What's New
Escaping the Cults
Current Trends
Bible Doctrines
Bible Explanations
 To Discern - selah
Emergent church
Latter Rain
Law Keepers
Word Faith
Popular Teachers
Pentecostal  Issues
Trinity / Deity
World  Religions
New Age  Movement
Book Reviews


Tracts for witnessing
DVD Video
Web Search
 Persecuted Church

up               to date Religious News                       What is happening throughout the World





Are we to keep the law under the new covenant of grace?

There are biblical explanations based on the totality of Scripture that have a person understand the differences in the covenants, some are based on particular words used in the greater context of Jesus' explanations.

Mt. 5:17-19: What is Jesus’ intent when He stated, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

The Law Keepers interpretation is that the law is still necessary to live by. In the greater context of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is contrasting his correct interpretation of the law with the Pharisees’ wrong interpretation.

The Pharisaic traditions destroyed the law because they reinterpreted the law, not presenting it in the way Moses had intended.

As long as Jesus was alive He had to keep the Law the way it was written by Moses, by the Scripture he wrote. Jesus did exactly that, this is one of the reasons why the Pharisees could not accuse him of sin.

By Jesus’ perfect obedience, He fulfilled all the law’s requirements, consequently, he was able to take upon himself the penalty and the curse of the law on the cross. With his dying, he rendered the law inoperative for the believer (Rom.10:4-5; Heb. 8:13).

Today saying we must keep the Old Testament Law because of requirement of the law Moses wrote is to ignore the work that Christ did in our place, and reject living by the New Testament covenant.

The meaning of the word “fulfill” is what is needed to be understood.

What fulfilled does not mean is to continue or reinforce. Matthew consistently used the word fulfill in a specific manner - once something is fulfilled completely, (not in type) there is not a future fulfillment to look for. (Matt. 5:19 (fulfilled) means: to be completed…

He quotes Isa.7:14 for the fulfillment of the virgin birth. Where the Messiah was to be born (Mic. 5:2); there is no waiting for this to reoccur again in the future. This is how the word fulfill is used. To fulfill something means to bring it to a completion (Gr. teleos). It is used consistently in this way throughout Matthew’s gospel (Mt. 2:17, 23; 12:17; 13:13, 35; 27:9, 35). Following are a few examples:

Mt. 2:15: “and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Mt. 8:17: “ hat it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

Mt. 21:4-5: All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Mt. 26:56: “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled . Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

All the Scriptures that Matthew writes about being fulfilled means a completion of something that was prophesied or written and Jesus fulfilled it, bringing it to its end, having what was spoken to come to pass.

Paul who was once a law keeper writes, Rom. 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” By trusting in Christ’s work the law is fulfilled (completed for us).

Christ is the End of the Law; the Greek word used is telos which means termination or goal. Once Jesus died and rose again, the believer was to abide by the Law of Christ (not the law of Moses).

Commands were either given directly by Jesus (Acts 1:2) or through the apostles after the resurrection in the epistles. The law was replaced by what is new; all the Old Testament types and shadows were replaced by the light (Yeshua) the one who gave them to us.

Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, to bring it to its natural conclusion and completion. The law is non-operative for a believer, it is put aside. Though it is still used for the unbeliever, 1 Tim. 1:8-9 “we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully (correctly), knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, he then lists a variety of sins to give examples.

Heb. 8:12-13 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (After the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ the new covenant is installed).

Obsolete – Gr. palaioo from 3820; to make (passively, become) worn out, or declare obsolete: KJV-- decay, make (wax) old.

Hebrews 8:13 Perfect active indicative of palaiooo (NT:3774), an old verb from palaios (NT:3772) (in contrast with kainos (NT:2502), fresh, new), to treat as old and out of date. The conclusion is to the point. “(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)

The author explains that the Old Testament system of Law under Moses was already about to vanish before the new covenant of grace replaced it.

The law’s original recipient was strictly Israel (The Jews, unless one converted). The New Covenant recipients are both Israel and the Gentiles.

