FREE booklet : The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
¬ Introduction
¬ God's Magnificent Series of Covenants
  Did Abraham Keep the Same Commandments God Gave to Moses?
  How Can We Obey God's Commandments?
  The Sinai Covenant and the 'Voice of the Lord'
  God's 'Laws, Statutes and Judgments'
  Key Elements of the Sinai Covenant
  Rightly Understanding 'Justification' and 'Righteousness'
  Did the Ten Commandments Exist Before Moses?
  God's Law: Is It a Burden or a Blessing?
¬ A New Covenant for Transforming the Heart
  What Was the Main Weakness of the Sinai Covenant?
  How God Balances Justice With Mercy
  How Is the New Covenant 'New'?
  The Ten Commandments: Keys in a Law of Love
¬ The High Priest Essential to Salvation
  Grace and Law: Why Are They Inseparable?
  A High Priest Eager to Help Us
¬ Circumcision vs. a 'New Creation' in Christ
  Current Confusion Over Christian Freedom
  The 'Curse of the Law'
  Galatians 4:9-10: Are God's Laws Bondage?
  Did Paul's Words to the Galatians Contradict His Actions?
  Why Paul Used the Term 'the Whole Law' in Galatians 5:3
  What's Wrong With Our Human Nature?
  The Holy Spirit: God's Promise of His Divine Help
¬ The Justice and Judgment of God
  How Paul Put the Law on 'Firmer Footing'
  How Does Justification Relate to Salvation?
  Does Romans 14 Abolish Laws on Unclean Meats?
  Did Paul Teach That All Days of Worship Are Alike?
  Did Paul Tell the Romans One Thing and the Corinthians the Opposite?
¬ Peace and Unity in Christ
  Paul Imprisoned Over a Man-Made Taboo
  The Corruption of Apostolic Christianity
  What Was 'Wiped Out' by Jesus Christ's Death?
  What Does 'Shadow of Things to Come' Mean?
  The Calendar Used by the Earliest Gentile Christians
  The Ascetic Philosophy Affecting the Colossians
  Colossians 2:16-17: Are God's Laws Obsolete?
¬ The Apostles, the Old Testament and God's Law
  Jesus and Paul Emphasize the Law's Correct Focus
  Paul Regularly Used the Old Testament as the Authority for His Teaching
  Acts Shows What the Early Church Believed and Practiced
  What Did Paul Mean by 'Christ Is the End of the Law'?
  The Jerusalem Conference of Acts 15: What Was Decided?
¬ Jesus' Teaching on God's Law
  Other Important Ways Jesus Fulfilled the Law
  Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?
  The 'New' Part of Jesus Christ's 'New Commandment'
  Confusion Over Legalism: What It Is and Isn't
  Does God Set Conditions on His Gift of Eternal Life?
¬ All the World Under the New Covenant
  Liberty Through God's Law
  A Covenant of Marriage
   
From the publisher of The Good News magazine.
The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
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Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?

The Bible tells us that Christ came as the Mediator of a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6). The popular belief that the New Covenant abolishes God's law reflects a misunderstanding of both covenants. God tells us that He altered the original covenant and made "a better covenant, which was established on better promises" (verse 6). But it was not established on different laws. The law stayed the same.

There was, however, a weakness, or fault, in the original covenant. That fault was with the people, not with the law. "Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah'" (verse 8). It was because the people "did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD" (verse 9).

In the Old Covenant, God wrote the law on tablets of stone. It was external, not part of the thinking and motives of the people. It was in their literature but not in their hearts. In the New Covenant, God writes the law in the minds and hearts of His people (Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:33-34).

To enable people to internalize His law—to love it and obey it eagerly and willingly—God makes this promise: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27). God's Spirit enables His people to obey His laws!

People lacking the Holy Spirit are incapable of wholehearted obedience. Why? "For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God's law, for it is unable to do so. For those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God" (Romans 8:7-8, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

This is why the Old Covenant and the New Covenant differ. Paul explains that "what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh" God has accomplished by sending Jesus, who overcame the flesh and "condemned sin [lawlessness] in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4; see also 1 John 3:4).

The International Critical Commentary, in reference to Romans 8:4, says: "God's purpose in 'condemning' sin was that His law's requirement might be fulfilled in us, that is, that His law might be established in the sense of at last being truly and sincerely obeyed—the fulfillment of the promises of Jer[emiah] 31:33 and Ezek[iel] 36:26.1."

In a footnote to Jeremiah 31:33-34 the commentary explains that this passage "is often misunderstood as a promise of a new law to take the place of the old or else as a promise of a religion without law at all. But the new thing promised in v. 33 is, in fact, neither a new law nor freedom from law, but a sincere inward desire and determination on the part of God's people to obey the law already given to them."

The following passages in the New Testament confirm, either explicitly or by example, that Jesus and the apostles viewed the Ten Commandments as necessary for true Christian living.

First Commandment: Matthew 4:10; 22:37-38.

Second Commandment: 1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 10:7, 14; Ephesians 5:5.

Third Commandment: Matthew 5:33-34; 7:21-23; Luke 11:2; 1 Timothy 6:1.

Fourth Commandment: Luke 4:16; Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:4, 9.

Fifth Commandment: Matthew 15:3-6; 19:17-19; Ephesians 6:2-3.

Sixth Commandment: Matthew 5:21-22; 19:17-18; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:19-21; James 2:10-12.

Seventh Commandment: Matthew 5:27-28; 19:17-18; Romans 13:9; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 10:8; Ephesians 5:5; Galatians 5:19-21; James 2:10-12.

Eighth Commandment: Matthew 19:17-18; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28.

Ninth Commandment: Matthew 19:17-18; Romans 13:9; Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:25.

Tenth Commandment: Luke 12:15; Romans 7:7; 13:9; Ephesians 5:3, 5.


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