Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Are we under the law?

QUESTION:

Are we still under the old law as defined in Leviticus?  Why or why not?  If we are, what about the verses that say disobedient children should be stoned and anyone who works on a sabbath day should be put to death?

Tonya

ANSWER:

Tonya, 

Thanks for dropping by. You ask a very good question. The short answer to your question is no. You don’t need to stone your kids if they misbehave, and you don’t have to worry about being killed if you work on Saturday. Here is why.

The laws in Leviticus are commonly known as the “Mosaic Covenant.” Sometimes they referred to as the “Old Testament,” or sometimes just “the Law.” This covenant agreement was made between God and the nation Israel (Exodus 19:5-8). The Covenant includes the Ten Commandments and several hundred other laws (Exodus 20ff.).

The Mosaic Covenant was a constitution of moral, social and civil laws written for the nation Israel. Its duration was until the Messiah, or Christ, came. It is not written to Christians. It also was the first codified form of God’s will for mankind. It revealed God’s basic principles of holiness. The Law was a standard of living for Israel. It was to function as a restriction and correction to hold Israel within the boundaries of that which was good for them. Through the sacrificial system, it also offered mercy to those who did not keep the law.

That Christians are not under the law can be seen in the following statements. We learn that the Law is obsolete and abolished. Paul writes, “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace” (Ephesians 2:15).

Of the “New Covenant,” or Testament, the Bible states, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first (Mosaic Covenant) obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear” (Hebrews 8:13).

Now, Tonya, we cannot condemn the Law, because it is very good. It is perfect, in fact. However, it brings a huge problem to us: penalty. People cannot keep it. Paul writes, “For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law” (Galatians 3:21). Again we read, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Again, Paul says, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20; cf. verses 21-28). Further, and more to the point, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them” (Galatians 3:10). So the question becomes, how do we escape this horrible problem? Keep reading.

The Law with its sacrificial system, was also a means of pointing ahead to Christ and His perfect sacrifice to take away the penalty of sin, as well as to point out our need for salvation that is by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Paul wrote, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (the Law) (Galatians3:24-25).

The New Covenant fulfils and replaces the Old Covenant by its provision of a blood sacrifice sufficient to erase all sin. The Bible says in referring to Christ, “and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12; cf. 10:10, 12, 14).

A final thought is that now Christians are under Christ. We look to Him to live our lives, not to the Law. Paul writes, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29; cf. Colossians 1:28, 29). We do not look to the Law for guidance, but to Christ (Cf. Galatians 2:16-21). We are under a new system.

This provision, of course, only applies to those who personally receive Christ as their Savior by faith. All who reject Christ remain under the penalty of the Law (1Timothy 1:8-11).

Well, Tonya, this is kind of a long answer. I hope it helps. My wife tells me that I sometimes talk too much. I hope not in this case. All the best to you in Christ.

Dr. Newman

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