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Christians Are Not Under the Law of Moses, Our Standard is Much Higher

by Michael Edwards  
3/03/2018 / Bible Studies


Note: As the author, I want to make it clear that I am against all sin. Sin kills, steals and destroys. However, the Bible does not teach that going back to the Law of Moses is the way to stop sin. At the bottom of this article is a link to an article on how to stop sin God's way.

Christians Are Not Under the Old Covenant Law Given by Moses, Ten Commandments. We are under a much higher law than the Ten Commandments which are only a shadow of the truth.

However, thankfully the law we are under brings no condemnation. The New Covenant law is listed near the end of this article.  

Christians Are Not Under The Law of Moses, Ten Commandments; Our Standard is Much Higher

It is important to note that Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant of Law, which included the Ten Commandments God gave Moses.

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law” (Rom 2:14). (In Acts 15 the apostles met and agreed the Gentiles were not under the Mosaic Law. The apostles gave the believing Gentiles three things to heed. (See the note HERE.)

Paul said, “To those outside the Law (non-Jews/Gentiles) I became as one outside the Law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the Law” (1 Cor 9:21).

The New Covenant of Grace Brought by Jesus Replaced the Old Covenant of Law Given by Moses.

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Scripture is abundantly clear that a born-again believer is no longer under the Old Covenant law of Moses. Often when people hear this truth, they experience a fear of letting go of the law. In all sincerity, they want to obey God and do the best they can. This is my goal too, and I used to believe letting go of the law would lead me to sin more. The reality is that God’s grace has caused sin to lose its appeal. The New Covenant teaches a different way, a higher way, to be godly then attempting to keep the letter of the law. Stick with me as I have listed many verses for support so you will be assured this is God’s message and not mine. Read the following verses and meditate on the truth they convey.

The Father’s will was for Jesus to come and do away with the Old Covenant of Law and establish the New Covenant of grace. 

“You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the Law), he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first (Old Mosaic Covenant of Law) to establish the second (New Covenant of Grace). And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10:8-10).

The law was weak and useless, unable to perfect anyone as Jesus has done.

“For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope (Jesus) is introduced, through which we draw near to God” (Heb 7:18-19).

God is the one who found fault with the Old Covenant of law and replaced it with the New Covenant of grace and truth.

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. …he finds fault with them…” (Heb 8:7-8).

Like a person’s will to their descendants, when a person writes a new will, their old will is obsolete, no longer valid. Testament means will, Old and New Testament. But the New Covenant does not start at the beginning of the New Testament. Jesus lived under and fulfilled the Old Covenant for us. The New Covenant started at the cross. Jesus wrote out a New will for us. In the Old will we inherited death from Adam. Under the New will, we inherit eternal life from Jesus.

“In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb 8:13).

The law was never the final word of God. It was only a shadow of reality and the good things to come.

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near” (Heb 10:1).

The Old Covenant included the Ten Commandments. 

“Now if the ministry of deathcarved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end—” (2 Cor 3:7).

See a side-by-side comparison of the New and Old Covenants HERE.

Those who trust Jesus are not under the Old Covenant laws, Ten Commandments. The New Covenant standard which we will review later is much higher. 

In Romans 7:1-12 Paul is talking about when a person dies, the law no longer applies to them. He uses one of the Ten Commandments, adultery, not a ceremonial law as an example. Paul is correlating this to a Christian who is dead to the law. He is clearly indicating that a Christian is no longer under the dominion of the entire law including the Ten Commandments because we have been crucified with Christ. We are dead to the law. Further down in those verses as he continues to talk about how a Christian is dead to the law, not under the law, he also uses coveting as an example, further reinforcing the fact that believers are no longer under the dominion of the entire law. Further down, he talks about how the law killed him as he continues about coveting. This tells us the Ten Commandments are part of the law of sin and death that Jesus set us free from as Romans 8:2 states. Finally in Col 2:16 the Bible tells us to let no one judge us with regards to the Sabbath, another Ten Commandment. It is very clear that Christians are no longer under the entire law of Moses, for apart from the law, sin lies dead.

