The Law of Christ


"The perfect law of liberty" vs. religious legalism


1. Salvation is purely by grace, not works:

                Rom.3:28                A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law

                Eph.2:8,9                By grace (undeserved mercy) are ye saved through faith; it is the gift of God: Not of works

                Tit.3:5a   Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us

A. Salvation is not partly by grace & partly by good works:

                Rom.11:6                If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace

B. Salvation was always by grace, even in the Old Testament:

                Gen.6:8   But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord

                Gen.15:6 (Abraham) believed in the Lord; & He counted it to him for righteousness (See also Rom.4:3,5-8,21,22)

                Hab.2:4   The just shall live by his faith

                Heb.11:13               [Old Testament saints] all died in faith...having seen (the promises) afar off...& were persuaded of them

C. Scrupulously keeping the Mosaic law never saved anyone:

                Jn.1:17    Law given by Moses, but grace & truth came by Jesus

                Rom.3:20                By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified

                Rom.9:31                Israel, which followed after the law...hath not attained unto the law of righteousness

                Gal.2:16  A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ (See also Gal.3:11)

                Heb.7:19 The law made nothing perfect, but...a better hope did


2. What was the Mosaic law?

A. It was a legal code that God gave Moses upon Mt. Sinai:

                Exo.24:12                The Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount...& I will give thee a law...[to] teach them

                (See also Exo.31:18; 32:15,16,19; 34:1,28.)

B. It was a strict code of justice & retribution:

                Exo.21:23-25          Thou shalt give life for life...eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand...burning for burning

                Heb.10:28               He that despised (broke) Moses' law died without mercy

C. The ten commandments were not merely "helpful moral guidelines", but strict laws carrying the death penalty:

                Exo.20:2,3               (1) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me [Death penalty: Exo.22:20; Deut.13:1-18.]

                Exo.20:4,5               (2) Thou shalt not make any graven image (Death penalty same as (1). See also Lev.26:1,30; Deut.4:23-26.]

                Exo.20:7  (3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain [Death penalty: Lev.24:10-16]

                Exo.20:8-10            (4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy [Death penalty: Exo.31:14,15; 35:2.]

                Exo.20:12                (5) Honour thy father & thy mother [Death penalty: Exo.21:15,17; Lev.20:9; Deut.21:18-21.]

                Exo.20:13                (6) Thou shalt not kill (murder) [Death penalty: Exo. 21:12; Lev.24:17,21; Num.35:16-31.]

                Exo.20:14                (7) Thou shalt not commit adultery [Death penalty: Lev. 20:10; Deut.22:22.]

                Exo.20:15                (8) Thou shalt not steal [Punishment: Exo.22:7; Pro. 6:30; death penalty: Exo.21:16.]

                Exo.20:16                (9) Thou shalt not bear false witness [Punishment &/or death penalty: Deut.19:16-21]

                Exo.20:17                (10) Thou shalt not covet anything (of) thy neighbours'

                Gal.4:21  Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

D. The ten commandments were only the beginning; Moses' law contained hundreds of other commandments:

                Deut.27:26             Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them (See also Gal.3:10 )

                (See also Deut.4:13,14a)

E. It was impossible to avoid guilt or to keep the whole law:

                Jam.2:10 Whosoever shall keep the whole law, & yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all


3. The law served a purpose only for a time:

                Gal.3:19  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions till the Seed (Jesus) came

                Gal.3:23  Before faith came, we were kept under the law

                Heb.9:10 Carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation

A. It was merely a copy, a shadow, of the real thing:

                Col.2:16,17             Sabbath days...are a shadow of things to come; but the body [the reality that casts the shadow] is Christ

                Heb.8:5   The example & shadow of Heavenly things

                Heb.9:8b,9             First tabernacle...a figure for the time then present

                Heb.10:1 The law (had) a shadow of good things to come, & not the very image of the things

                1Jn.2:8    A new commandment...because the darkness is past, & the true light now shineth

B. The law was impossible to keep:

                Jn.7:19    Did not Moses give you the law, & yet none of you keepeth the law? (See also Acts 7:53)

                Acts 15:10             A yoke upon the neck...which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear

                Rom.7:14-19           The law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. How to perform that which is good I find not

C. This showed man he was a sinner in need of grace:

                Rom.3:20b              By the law is the knowledge of sin

                Rom.7:7  I had not known sin, but by the law

                Rom.3:19                That...all the world may become guilty before God

                Gal.3:24  The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ

                (See also Rom.4:15)

D. The old law was unprofitable & eventually to be replaced:

                Rom.8:3  What the law could not do, in that it was weak

                Heb.7:18 There is verily a disannulling of the [Mosaic law]...for the weakness & unprofitableness thereof


4. Atonement (payment) for breaking the law:

A. Because men constantly broke the law, forgiveness was needed, & a blood sacrifice was required:

                Lev.4:1-4                If a soul shall sin...against the commandments of Lord ...bring a (bull)...kill the (bull) before the Lord

                Lev.17:11               It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul

                Heb.9:22 Without shedding of blood is no remission

                (See also Lev.6:2,3,6,7; 16:3,5-11,15-22.)

