Is it Legalistic to Teach the Law of God in the New Testament Times?February 2, 2024
When it comes to matters of Biblical dialogue we often hear debate over the matter of the law of God. Some argue that since the law was abolished, we no longer need to keep any law but only have faith. In fact, the term legalistic is used a lot of times to slight at those who teach about the Law of God in the New Testament times. Then is it wrong to love and adhere to the law of God like the forefathers of Faith in the Old Testament?
Teaching from Apostle Paul regarding the Law of God in the New Testament Times
Among the writers of the New Testament, Apostle Paul is by far the most prolific in terms of his knowledge of God’s law. Because of his upbringing as a Pharisee, he was able to easily explain about the law both from the perspective of a Jewish teacher and a non-believer. In the book of Corinthians, he explained like this.
1 Corinthians 9:20-21 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
Here Apostle Paul mentioned three titles, “the Law” “God’s Law” and “Christ’s Law”. Here, “the Law” refers to the Old Covenant Law given to Moses, or simply put, the Law of Moses. He explained that though he was free from “the Law (of Moses)” he was not, in fact, free from “God’s law” but was under “Christ’s law”. This teaches us that under the category of “God’s Law” there are actually two separate sets of laws, the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ.
Which Law of God should we keep in our time?
Many people teach that the Law of Moses is completely abolished, however, that’s not entirely true. In regard to this, the book of Hebrews explains that the law simply changed.
Hebrews 7:12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.
While it is true that the law of Moses was abolished by the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago, it does not mean that there is no longer any Law that God’s people must follow. Christ changed the law when the age changed from the Old Testament times to the New Testament times. Since Christ established a new law, the Law of Christ, we should keep the new law following the examples of the Apostles.
Let’s take a look at some examples of the changes Jesus made:
Jesus did not come just to abolish the law of Moses, but to establish a new law, the Law of Christ. That’s why Jesus said that his purpose isn’t to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
Matthew 5:17 “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.
Jesus clearly said we should not even think that the law was abolished. This shows that there is clearly still a law that God’s people in the New Testament times have to follow. There is nothing wrong with being legalistic in our age as long as we follow the Law of Christ. The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. The Bible teaches us to avoid those who practice and teach lawlessness which is a sin in God’s eyes. (1 John 3:4, Matthew 7:23). Then just as the forefathers of Faith like King David and the Apostle Paul loved and treasured God’s laws with all their hearts, we should have the same love for the Law of God in the New Testament Times.