If your spouse died and you remarried you would not be committing adultery. We were married to the law but we died in Christ to the law when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

“Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:1-6 ESV).

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom 7:7-12 ESV)

Jesus brings freedom from the condemnation the law brought.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1-2).

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith (not law) in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

As Christians, we tend to demand adherence to a watered down version of the Old Covenant law of Moses as an additional requirement to be saved (watered down because no one can keep God’s law in thought, word, and deed with perfection). When the Galatians added the law back in as a way to try and perfect themselves. Paul called them fools and pointed out is all about what they believe not do.

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness?’ Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal 3:1-9).

Adam’s one act of disobedience made all sinners, prisoners of an inherited sin nature.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:19)

“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal 3:22).

The Purpose of the Old Covenant Law

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people (believers and unbelievers) think that Christianity is all about rule keeping. The truth is that Christianity is for lawbreakers and not law keepers. The Pharisee’s who rejected Jesus and had him put to death were the best law keepers around. The law was not given to make anyone holy.

The law stops us from comparing ourselves to others to justify our actions.

The Old Covenant law was designed to stop every person from justifying themselves (Rom 3:19).

The law reveals our sin nature and need for Gods help.

The law was given to bring us the knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7).

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive, and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Rom 7:9-11)

The law was given to protect, guard me against your fallen nature and you from mine. The law was designed to lead us safely to Jesus, at which point we are no longer under the guardianship of the law.

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  (Gal 3:23-36).

So we are born again, and we are no longer under the law as our guardian. Therefore, in the next verses, “to those under the law” is not talking about a born-again believer. These are unbelievers, people who are still trusting their own self-righteousness. They have not yet recognized their need of God’s gift of righteousness in Christ. As we have learned, The law is designed to reveal their need for a savior. Once they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, they will be under grace too and no longer under the law.

The Bible calls those who believe God, and in this case trust in Jesus by accepting his righteousness, “righteous or right with God.” Therefore, unbelievers, those unwilling to accept God’s gift of righteousness are called “unrighteous or not right with God.”

 “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to (those who are under the law (the unbeliever and thus not righteous, right with God), so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3:19).

The law justifies no one.

 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified (made righteous) in his [God’s] sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20).

The law is like throwing gasoline on a fire, arousing and increasing the flame.

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass (so it could be recognized), but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).

The law kills.

“(The law arouses sin) I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive, and I died.  The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me and through it killed me” (Rom 7:9-11).

“Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure” (Rom 7:13).

“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God” (Gal 2:19).

The law is perfect and just must remain for the proper purpose it was intended, to lead people to the savior.

 

    1. “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18

 

    1. “The law is good, perfect and holy” (Romans 7:7-12).

 

    1. “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfullyrealizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person (the believer), but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted” (1 Tim 1:8-11 NASB).

 

 

For emphasis: A righteous person in the bible is always a person who is righteous by faith, not works or law keeping. Therefore the above verse is clearly telling us the law is not made for a believer, the righteous. It is made for the unrighteous, which can only be an unbeliever by God’s definition. If you are an imperfect believer as we all are, do not let the list of sins in 1 Tim1:8-11 scare or condemn you. Maybe you have lied, and you think this verse applies to you. This is not true. You are not under the law, you are under grace, and your sins are not counted against you - Read Here. The sole reason there will be no liars in heaven when all of us have told lies is that God sees us as a New Creation in Christ. We are washed completely clean as though we have never sinned. We are spotless with not even a shadow of our sins remaining.

See HereHere and Here about the only way anyone has ever been righteous before God.

View these verses under the search term “Obedience to the law,” and you will see the Old Covenant law is done. See  http://biblehub.net/searchnt.php?q=LAW+OF+OBEDIENCE.