The Old Testament Law clearly is not our reference point under grace. Jesus becomes the instructor in the New Covenant through the Holy Spirit.

We are told to keep New commandments, under the new law of faith. the 'perfect law of liberty' (Jas. 1:25), the 'royal law' (Jams. 2:8), the 'law of Christ' (Gal. 6:2), the 'law of the spirit of life' (Rom. 8:2).

Jesus’ last words before he left are found in Mt. 28:20: “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus after the resurrection continued with the apostles for 40 days giving instruction, the significance is that this is the same amount of time Moses was on the Mountain of Sinai receiving the commandments from God.

We find in Acts 1:2-5: “Until the time he was taken up after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles he had chosen.”

There are moral laws, God expects Christians to keep in the New Covenant that have always been with mankind. The biblical view is that believers are not required to observe the Old Testament Mosaic Law.

Jesus was not teaching them the same thing he had taught them prior to his crucifixion; these were new instructions through a New Covenant. In the Old Covenant, some commands are specific and are one-time events. Some are temporary such as the sacrifices and Levitical priesthood; others still continue. Some are to certain individuals, still others are to the whole Church.

For example, Jesus did not tell the disciples to stop sacrificing animals during the time they were still under the law before His resurrection.

However, after he died as the sacrificial lamb, the veil was rent, His sacrifice was understood as ‘once for all’, they no longer were to continue with sacrificing animals. Yet it is not recorded that he did explicitly tell them to discontinue sacrificing after His resurrection.

So when Mt. 28 states to observe all things that I have commanded you, it must mean and include what he spoke to the disciples after His resurrection, which explains why he remained with them for 40 days, in order to give them new commands, not ascending to heaven immediately after His resurrection.

The whole Old Testament law revolved around the Temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices. The law was in the ark of the covenant and the book of the law testified against the people. Only the high priest could enter the temple once each year. The high priest acted as the mediator for the nation, all these were part of the mosaic system of the Old Covenant that came to an end. They were done away with by the last sacrifice, (Jesus Christ) who was the high priest.

God made this point when He ripped the veil when Jesus died (Heb. 10). The whole old covenant that was fading away, came to an abrupt end.

The new way is through Jesus Christ crucified without any of the functions of the Old Covenant practices. Today we do not need access to his commandments from the Temple by Levitical priests. It is from the presence and the person of Yeshua himself, he indwells the believers.

We are under the new law of Christ, NOT the Law of Moses. He did not polish up the Old Testament laws to shine better. The moral laws continue, reaffirmed in the New Testament because they preceded the Law of Moses (you shall not murder, no adultery, no lying or stealing), etc. These moral laws were related to man’s moral nature. Mankind was originally created in the image and likeness of God, God incorporated a moral likeness within mankind’s nature that would be passed on, which of course was corrupted (Rom. 5:12).

The Sabbath was not a moral law, it was the seal of the Old Covenant, just as the person of Jesus and his work on the cross has baptism as the seal of the New Covenant.

The new covenant is not a mixture; it is not an improved version of the Old Covenant. It is based on the permanent work of the God/man’s death for mankind’s sin.

The Pharisees who rejected Jesus held onto the law of Moses, but even the Pharisees who believed in Jesus found difficulty transitioning into grace (Acts 15:5). But those who found Christ to be their all in all-in-all found life in the new covenant he made; they happily left the old for the new and were able to live by it without struggling.



Copyright (c) 2023 The material on our website can be copied and used in its original format Portions lifted from articles can be reproduced for ones personal use for witnessing or for teaching and apologetics.  Any other use, such as posting is to have the permission of Let Us Reason ministries. 

If you have trouble printing an article please copy the web page. Highlight the text first - then click copy -  then paste the article into a word program on your computer.


We would like to hear from you. Please send us  an e-mail and let us know how we can be of any help.   Our time is just as valuable as yours.  Please keep in mind, that we only have time to answer sincere inquiries. We will use discretion in answering any letters.