The Church of Christ at Wisconsin Rapids

Are We Still Under the Old Law?

We Are Not Under the Old Law

When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Law, often called the Mosaic Law.

Ephesians 2:15 says that He “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances.”

Colossians 2:14 says that He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us” and that He “nailed it to the cross.”

Hebrews 8:13 says, “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.”

This means that God’s people are no longer responsible for keeping the specific requirements contained in the Old Testament (Colossians 2:16-17).

The Old Law called for animal sacrifices to make atonement for sins (Exodus 29:36; Leviticus 4:27-35). Those animal sacrifices could not fully take away sins, which is why they had to be offered again and again. Jesus did much better when He offered Himself up as a sacrifice that can fully take away sins.

Hebrews 10:11-12:
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

Trying to be saved by keeping the Old Law is a rejection of Christ’s sacrifice (Galatians 5:1-4).

The Value of the Old Law

This does not mean that the Old Law has no value. It led up to Christ by teaching the world about sin, atonement, and our need for a savior.

Galatians 3:24-25:
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

See also: Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 3:19-25

Even though we are not responsible for its specific requirements, we can still learn a lot from the Old Law (Romans 15:4). Many of the things that violated the Old Law are also condemned in the New Testament and we can learn more about those sins by studying the Old Law.

Romans 7:7:
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

We can also learn more about God’s nature and His expectations for His people by studying the Old Law. Our specific requirements to be obedient to God may have changed, but God Himself has not changed. The types of things that displeased Him before will still be displeasing to Him now.

Malachi 3:6:
For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Hebrews 13:8:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In addition, studying the examples in the Old Testament can help us to not repeat the same mistakes that others have made.

1 Corinthians 10:11:
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

See also: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Hebrews 12:1-2