Why We Want To Be Under Grace and Not the Old Covenant Law

Under grace, sin has no dominion over us.

 “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14 NIV).

The law will judge those who die under the law. Those who die in Christ, apart from the law under grace, will not be judged by the law.

“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law” (Rom 2:12).

Where there is no law, there is no wrath.

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression (Rom 4:15).

Under grace, sin is powerless to condemn us.

“But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead” (Rom 7:8).

Sin is not counted against us under grace.

“…for sin indeed was in the world before the law was givenbut sin is not counted where there is no law” (Rom 5:13).

This period of time Romans 5:13 is talking about was roughly 2,550 years from Adam’s sin until Moses gave the Old Covenant Law. Sin was not counted against all the people who lived in those years in between because there was no law. This is grace. Those who trust in Jesus as their savior are under grace, and we see the same situation, sin not counted against us.

This is the major pillar of the New Covenant of grace. 

Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more”(Heb 10:17).

God is not counting the sins of those who trust in Christ. 

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:19

The only place sin is not counted against people is where there is no law. 

God’s grace given in Jesus Christ sets us free.

“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).

Our faith, not law-keeping, is what pleases God. This is because law-keeping cannot save us, only faith through grace in Christ alone can.

“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom 4:5).

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do” (Rom 8:3).

All of humanity inherited a sin nature and a fallen world from Adam. When a person is born again in Christ, they become heirs of righteousness, co-heirs with Christ.

“For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void” (Rom 4:14).

Grace leaves no room for boasting of self, only boasting in Jesus

 “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting” (1 Cor 9:16).  

Paul points out that he is not under the law. He also talks about the new law of Christ.

Paul stated: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law” (1 Cor 9:20-21 NASB).

We are to preach grace that gives life and not the law that kills.

“…who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (law) but of the Spirit (grace). For the letter (law) kills, but the Spirit (grace) gives life” (2 Cor 3:6).

The New Covenant glory far surpasses the Old Covenant.

“Indeed, in this case, what once had glory (the Old Covenant of the Law) has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory (New Covenant of Grace) that surpasses it” (2 Cor 3:10).

The New Covenant replaces the Old.

“For if what was being brought to an end (the Old Covenant of the Law) came with glory, much more will what is permanent (New Covenant of Grace) have glory” (2 Cor3:11).

See 27 bible verses on being saved by grace through faith apart from the law Here.

Why We Do Not Want to Be Under the Old Covenant Law

There are many reasons why we do not want to be under the Old Covenant law. The law arouses sin and the Bible calls it a ministry of death and a ministry of condemnation to name just a few. The following verses will reveal more.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 2 Cor 3:7

“For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation [the Old Covenant], the ministry of righteousness [grace] must far exceed it in glory” (2 Cor 3:9).

Even today, when read, the Old Covenant law hardens minds and hearts towards the grace of God and salvation in Christ alone.

 “Since we have such a hope (Jesus), we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 2 Cor 3:12-14

The law cannot make a person right with God.

The law justifies no person. “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them’ (Gal 3:11-12).

 “…yet we know that a person is not justified [made righteous] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified [made righteous] by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified [made righteous]” (Gal 2:16). The same Greek word is used in the New Testament for justified, righteous, and righteousness.

The law brings a curse.

 “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10). 

In the New Covenant we are redeemed from the curse when we trust Jesus.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Gal 3:13).

The Old Covenant demanded righteousness. The New Covenant provides righteousness.

 “Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law” (Gal 3:21).

Sin gets its power from the law; apart from the law sin lies powerless and dead.

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor 15:56).

The law makes you a slave like Hagar. (Galatians 4:21-31).

False teachers desire to be teachers of the law (1 Tim 1:3-7).

Old Covenant Law and Being Saved by Faith Through Grace Do Not Mix 

You must choose one or the other. Unbelievers have fully chosen their own self-righteousness and thus the law by rejecting Jesus. They know from their consciences, they are guilty and still reject the need for a savior.

