What is the status of Moses’ law today? In short, law lives. But it can harm us no more. The original law came by Moses (John 1:17 )and because of the weakness of our flesh condemned us, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, who promised us He did not intend to destroy the law but to be sure it is fulfilled (in Him and us).
Law lives. How do I know? Because sin lives, and sin is the transgression of a law. Every man who confesses his sin admits to the broken law of God. The difference between now and then or, if you will, them and us is not lawlessness but forgiveness.
Law, a major part of Scripture, lives, but now we dread not its pages. Rather we can be enriched by the “encouragement of the Scripture” (Romans 15:4). For the unconvinced, we will look at some of Paul’s heaviest teachings about the law in summaries of the teachings of Romans and Galatians.
Romans: Romans 2. Law is everywhere, whether handed down from Sinai or built into Gentile thinking by the passing down truths from the creation. We are told that we cannot boast in the law because we are all lawbreakers. Circumcision is added as a seal of the Old Covenant if the covenant-maker is perfectly obedient in every way. Since that never happened, and all are lawbreakers, circumcision is a meaningless sign now, and circumcision of the Spirit seals the New Covenant.
Romans 3. In fact, our constant breaking of the law establishes that holy piece of work! We can never be justified by law, but we cannot make void law with our sin.
Romans 4: Where there is no law, there is no transgression, for sin is the transgression of the law.
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Romans 5: Sin was in the world before the law was given, but not imputed to man, not clearly defined, not placed in men’s accounts. When it did come to us, it was to expose sin for what it is. This is still its purpose. It teaches us our needs and brings us to Jesus. Romans 6: Now we are not under the law. But law lives. Sin shall not have dominion over us. But sin is a possibility. Sin lives.
Romans 7: We are dead to the law (which lives) through the Body of Christ. We are delivered from the law, this fearful taskmaster that kept us in bondage. But now, as prophesied by Jeremiah, we serve in the newness of the Spirit, who does God’s law in us. The law is not signed! But we know sin through the law. We are “alive” without the law. But when the law comes, we are exposed, we “die.” The law is holy, and we delight in it with our minds. No one should hate the law of God and consider it a thing to be destroyed! Jesus never did. No one should pray to be delivered from the law of God but the curse connected to it. One without the law is lawless, and there is nothing but contempt in Scripture for the spirit of lawlessness, II Thessalonians 2. What we want is freedom from its curse, not its righteousness! Though I do delight in it, there is another law inside me against the original law: it’s called sin.
Romans 8: My flesh makes the law seem weak. But Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. Now the law’s requirement is fulfilled in those who walk by the Spirit, just as Jeremiah and Jesus both taught.
Galatians: Galatians 2. The works of the law will ever justify no flesh. We died to the law through the law, and there is no righteousness to be gained by trying to keep the law, whether Sinai’s or the expanded revelations of Jesus and the apostles.
Galatians 3. One cannot receive the Spirit or any of His gifts by keeping the law. To be “under” the law is to be under a curse, for, as he quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26, “…cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things written in the book of the law.” But Jesus became the curse for us and set us free to keep the law’s requirements.
Galatians 5. We are to maintain our liberty by not being entangled with the curse again. Yet he says in the same chapter that all the law is fulfilled in the love of neighbor that flows from the Spirit-filled believer. He tells us to walk in the Spirit, and we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, to be led by the Spirit since we are not now under the law.