Which Law?

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    Law is often a very complicated concept. In our country, we have a legislative branch that is responsible for making laws. We have an executive branch that is responsible for carrying out and enforcing those laws. Then we also have a Judicial branch of government that is responsible for determining the legality of laws. It is often difficult in our country to know at any specific time which laws are actually in effect and which ones have been repealed or struck down. The legislative branch can in fact make law and have it go into effect, and then the judicial branch can strike it down as unconstitutional. Therefore even though the law has passed, it will not be in effect and is not enforceable by the executive branch.

    What about God’s laws? There is an Old Testament and a New Testament and it can sometimes be confusing. Why are there two laws? Are they different? Are we under both laws? Hebrews 9:15-28 describes Christ as the mediator of the new covenant. It tells us that this new covenant went into effect at the death of Christ. The giving of the new covenant makes the first old and no longer in effect (Hebrews 8:13). We must remember, the Old law cannot justify man before God (Galatians 3:11-12) but we are redeemed (saved) from the curse of death that the old law brought upon man. Jesus, in His death on the cross blotted out the old law, fulfilled it, and nailed it to His cross (Colossians 2:14).

    Jesus lived a perfect life (under the old law) and died perfect. Jesus did not destroy the old law, but rather He fulfilled it. Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah that would come. Jesus brought the new covenant (as promised in the Old one). Once the Old Law was fulfilled, it was no longer in effect (Galatians 3:23-25).

    Some early Christians struggled with the concept of the old law being done away. They had lived under the old law their entire lives and it had been engrained into their thinking. Some of these early Christians tried to follow Christ and yet still hold to the old law. Paul addresses these Christians in Galatians 5:1-4. Paul told them not to be entangled again in the yolk of bondage (the old law). He tells them that if they follow parts of the old law, then Christ is of no effect to them (Gal 5:2). He tells them that if they follow ANY of the old law, they must follow ALL of the old law (Gal 5:3). He tells them that if they follow and seek justification under the old law, that they are fallen from grace.

    So the old law is no longer in effect. We are not under the old law. We do not keep the old law...even in part. Why then do we have the old law? What is the purpose of the old law? Is it of benefit to us today?