B. But this never permanently freed man from sin:

                Heb.10:1-4,11        It is not possible that the blood of bulls & of goats should take away sins...can never take away sins

C. But Jesus made a perfect & permanent sacrifice:

                Mat.26:28               This is My blood...which is shed for remission of sins

                Heb.9:7-14             By His Own blood...obtained eternal redemption for us

                Heb.9:25-28a         Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many

                Heb.10:10-12         We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all

                1Pet.1:18,19           Ye were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ

                1Jn.1:7b  The blood of Jesus Christ...cleanseth us from all sin

                (See also Jn.1:29; Rom.5:9.)


5. The new law, the law of Christ:

A. God promised a new law to replace the old Mosaic law:

                Jer.31:31-33            The days come that I will make a new covenant...I will ...write (My law) in their hearts

                Heb.8:7-10             Finding fault with (that first covenant), He saith, I will make a new covenant

B. Names of the new law:

                A new covenant (Jer.31:31); the law of faith (Rom.3:27); the law of the Spirit of life (Rom.8:2); the law of righteousness (Rom.9:31); the law of Christ (Gal.6:2); the new testament (Heb.9:15); the perfect law of liberty (Jam.1:25); the royal law (Jam.2:8); the holy commandment (2Pet.2:21).

C. Jesus' death on the cross fulfilled & ended the law:

                Mat.5:17 I am not come to destroy (the law), but to fulfil

                Jn.19:30  (Jesus) said, It is finished [When He died for our sins, the Mosaic law ended for believers]

                Rom.10:4                For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth

                Col.2:14  Blotting out [wiping the slate completely clean of] the ordinances (the law)...nailing it to His cross

D. The old Mosaic law is now discarded (for believers in Jesus):

                Heb.8:13 He hath made the first (covenant) old. That which decayeth & waxeth old is ready to vanish away

                Heb.10:9 He taketh away first (law), that He may establish second

                Heb.8:6   A better covenant...established upon better promises

E. True believers are no longer bound by the rigid Mosaic law:

                Rom.6:14b              Ye are not under the law, but under grace

                Gal.3:24,25             The law was our schoolmaster. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster

                1Tim.1:9 The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless...ungodly...profane...murderers< /p>

F. Jesus has liberated us from the Mosaic law:

                Rom.7:4  Ye...are become dead to the law by the body of Christ

                Rom.7:6  Now we are delivered from the law

                Rom.8:1,2               The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin & death

                Gal.3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law

G. Jesus' Spirit & truth gives us freedom:

                Jn.8:36    If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed

                2Cor.3:17                Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty

                Gal.5:1    The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free

                Gal.5:5    Through the Spirit...hope of righteousness by faith

                Gal.5:18  If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law

H. Read Jesus' liberating Words to be set free:

                Jn.8:31,32               Ye shall know the truth, & truth shall make you free

                Rom.10:17              Faith cometh by hearing...the Word of God

                Jam.1:25 Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, & continueth therein...shall be blessed in his deed


6. Now the commandment is to love God & our neighbour:

A. This fulfils the law, & fulfils your only obligation:

                Mat.7:12 All would that men should do to you, them: for this is the law (See Lk.6:31)

                Mat.22:36-40         Thou shalt love God...thou shalt love thy neighbour. On these two commandments (depend) all the law

                Rom.13:8                He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law

                Rom.13:10              Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law

                Gal.5:14  All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

                Jam.2:8   If ye fulfil the royal law... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well

                (See also Mk.12:29-31)

B. Deeds done in pure, unselfish love are lawful:

                Gal.5:22,23             Fruit of the Spirit is love...against such there is no law

                1Cor.6:12                All things are lawful unto me (See also 1Cor.10:23 )

                Tit.1:15a Unto the pure, all things are pure

                Lk.11:41b               Behold, all things are clean unto you

C. But you have to have faith for your actions:

                Rom.14:14              To him that esteemeth (thinks) any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean

                Rom.14:22              Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth

                Rom.14:23              He that doubteth is damned (judged)...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin

                Tit.1:15b Unto (the) defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure


7. Living the new law:

A. In some ways, the law of Christ is stricter than Moses' law:

                Mat.5:38-42           [Exo.21:24 said:] An eye for an eye, & a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, resist not evil

                Mat.5:43-45           [The law] said, Love thy neighbour, & hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies

                Lk.10:25-37            Thou shalt love...thy neighbour as thyself. Who is my neighbour? [Even those you'd normally dislike]

                Jam.4:17 Him that knoweth to do good & doeth it is sin

B. Only Jesus can give you the power to live His law:

                Phi.2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will & to do of His good pleasure

                Phi.4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me

                2Cor.5:14a              The love of Christ constraineth (compels) us

                2Cor.12:9                My (God's) grace is sufficient for thee


8. Warnings against misusing the new law:

A. Selfish, unloving liberties:

                Rom.14:15              If thy brother be walkest thou not (in love). Destroy not him with thy [liberty]

                Rom.14:20              All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence

                1Cor.6:12                All things are lawful...but all things not expedient

                1Cor.8:9,12             Take heed lest...this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak (See 1Cor.8:all)

                1Cor.10:23              All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not

B. Walk in love, not in lust & sin:

                Rom.6:1,2               Shall we...sin, that grace may abound? God forbid

                Gal.5:13  Use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another

                1Pet.2:16                As free, & not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God

                (See also Rom.3:8; 14:all; 15:1,2.)


