matter. Clearly, they misread these as I discuss elsewhere.

Nation and Law

In studying the historical books of the Old Testament, including the five books of Moses, I am struck with how incredibly immoral these societies were. Yes, God blessed them (as best he could) but clearly, the Church of Jesus Christ was to be far superior.

To my mind, this means the Church is not by nature the same kind of institution as was Old Testament Israel, susceptible to exploitation, wars, burning people at the stake, and the other kinds of immoral activities all-too-common in humans. Sadly, the church quickly adopted this mindset in competing with secular political powers and in establishing hierarchical bishops.

The same basic idea applies to law, including religious law. Rules and laws are, by definition, arbitrary. You simply cannot craft a law that always holds true in every situation; even God is constrained by this limitation of the physical world. Therefore, the Church is not to be a society of laws. If you feel your Church demands you obey laws, (not merely to keep things orderly, to "keep the traffic flowing"), your Church has misunderstood its mission.

The way I see it, the spiritual "evolution" (progression / development) of the human race has gone through various stages. God has taken humanity as it is at each stage and intervened so they would know of God. He didn't necessarily try to fix all the problems and, in fact, he blessed them in spite of serious problems. This holds true even in New Testament times: for example, neither Jesus nor the apostles addressed the exploitation and abuse of the institution of slavery, yet it is clearly immoral.

The Mosaic Law changed over time and God honored this. Examples...

Therefore, law is not absolute. Jesus came to highlight the essential ingredients.