A lot of contradiction arises when the topic of Jesus and law arises. This is because, as Christ said, he did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it; Paul notes in his writings that the law was abolished through Christ. However, the Bible cannot contradict itself, and so there must be harmony between the two sentiments. So, did Jesus come to abolish the law?
Jesus did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it. However, by fulfilling it, we no longer need the law to gain salvation. The scripture is clear that after the death of Christ, we are saved through faith and not by the works of the law. That is what Paul meant when he said that Christ abolished the law. By fulfilling the law, we do not have to abide in it to gain salvation but just believe in him as he is the fulfillment of the law.
So, what does it mean that Jesus did not come to abolish the law? What happened to the law when Jesus came? Did Jesus free Christians from the Ten Commandments? Should New Testament Christians obey the Old Testament laws? Did Jesus give Christians a new set of commandments? Did Paul contradict Christ about abolishing the law? Keep reading to get all the answers you need to these questions and more.
What does it mean that Jesus did not come to abolish the law?
Jesus comments about the law in the book of Mathew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.”
Theologians and bible scholars agree that Christ himself followed some aspects of the law, and thus he did not abolish it. However, after he died, he said it was finished. And even in the verse above, he said the law would not disappear until everything is accomplished. Everything got accomplished on the cross, so we do not have to follow the law to be saved but just trust in Jesus.
What happened to the law when Jesus came?
The law ceased to be the key to our salvation after Jesus came. Paul is clear in Galatians and Ephesians that the law no longer binds us because if we claim we are, then Christ’s death is in vain. The Bible clearly states that we are not saved by the works of the law but through our faith. Once you believe in Jesus Christ, that he rose from the dead, then you are saved.
However, in the Old Testament, one’s righteousness determines whether one is saved or not. So by Christ coming and fulfilling the law, we are freed from the burden of carrying out the law to establish a relationship with God. Christ is now the way to the father and not the law.
Did Jesus free Christians from the Ten Commandments?
Jesus did not free Christians from the Ten Commandments. He insisted on why we should follow the Ten Commandments. The only thing that Jesus fulfilled was the law, which is what we are free of, but not the Ten Commandments. When Christ was teaching about the commandments, he noted, “You have heard that it was said… but I tell you,” then added why we should oblige to the certain commandment. He reinforced the commandments and summarized them with two great commandments: “love your Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” and the second is “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Should New Testament Christians obey the Old Testament laws?
We should not follow the law of the Old Testament because Christ fulfilled every law on the cross. If we are still bound by the law today, then it means that the law was not fulfilled, and thus the death of Jesus Christ was in vain. In the Old Testament, people used to offer a sacrifice when they sinned. However, when we sin, all we have to do is to confess and believe that we have been forgiven, and we will be forgiven.
Furthermore, we do not need to obey the law to be saved. We are saved by mercy and grace through faith. Galatians 2:16 says, “Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law, no one will be justified.” Paul is clear that now we are justified by faith and are not bound by the law. If we still follow the law, then we mean that the death of Christ was in vain.
Did Jesus give Christians a new set of commandments?
Christ never gave a new commandments; in fact, he reinforced the commandments given to us in the Old Testament. He explained the commandments and expounded on why we should obey them. For example, in the book of Mathew 5:27-28, Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Clearly, Jesus expounded on what committing adultery means and did not urge us not to follow this commandment or alter it. He gave us more insight into why we should keep off from adultery.
Did Paul contradict Christ about abolishing the law?
The Bible does not contradict itself; thus, Paul does not contradict Christ regarding teaching about the law. Paul taught about the law in the book of Ephesians 2:14-15, “For he himself 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, that in himself he might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”
When Christ was teaching about the law, he said that nothing would disappear from the law until everything was accomplished (Mathew 5:17). When Christ was on the cross, he said the words, “it is finished,” before taking his last breath. Therefore, Paul noting that Christ abolished the enmity in his flesh means that Christ removed from us the burden of having to follow the laws. All we need to be saved is just to believe in him and walk as he did.
We no longer need our righteousness for us to be saved like our counterparts in the Old Testament. Paul is talking about actions like circumcision that are used to determine someone’s righteousness and justify their faith. Christ indicated that he came to fulfill the same law that used to separate the Jews and the Gentiles, and because he fulfilled them, we no longer need them.
Paul notes further in the book of Galatians that we are not bound by the law. This is because Christ already fulfilled the law, and we have no obligation under the law. Galatians 3:23-25 says, “We were held custody under the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law became our guardian to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
Did Paul contradict Christ about abolishing the law?
What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law but did not abolish it?
Is there a contradiction between Paul’s teachings on the law
Did Jesus abolish the law or not?
What did Jesus teach about the commandments?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.