Some of the Basics
At times I receive email that takes issue with my views on subjects that you will find at this site. In my response I will refer to a misunderstanding of the law of God, what was added, and the actual contract that makes up the new covenant.
Here is part of my response to an email that had asked about that.
The answers to the questions you asked are really relatively simple. However the answers require one to rethink quite a bit of what we were taught. This will require that you study the basics all over again. If you are indeed a true Bible studier who places scripture above church doctrine that will help, but it may take a while for you to work through all the "what abouts" like it did me.
The scripture teaches that something was added 430 years after the promises made to Abraham. (If something was added then there had to be something already in place.)
The question is what was added? Hebrews explains it well, but before going into that let me show you a couple of details that are often missed.
Genesis 26:5 "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
One Sunday school several years ago, our first Sunday at a local church of Christ, the teacher stood up and said, "There was no law before Moses." So I quoted Genesis 26:5. He looked at me funny and repeated what he had just said intending to go on. My wife stopped him and read the verse. He looked at her and then said it again and intended to go on. Someone on the other side of the room stopped him and said, "We need to deal with what they just said." At that point you could feel the tension in the room. So I quickly gave an answer in one long sentence. He went on to teach his lesson, but without repeating the main point of his entire lesson.
I could have also asked him what Moses was teaching the people two chapters before the Ten Commandments were given.
Exodus 18:16 "When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws."
Now if one understands one particular thing about our God it is helpful to know that there is not one single law that God has made that is arbitrary. They all are there for very specific reasons. They constitute His morals. We also know that God does not change. We can count on Him that something that is righteous today has always been and always will be righteous. We can also say that something that is sin today always has been and always will be sin. Our God does not change what is sin and what is right because to do so changes God.
Every law of God has statutes to explain the law and has judgments to enforce the law. For example, there is no explanation in the new testament as to what constitutes murder. We find the definition in the Old Scriptures.
So I have shown two of several verses that show that God's law pre-existed the giving of the law of Moses. Actually it was just finally written down (for a specific reason). However there were those additions. What was added?
Hebrews explains it well. The two things that did not exist as regulated laws before Moses and are fulfilled or satisfied by Christ are the following.
I am sure that you remember the verses that explain that in Hebrews. The article "The Perfect Law of God" states this as well.
So then if our God truly does not change then the rest of the law that does not include sacrifices and a priesthood is still valid today. That is the part that will take some time for you to deal with as you study the scriptures. If you are like me I had to figure out how to deal with a number of verses. When you do it helps to go to the Greek or Hebrew. Remember also that the sum of God's word is truth.
I know a church of Christ preacher who counted up all the verses that appear to do away with the law in the new testament. The count was 27. Then he went through the new testament and counted verses for the "other side". That count included verses like the following and came to 34, I think.
1 Timothy 1:8 "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully".
That verse begs the question, "If the law is all done away then how can one use it lawfully?"
Now for the actual contract that makes up the new covenant. It was first promised in Jeremiah 31:33 and is repeated in Hebrews 8:10 and Hebrews 10:16
..."I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
The word law comes from the Hebrew word torah. This is not taught in most churches regardless of the name out front. God said that His new covenant is His law written on our hearts rather than on stone. He made it easier for us to know His law because it is now a part of our nature.
There is more to this, but that is basically the answer to the question. There is more at this site for more explanation. The best place though is of course scripture.
Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (See Luke 24:44 below.)
What did Christ fulfill?
Luke 24:44 "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
Christ fulfilled what was prophesied about Him.
So there you have it. Christ did not do away with, complete, finish or destroy the law of God. He did do what the law and prophets said about Him. He did not replace the law with one of his own. Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ can not oppose God and give us his law instead. Christ also never taught against the law while here on this earth. To do so would have made him a sinner. How can one improve on perfection? You can not!
So what was nailed to the cross?
Colossians 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."
If you take a close look at the word handwriting in the verse above you will find that it is translated from the word cheirographon. According to Mr Strong this means "something hand written ("chirograph"), that is, a manuscript (specifically a legal document or bond (figuratively))"
Notice the word bond. What was nailed to the cross was our debt of sin and that was what was against us.
Psalm 19:7 "The Law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making the simple wise.
Feel free to send your helpful comments.