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The following is a section of Chapter 9 of the book Sabbath in the New Testament by Samuele Bacchiocchi, PhD, noted Biblical researcher. 

Chapter IX
Questions About the Sabbath in the New Testament
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,
 Andrews University


Does not Paul clearly teach that Christ "abolished in his flesh the law of commandments" (Eph 2:15) and consequently believers "are discharged from the law" (Rom 7:6)? Does not this mean that a person who accepts Christ is released from the obligation of observing the law? 


A Double Concept. This question, like the previous one, ignores the fact that Paul speaks about the law both positively and negatively. He says not only that Christ "abolished" the law (Eph 2:15), but also that He "establishes" it (Rom 3:31); not only that "we are discharged from the law" (Rom 7:6) about also that "the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good" (Rom 7:12); not only that "a man is justified by faith apart from the law" (Rom 3:28) but also that "neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God" (1 Cor 7:19). 

Different Contexts. The proposal I have submitted and discussed in chapter VI is that Paul's contradictory statements about the law can be explained by recognizing the different contexts in which Paul speaks of the law. When he speaks of the law in the context of salvation (justification—right standing before God), he clearly affirms that law-keeping is of no avail (Rom 3:20). On the other hand, when Paul speaks of the law in the context of Christian conduct (sanctification—right living before God), then he maintains the value and validity of God's law (Rom 7:12; 13:8-10; 1 Cor 7:19). For example, when Paul speaks of the various forms of human wickedness in 1 Timothy 1:8-10, he explicitly affirms "now we know that the law is good" (v. 8). 

Three times Paul states: "neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision" and each time he concludes this statement with a different phrase: "but keeping the commandments of God . . .but faith working through love . . . but a new creation" (1 Cor 7:19; Gal 5:6; 6:15). The parallelism suggests that Paul equates the keeping of God's commandments with a working faith and a new life in Christ. The very purpose of Christ's coming, Paul explains, is so that "the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us" through the dynamic power of His Spirit (Rom 8:4). 

The Christian, then, according to Paul, is not under law as a means of salvation, but is under the law as a revelation of God's ethical standards for his life, because Christ has abolished the law as a method of salvation but has established it as a standard for Christian conduct. 

The above piece from a biblical scholar shows that "law" is important to any true Christian. Keep in mind that oftentimes, when Paul and others are referring to the "law," they are talking about the sacrificial laws that Christ's sacrifice did away with, but NOT the spiritual laws of God... i.e. commandments and spiritual principles.

Scriptures that clearly show that God's law is active and vital for salvation:

Matt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Matt 19:17 And he said to him, Why callest you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt 22:37 Jesus said to him, you shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like to it, you shalt love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go youabout to kill me?

Acts 21:24 Them take, and purify yourself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning you, are nothing; but that you yourself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess to you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified

Rom 2:23 you that makest your boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest you God?

Rom 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know younot, that to whom youyield yourselves servants to obey, his servants youare to whom youobey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that youwere the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Rom 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.

Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

If the Law of God has been "nailed to the cross," why does God tell us clearly that when Christ returns to this Earth to rule, that SAME law will go forth to the rest of the world?

Isa 2:3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion (Jerusalem) shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people;

Mic 42 Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off;

God repeats this twice for us and tells us that His Holy law, which is active today, will continue after Christ returns, and will go out and be the rule by which the nations are judged and corrected. Today, we would do well to realize that if Christ's death truly "did away with God's laws," then why would they be back, and going out to the physical people and nations after Christ's return?

God's law is a reflection of His mind and character, as it is of Christ. We are to be conformed, BY obeying God's LAW, and with God's spirit working in us, into the very image and character of Christ. The law of God stands now and will abide forever (in reflection of action and thought) because God abides forever, and God's law simply reflects His mind!

Free Booklet "The New Covenant" explains this issue in greater detail - PDF format/download.

See also Grace

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