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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Current Confusion Over Christian Freedom

In countering the Galatian heresy, Paul sometimes refers to Christian freedom. But the freedom he describes is very different from the way his words are commonly interpreted today. Paul's reasoning regarding grace, law, justification and freedom has been so twisted out of context that today his meaning is rarely correctly understood.

For example, the popular view of freedom today, especially in Western society, is that individuals should be free to live as they please. People generally read that concept of freedom into Galatians. But such an idea was totally foreign to Paul—and to the authorities and society of Paul's day.

The government of the Roman Empire was a dictatorship under the authority of the emperor. Relatively few people possessed Roman citizenship with its associated legal rights. Most of the population belonged to two other classes of people: free noncitizens and slaves. From these came the majority of Christian converts. Paul contrasts the free (nonenslaved) people with enslaved people to illustrate an important truth.

Those who are justified by the death of Christ are free from the condemnation to death earned by past sins. Those not justified are not free from that condemnation. As unforgiven sinners they remain like criminals sentenced to death and detained in bondage (as on death row) awaiting execution at the time of God's final judgment.

Paul does appeal to Christians to untangle themselves from—live free from—this world's bigoted class distinctions. He does this because, for the Church, "there is neither Jew nor Greek [gentile], there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

However, he never represents this freedom as a release from the law of God that defines the sins that are so common in the world around us. He does point out that Jesus Christ "gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age" (Galatians 1:4).

Jesus Christ frees us from the condemnation that we bring on ourselves by participating in the evils of our present society, not from the authority of God's law. Paul made it very clear that God has "condemned sin 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).

Paul consistently contrasts sin that reflects the works of the flesh to righteous conduct that reflects the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-23). The reason we need God's Spirit is so we will have the ability to perform what the law teaches. The Holy Spirit opens our minds to understand the true intent of the ways of God. We then must grow in godly character by diligently walking in God's way.


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