9. Beware of falling into religious legalism:

A. The concision: Believers still bound by the law:

                Acts 21:20             Many thousands of Jews...which believe (in Jesus); & they are all zealous of the (Mosaic) law

                Phi.3:2,3 Beware of evil workers, beware of the concision

                (See also Acts 15:1,24; Gal.6:12,13; Rom.2:28,29.)

B. Don't be entangled again by the law:

                Gal.3:1,3 Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

                Gal.5:1    Stand fast therefore in the liberty...& be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage [to the law]

                Col.2:20-22             If ye be dead with Christ...why are ye subject to ordin-  ances...the commandments & doctrines of men?

C. Legalism is self-righteousness & denies Jesus' sacrifice:

                Rom.10:3                Going about to establish their righteousness, have not submitted unto the righteousness of God

                Gal.2:21  If righteousness come by the law, then Christ (died) in vain (for no reason) (See also Gal.5:4)

D. The law can't save you or make you righteous:

                Acts 13:39             By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law

                Rom.9:31,32           Israel, which followed after the law...hath not attained to the law of righteousness

                Phi.3:3-9 Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ

E. Those who attempt to obey the law are under bondage:

                Gal.3:10  Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things

                Gal.4:21-31             [The allegory of the two covenants, one of freedom, the other of bondage]

                Gal.5:2-4 [Who tries to keep the law] a debtor to do whole law

                Jam.2:10 Whosoever shall keep the whole law, & yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all


10. Trying to legalistically keep the law is not God's will:

A. Legalists completely miss the main issue:

                Mat.15:2-6             Why do Thy disciples transgress tradition of elders? Ye transgress commandment of God by your tradition

                Mat.23:23               Woe! For ye pay tithe of [tiny spices but] have omitted weightier (more important) matters...mercy & faith

                Mat.23:24               Ye...strain at a gnat, & swallow a camel

                Mk.7:6-8 Their heart is far from hold the tradition of men, [such] as the washing of pots & cups

                Jn.5:8-11 [Jesus told a lame man, Take up thy bed & walk. The legalists ignored the miraculous healing & told him it was not lawful to carry his bed on the Sabbath]

B. Legalism is a crushing weight to those it is imposed upon:

                Mat.23:4 They bind heavy burdens & grievous to be borne, & lay them on men's shoulders

                2Cor.3:6b               The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life

C. The solution: Walk in God's love & Spirit:

                Mic.6:8   What doth the Lord require of thee, but mercy, & to walk humbly with thy God?

                Jn.6:63a  It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing

                Rom.7:6  We should serve in newness of spirit, & not in the oldness of the letter [of the law]

                2Cor.3:6a                Not...the letter [of the law], but of the Spirit

                Gal.6:2    Bear one another's burdens, & so fulfil law of Christ


11. Even under the Mosaic law, God's love & mercy prevailed:

A. God always wanted love & mercy more than legalism:

                Hos.6:6   I desired mercy, & not sacrifice; & the knowledge of God more than [sacrifices] (See also Mat.12:7)

                Mic.6:6-8                Shall I come before Him with...offerings? What doth the Lord require of thee, but mercy

                Mk.12:33                To love Him with all the heart...& to love his neighbour... is more than all...offerings & sacrifices

                (See also Deut.10:12; 1Sam.15:22; Psa.40:6; 51:16,17; 69:30,31; Isa.1:11-16; Jer.7:22,23.)

B. He allowed exceptions & the Mosaic law to be broken:

                2Chr.30:1-3            [King Hezekiah celebrated the passover in second month, in stead of first--Exo.12] (Also Num.9:1-11)

                2Chr.30:16-18a      Many in the congregation were not sanctified...yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written

                2Chr.30:18b-20      Hezekiah prayed, The Lord pardon every one...though he be not cleansed. The Lord hearkened to Hezekiah

                Mat.12:5 On the Sabbath days the priests...profane the Sabbath, & are blameless (See also Jn.7:22,23)

                Mat.12:1-4             David...did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat (See 1Sam.21:6)

C. Even the highly religious, those bound by the law, broke it:

                Exo.31:14,15           [The Mosaic law:] Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death

                Mat.12:11               [They pulled their sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath]

                Lk.13:15  [All of them led their ox or ass away to watering then]

                Jn.7:22,23               Ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man

D. Certainly then, we who are not bound by it, can break it:

                Mat.12:10-13         It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days [even if it means breaking the Mosaic law]

                Lk.13:11-16            Ought not this [freed] on the Sabbath day?

                Jn.7:22-24               [If ye break the Sabbath, why] are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man whole on the Sabbath day?

                (See also Jn.9:14-16)


Key chapters: Rom.3,4,5,7,9,10,14; Gal.2-5; Heb.3-11.



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