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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God's 'Laws, Statutes and Judgments'

When God organized the people of Israel into a nation under the Sinai Covenant, through the human leadership of Moses, He authorized an administrative system that included not only priests but also judges to keep them on the path of righteousness (Deuteronomy 1:16-17). These judges were to perform their assigned duties according to the laws, statutes and judgments that God would reveal to them, either directly (as with the Ten Commandments) or through His messengers.

Though a variety of terms are used in the Scriptures to describe God's instructions to His people and their officials, they usually are summarized under the three broad categories of "statutes and judgments and laws" (Leviticus 26:46, King James Version). These terms describe distinctions in the way God's instructions are viewed rather than their validity or importance. They all represent His will. All of them were to be respected and followed.

The Hebrew word translated "law" is torah. When used with the definite article (the law), it refers either to law in general or to some specific aspect of law. It often refers to the entire body of law that God gave to the people of Israel.

Torah also carries the broader meaning of "teachings," especially when used without the definite article. Sometimes, when used so broadly, the word even appears to imply the entire body of revealed instruction contained in the Old Testament scriptures.

The word "statutes" refers to a specific type of laws. As the English translation of the Hebrew words choq or chuqqah, the word "statute" refers to an authoritative enactment, decree or ordinance.

Biblical statutes may set appointed times, such as sacred festivals, define important customs and even establish the manner or procedure by which certain vital matters are to be handled. Because they reveal God's thinking and reflect His priorities, they are crucially instructive as divine guidelines for righteous behavior.

"Judgments" are decisions handed down by judges to explain, broaden or narrow the application of existing law. To ensure that human judges would have meaningful guidelines and precedents to follow in exercising their judicial responsibilities, God provides examples of how He judges in the Scriptures.

God's judgments illustrate how righteous decisions should be made according to the principles revealed in His laws and statutes. He instructs all judges who are responsible for making judgments not specifically covered in the Torah: "In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes . . ." (Ezekiel 44:24).

He also tells them: "You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:15).

Taken together, God's laws, statutes and judgments lay the foundation for a righteous society and the administrative procedures needed to govern it. They all contain principles that are applicable to all peoples and are broad enough to be adapted to new situations.


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