The Relationship of the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-22, 31).

Anyone who believes a person alive today must keep the Ten Commandments to go to heaven has been erroneously taught about the relationship between the Law of Moses and the gospel of Christ.

Though the Law and the gospel both reveal the righteousness of God, each is a distinct entity. Just as new wine and new wineskins are different from old wine and old wineskins (Mark 2:22), so is Christ’s gospel distinct and unique from the Law of Moses.

The Law forbade murder; the gospel forbids the unrighteous anger which spawns it (Matthew 5:21-22). The Law condemns adultery; the gospel condemns the lust which spawns fornication (Matthew 5:27-28) and unauthorized divorce (Matthew 5:31-32). The Law denounces swearing falsely; the gospel demands you to be a person of your word at all times (Matthew 5:33-37). Clearly, there is a difference. The gospel contains higher standards of righteousness for God’s people.

The Law and the Prophets were witnesses of the gospel. They foreshadowed and predicted the Christ and His gospel—the “glad tidings of good things” spoken of in Isaiah 52:7. Like the apostles who were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry and resurrection (Acts 1:21-22), the Law and the Prophets were integral to God’s plan. They are credible and trustworthy witnesses in proving that Jesus is the Christ. But, like all the other witnesses, they are neither the Christ nor His gospel.

The Law and the gospel are not at odds with one another. They are not enemies or antagonistic to one another in any way. Jesus fulfilled the Law—every jot and tittle of it (Matthew 5:17). This does not make the Law useless. It has served its purposes: its holy commandments plainly exposed the utter sinfulness of sin (Romans 7:13) and it brought us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

The Law served its purposes honorably and completely. It gave the gospel an impregnable, righteous foundation for Christ to build His church. Like a well-built house, the gospel rests securely upon the divinely revealed Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses is: a different entity than the gospel, a witness to the gospel, and a foundation for the gospel. This is what the Scriptures teach concerning the relationship of the Law of Moses and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Author: jchowning

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