“‘Whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 5:19).
The New Testament presents a paradox concerning God’s law. On one hand, it is abolished; on the other, responsibilities to it remain. Regarding Jews and Gentiles, Paul writes that Christ “is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace” (Eph. 2:14–15). With the church’s emergence, the “dividing wall” of civil ordinances disappeared.
The ceremonial law also has terminated. While Christ was on the cross, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). With Jesus’ death the Old Testament sacrifices became invalid and unnecessary.
In a certain sense God’s moral law seems no longer binding on His children (Rom. 10:4; 6:12–15; Gal. 5:17–18). Paul harmonizes this notion when he speaks of being “without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). In Christ, believers are anything but without the law. Whereas His law is totally different from the Old Testament moral law with its penalties for disobedience, it is not different at all from the righteous standards which that law taught.
Whenever we look at the moral law with humility and a sincere desire to obey, the law will invariably point us to Jesus Christ—as was always its ultimate intention.
What benefits do the teachings of the law continue to deposit in the life of the believer? If not for its guidance and its setting of boundaries, where would our human nature choose to live and operate?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur.
Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610