When we speak about Jewish law, we refer to the old covenant – the law of God or the law of Moses. These are the Ten Commandments.
God gave us the Ten Commandments to reveal the law and justice of His nature and will. And as a guide for us to live lovingly and responsibly. There were three categories of law in the Old Testament. Some were ceremonial, some civil, and some moral.
By Jesus’ time, the Pharisees had added hundreds of religious traditions to the law. They often tried to accuse Him of breaking what had become more like a set of rules. Matthew 12:1-8 is one example that illustrates this.
Law-keeping became more important than God’s law of love. When Jesus spoke about a new way of understanding God’s law, He was trying to point people back to its original purpose – the moral and ceremonial laws given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Which Jesus later said were the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NIV) And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31 NIV)
In Matthew 5:17, we see that Jesus did not come to destroy the law but fulfill it. And John 1:17 shows us that Christ revealed the grace and truth of God’s nature and will!
Galatians 2:15-19 tells us that obeying the law will not make us acceptable to God or save us. But it is holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:12) and still has an important role as a guide for us in the Christian life.
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin operating under the new covenant – grace by faith. Romans 3:25 shows us that the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross paid the penalty of death for our sin – propitiation. Jesus stands in our place! And through faith in Him, we stand acquitted, or not guilty, before God (Romans 3:21-24).
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)! Having been tempted in every way, He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15). Through Him, we can come boldly unto God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). By that same grace, we are raised in heavenly places with God in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6). And He will always catch us when we fall!
Image by Christoph Schmid via Freely Photos
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™