Does a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ have to keep the “Law/law” in order to:  get saved (become a Christian), stay saved (remain a Christian)get to heaven (have eternal life), or become a good Christian?

The answer is absolutely, “No”!

Some terms need to be defined and/or clarified.

“Law/law” is a term employed around 200 times in the Bible and signifies the revealed will of God with respect to human conduct. It includes all the Divine commands and principles for regu­lating man’s moral life without and within. It is used in different senses in the Bible. Such as:

(a) the requirements of human government for those people under its jurisdiction (i.e., Esther 1:8, 13, 15, 19).

(b) the Divinely instituted rule of life for the Israelites in Israel. The Law of Moses included the commandments, ordinances/judgments, statutes/decrees, and testimonies/stipulations (i.e., Deut. 6:1-3, 17; 1 Kings 2:3). It regulated the Israelites moral, social, and religious life in Israel.

(c) the entire Old Testament (i.e., in Rom. 3:19, “Law” refers to the quotes found in verses 4-18, which come from various parts of the Old Testament, such as from Psalm 51:4; 14:1-3; 53:1-4; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; Isaiah 59:7f), (i.e., in Jn. 12:34, “Law” refers to what is said about Christ in Isa. 9:7; Ezek. 37:25; Dan. 7:14), (i.e., in 1 Cor. 14:21, “Law” refers to what is said in Isa. 28:11f).

the entire Old Testament except for the Prophets (i.e., Matt. 5:17; Acts 13:15; Rom. 3:21).

the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament – i.e., Lk. 24:44).

(d) a governing and operating principle (i.e., Rom. 3:27; 7:21, 23; 8:2).

Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 646;  The New Bible Dictionary, p. 721.

“Covenant” – when used of God’s relation to man, is a term meaning – a promise on the part of God to arrange His providences for the welfare of those who should render Him obed­ience (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 224).

–  a clear statement of God’s purposes and intentions expressed in terms that bind God by solemn oath to perform what He has promised (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 194).

–  the human response to the Divinely announced purpose is always important, lead­ing as it does to blessing for obedience and discipline for disobedience (The New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 5).

The “first” covenant (Heb. 8:7, 13; 9:1, 15, 18), “old” covenant (Heb. 8:13), and “Mosaic” covenant (Heb. 8.9) are all the same covenant (Heb. 8:7-9, 13; 9:18-20).

The “first”/”Mosaic” covenant regulates the personal, social, and religious life of Israel (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18). God will bless each generation of Israelites if they keep His laws and discipline each generation of Israelites if they break His laws (Ex. 23:20-33; 19:5, 6; Deut. 7:9 – 8:20; 11:8-28; 28:1-68; 30:1-20). This covenant was renewed at different periods of Jewish history (Deut. 29; Josh. 24; 2 Chron. 15:23, 29, 34; Ezra 10; Neh. 9, 10). It was the constitution of the nation of Israel. It was based on human effort, not on promise, for its performance.

The “second” covenant (Heb. 8:7), the “new” covenant (Heb. 9:15), and the “better” covenant (Heb. 7:22; 8:6) are all the same covenant  (Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 243).

The “new” covenant includes the promised eternal forgiveness and transformation of God’s peo­ple based on Christ’s shed blood (Heb. 8:10, 12; Matt. 26:28; Lk. 22:20). This new covenant took effect when Jesus died on the cross for the payment of the believer’s sins (Mk. 14:24; 1 Cor. 11:25). The new covenant takes the righteousness that was expressed in the law (old/Mosaic covenant – Rom. 7:12) and supernaturally infuses that righteousness into the very character of the believer – Rom. 8:3-4; Heb. 10:10, 14-17. Thus, Hebrews quotes the Old Trstament foreview (Jer. 31:33-34) as something that is now through Christ, our (Christians) own (Heb. 10:10, 14, 18).The new covenant is to be fulfilled eschatologically (at the end of this earth’shistory – during the Millennium) with repentant Israel (Heb. 8:8), but participated insoteriologically (through salvation) by the Church/Christians today (Heb. 10:10-18) – (The New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1317).

Though the new covenant is specifically focused on Israel (Heb. 8:8), its blessings are extended to all Christians from the time of Jesus’ death (Lk. 22:20; 2 Cor. 3:6).

(a) an inner inclination to obey God – Heb. 8:10.

(b) a firm relationship with God – Heb. 8:10.

(c) the personal knowledge of God – Heb. 8:11.

(d) the forgiveness of sins – Heb. 8:12.

The 10 Commandments are included in or synonymous with the first/Mosaic/old covenant (Ex. 34:27-28; Deut. 4:13).

The 10 Commandments are included in or synonymous with the Law (James 2:10-12; Rom. 13:8-10).

The Mosaic covenant (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 5:2-3) is the same as the Mosaic Law or law (Deut. 4:8, 44-45; 5:1).

The law (Deut. 4:44-45) is the same as the Law of Moses (1 Kings 2:3).

Now, let’s see why the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ need not keep the Law/law to be saved, stay saved, get to heaven, or be a good Christian.

First, the law/Mosaic Law or covenant was for the Israelites (Ex. 19:1-6; 20:2, 22; 21:1; 24:3; Lev. 26:13-16, 46; 19:1-5; Deut. 5:1-3; 2 Kings 21:8; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4) living in the promised land of Israel (Deut. 4:14; 6:22-24; 12:8-9; 11:31-32; 5:31) and not for the Gentiles in the world (Ex. 19:4-6; Deut.7:1-8; 13:11; 14:2, 21). Aliens living in the land of Israel, however, were obligated to keep the law also (Num. 9:14-15; 15:14-16, 29-30; 19:10; Deut. 29:10-12; 31:12; Lev. 16:29; 17:12, 15; 18:26).

Second, the law/covenant (Mosaic) was meant to be temporary and was to end with the death of Jesus Christ (Jer. 31:31-32; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:1-9; 7:11-22; Lk. 16:16; Eph. 2:13-16; 2 Cor. 3:5-14; Gal. 3:16, 19; Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:13-14).

Third, justification/righteousness/sonship/salvation are obtained not by keeping/obeying the law/Mosaic Law or covenant, but by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16; 3:2-26; 4:4-5; 5:4; Rom. 3:20-28; 4:1-5; 6:14; 7:4-6; 9:30-32; 11:6; Acts 15:1, 5-11; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5; Gal. 4:21-31).

Fourth, sanctification/spiritual growth/progressive holiness or being a good Christian is gained by being controlled and led by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18, 22-23; Rom. 7:6; 8:2-4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:20).

Fifth, love for God and people is to be the guiding principle in living a holy/righteous life as a Christian, and in fact, fulfills/carries out/fully meets or is the essence of the Law (Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Cor. 16:14; Col. 3:14; Matt. 22:38-40).

2 Cor. 3:7, 11 – “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses be­cause of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? … And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!”

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3, page 1078, it states, “not only did the glory of Moses’ face go away, but … the law of Moses itself is now abolished; that dispensation was only to continue for a time, and then to vanish away; whereas the gospel shall remain to the end of the world.”

In Charles Hodge’s 1st & 2nd Corinthians, page 239, it states, “’was fading away’ refers to the temporary character of the old covenant – the 10 Commandments (vss. 3, 7); it was being abolished.”

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