 (Those who say we are still under the law and claim to keep it, do so by reducing the standard of the law like the Pharisee's who Jesus pointed out were full of dead men’s bones. In the book of James, it says that if a person breaks one law, he’s broken all of the laws.

Those who say the law still applies to people who trust Jesus point out the more apparent sins of others and sweep under the rug their own seemingly smaller sins of fear, worry, gossip, coveting, etc. Everything that is not of faith is a sin, and the law is not of faith. On the contrary, those who embrace grace recognize the high standard of God’s law and keep it all in place by admitting they cannot keep it, and they need God’s help to be saved from every part of the law’s condemnation. 

“Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Rom 3:31 NASB).

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Rom 11:6).

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal 2:21).

Contrary to popular belief, a person does not fall from grace by falling into sin. A person falls from grace by going back to trying to obey the law to be right with God. No one can do it. And the penalty for not keeping the whole law is death.

So when Paul is warning believers who think they also have to keep the law, he says,  “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4). Go Here.

The Letter Kills, the Spirit Gives Life

“…who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6 ESV).

The phrase “the spirit of a law” means “the author’s intention for writing the law.” All of God’s laws have as their spirit /intent “love.” This tells us a lot about God’s character. He loves us and wants to protect and save us.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:14).

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”(Rom 13:8-10).

The law is perfect, holy and just, the problem with the Old Covenant law is us, the weak link. We cannot keep the letter of the law and when we try to impose it on others, we often end up violating the spirit of God’s law. Man has a habit of holding others to the letter of the God’s law, which kills, to serve their selfish purposes, while ignoring the spirit/intent of God’s laws, which is “love.” Man also has the habit of wanting others to refer to the spirit of the law for themselves when they do wrong and not the letter. In other words, we all want grace, but we all have a hard time showing it.  

There are many examples of man using the letter of the law to kill, while ignoring the spirit of the law, which gives life:

 

    • The woman caught in adultery who the Pharisees wanted to stone and Jesus did not condemn

 

    • The self-righteous Pharisees when Jesus healed on the Sabbath were angry, Jesus was broken-hearted because of their hardness of heart.

 

    • The story of the good Samaritan in which the religious leaders walked past the injured gentile man because helping him would break the letter of the law. In doing so they violated the actual spirit of God’s law.

 

 

The worst abuse of man ignoring the spirit of the law, which is love and focusing on the letter to kill, happened when the Jewish leaders crucified Jesus, the author of the law.

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7).

Mankind has no place being judge. Read more about the spirit of the law Here.

Under a New High Priest (Jesus) and a New Covenant there are New Laws

While the Old Covenant laws are holy, just and good for their purpose, The New Covenant laws are much higher than the Old Covenant laws of do's and don'ts. They are much higher than the Ten Commandments. The New Covenant law is the true intent, the spirit of all of God’s written laws. The spirit of a law is always higher than the letter. The New Covenant law cannot be abused like the Old Covenant written law.

There is obedience in the New Covenant. However, Paul points out that the law is different now with a new high priest.

“To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law” (1 Cor 9:21).

“For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well” (Heb 7:12).

“For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope (Jesus) is introduced, through which we draw near to God” (Heb 7:18-19).

The Law of Spirit of Life, Law of Faith, Law of Liberty, Royal Law of Love and Law of Christ

“But now we are released from the law (Law of Moses), having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit (law of the spirit of life) and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6).

“For the Law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Old Covenant Law of Moses)” (Rom 8:2).

“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the Law Of Faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.  Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law” (Rom 3:27-31).

 Those who trust fully in Jesus declare and establish God’s written law, Ten Commandments as perfect, holy and just by admitting they cannot keep such a high standard and turn to God for his saving grace.

“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the Law of Liberty (Law of Spirit of Life) and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25).

“Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Cor 14:1 NLT).

