- Are Christians under the Old Testament Law and therefore obligated to keep it?
- Do Christians have to keep the Old Testament commandments in order to keep or maintain their salvation?
- Do Christians have to try their best to obey the 10 commandments in order to go to heaven?
These are the three questions that will be answered in this article.
First, what was the purpose of the Law?
Romans 3:19-20; 7:7 It was to make people aware (knowledgeable) of sin (their sin).
Galatians 3:19 It was to curb or restrain man’s transgressions (sins) by showing man that he was breaking God’s Law which would incur His wrath (1 Tim. 1:9-10; Rom. 6:23).
Galatians 3:24 It was to be our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. [The Law was tutor in the sense that it showed people the impossible standard of conduct necessary to attain for righteousness, so as to point people to Christ for that righteousness (salvation) by faith in Christ Jesus].
The “Law” is the Law of Moses – consisting of the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17); the judgments stipulating Israel’s social life (Ex. 21:1 – 23:33); and the ordinances directing Israel’s worship (Ex. 25:1 – 31:18).
Second, was the Law ever intended to give life to anyone?
Galatians 3:21-23 No, the law could never impart life.
Galatians 3:10-14; James 2:10; 1 John 1:8, 10 No, because you’d have to be perfect (sinless) from birth, and no one is (except Jesus).
Romans 8:1-4 No, because it was weak through the flesh (our sin nature).
Third, are Christians under the Law (or have to keep the law to be righteous or to maintain their salvation)?
Romans 10:4 No, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Romans 6:14-15; John 1:17 No. Christians are not under law, but under grace.
Galatians 3:16, 19 No. the Law’s purpose was only until Christ (the seed) should come (who would die for our sins).
Galatians 3:23-25 No, the Law’s purpose was to lead us to Christ. But now that faith (in Christ) has come, we (Christians) are no longer under a tutor (the Law).
Luke 16:16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John (the Baptist); since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached (showing the Law’s purpose is over).
Galatians 3:1-3; Ephesians 1:13; Romans 8:9 Christians received the Spirit of God at conversion (when they believed), and not by keeping the Law. Now that Christians are saved to eternal life, they will be perfected (grow in spiritual maturity) by the Holy Spirit, and not by the flesh (working at holiness through human effort) through Law keeping.
Romans 7:4-6 Christians are dead to and have been released from the Law because of Jesus Christ’s death (for our sins).
Hebrews 8:6-7, 13; 2 Corinthians 3:2-14; Ephesians 2:14-15 Believers have entered into a new covenant (agreement) with God and the first or old covenant (Mosaic Law – Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13) has become obsolete and abolished.
Fourth, is salvation, perfection, or justification based on keeping the Law or New Testament commandments (other than to believe in Christ as Savior)?
Acts 15:1, 5-11 No, just by faith in the gospel.
Romans 3:19-30 No, just by faith in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:4 No.
Hebrews 7:11-25 (especially Heb. 7:11, 18-19, 22) No.
Hebrews 10:1 No, it can never make anyone perfect.
Fifth, since Christians are not under the Law, can they eat what they want? Worship whatever day they want? Or, give however much they want (to the church or whomever)?
Acts 10:10-15; 11:9 Yes, all food is clean to eat now.
Romans 14:1-14 Yes (unless what you eat causes another Christian to stumble in sin).
Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 4:3 Believers automatically keep the Sabbath rest of God perpetually because of their salvation experience through faith in Christ.