This is the Royal law of love.  “If you really fulfill the Royal Law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law (Royal Law of Love) as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the Law of Liberty (Law of Spirit of Life).  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2: 8-13). The Old Covenant Law is all about judgment; the New Covenant is all about grace and truth. 

The whole of God’s law spoken of in James above can only be fulfilled through love.“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal 5:14).

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:8-10). 

“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth (grace and truth came through Jesus Christ John 1:17), just as we were commanded by the Father.  And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it” (2 John 1:4-6).

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13).

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).   This is love again. The spirit/intent of the author of all of God’s laws is love. Love is a much higher standard than the written code (Gal 5:14).

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).    2 Cor 3:7  tells us the Ten Commandments is the ministry of death.

New Covenant Calls for Obedience to the Following

In the New Covenant, under a new High Priest (Jesus) it is clear the law had to change. While the Ten Commandments are a great guide, they are a only a shadow of the reality (Heb 10:1). Read these carefully - Jesus is not telling us here we are again under the Ten Commandments. He is telling us we are under the spirit of the law (love) which is much higher than the letter.

new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34 (This is new – it is not the same as love your neighbor as yourself from the Old Covenant – Matt 22:39. We are to love others as Jesus loved us. He laid down his life for us.)

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:23-24

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved youJohn 15: 9-12

“For it is an intense joy to me when brethren come and bear witness to your fidelity to the truth—that you live in obedience to the truth (grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are living in obedience to the truth” (3 John 1:3-4 WNT).

“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the Obedience of Faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom 1:5).

“…but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the Obedience of Faith” (Rom 16:26). 

Love Is a Much Higher Standard Than the Letter and Will Last Forever.

No descendant of Adam ever kept the letter of the law, nor will they ever be able to. Even if they could, they would not fulfill the law by keeping the letter. The Bible tells us clearly that love is the only way to fulfill all of God's Old Covenant

Those who are still trying to live by the letter of the law instead of the Spirit are trying to live by a much lower standard. Here is one of several verses that further confirm the spirit of the law is much higher than the letter. 

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). 

If a person walks in the spirit which is love, he will not hate his brother, and therefore love fulfills the command “do not murder” completely. While a person who hates his brother but does not actually murder him is still guilty of breaking the spirit of the law, which is being guilty of breaking the law. Love is a much higher standard.

While we have gone over the laws of the New Covenant, the results below will only manifest in a person’s life when they are established in the a knowledge of their righteousness in Christ and God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.  They are called fruits of the spirit and not works of the flesh like with the Old Covenant laws.

If you do not see these fruits (described in 1 Cor 13) in your life, it is because there is an issue with your understanding of God's love for you and complete forgiveness. See an in-depth lesson on this Here.

Trying to manufacture these fruits of the spirit through works and making them laws like the Tem Commandments for ourselves, will lead to frustration and burnout. The key is to let God love and transform you, and then these fruits will manifest naturally.   Fruit not works will be displayed in your life as you abide in the vine, in Jesus (John 15:4). Apart from the vine the branch can do nothing.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

1 Corinthians 13 NIV in full

Verses 1 - 3 stress how important love is above all else.

1  “If I speak in the tonguesa of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Next is a description of your heavenly Father, Christian. It also describes the fruit we will produce if we abide in the Love of Jesus, knowing that in Christ we are fully forgiven we will love much (Luke 7:47). If we do not see these fruits in our life we need to go back to the basics and realize how great God's love is for us and that we are totally forgiven.

4   “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8  “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” 

The following verses match up with Gal 3:23-24 where it tells us the Old Covenant Law was our guardian to lead us to Christ. Once we are in Christ, we are Sons of God and no longer under a guardian. A Son of the King is not subject to the letter of the law (Matt 17:25-26).

11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

See how a person can be saved by faith and no longer under the law Here and Here.

See how to Stop Sin apart from the law God's way Here.

Read more New Covenant studies HERE.

New Covenant Bible Studies

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