The Old Testament Law

I felt the Lord leading me to research the Law and its application to us as Christians today. This is a compilation of what I have been finding. So much of our understanding of the rest of Scripture is heavily influenced by our understanding of the OT law and how it applies to us. Come along with me as we explore God’s word for the truth!


Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

So right off, Jesus did not come to destroy the law, rather to fulfill it. Now let’s look at Romans 7:4-8:4 one section at a time:

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

When we become Christians we are accepting Christ as an atonement for our sins and we are then under His New Covenant – i.e. the commands Christ has given us in the New Testament – and He makes us dead to the OT law. It is of no effect to us.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The OT Law in the definition of sin for non-Christians. They will be judged according to the Old Covenant because they have not accepted the New Covenant.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So the law is still in effect, but for us as Christians if we follow Jesus and walk is the Spirit (8:2), we are freed from the OT law. He makes so that we are not judged by it. The OT law is called a law of sin and death not because it is bad or wicked, but because it is the definition of sin and the cause for death in hell for those that don’t walk in the Spirit and follow Christ.

1 Timothy 1:8-10 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

The Law is good. It is the dividing line between a righteous person, and an ungodly person. God put the OT law into effect so that those who were not following Him could be condemned. The law was not made for a righteous person. When we accept Christ’s gift of salvation, God forgives our sins, and we are made righteous. The OT Law is then of no effect to us, and we no longer are judged by it.

Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Verse 19 shows us that there are still people under the law. It is present tense. This was written after Jesus had died and risen and had abolished the law for us as Christians. The law is still in effect for non-Christians. It has to be so that things that are sin are sin. Without the OT law there would be no definition of what sin is – as it says “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Part of the reason for the existence of the OT law is so that non-Christians can have knowledge of what is sin, and they have no excuse on judgment day.

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 6:14-16 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

We as Christians are not under the law and will not be judged by it. Instead, we must follow and obey Christ. Otherwise we are living for the devil. Romans 6:14-16 totally bucks the once-saved-always-saved doctrine. It says we are not under the Law but under God’s grace. However, it goes on to say that it is still possible for us to sin and if we do we are headed towards death.

Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 9:29-33 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

The law has always been a stumbling-stone since it was first put in place. It is still a stumbling-stone today for many Christians that think it still applies to them.

Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

When Christ came to earth and died for our sins, He ended the law for those that follow Him and live in the Spirit. However, notice the last four words of vs. four. It says that the law is ended to every one that believes. The law is not over for non-Christians.

Hebrews 7:11-19 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

If we were to take this passage by itself, we could come to the conclusion that the Law of Moses is done, over, and gone. However, in light of the rest of the passages that we have been studying I believe what God is saying is that the OT law is disannulled, or canceled, for those that walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 3:10-13 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

This is the sad part. Professing Christians that hang onto the law and try to do the works of the law are under the curse of the law. This is perhaps why we see them reaping some of the same consequences as non-Christians. Christ was made a curse to save us as followers of Him from the curse of the law. Even in the OT times and prior, one did not become righteous by keeping the Law – it was impossible to do so.

Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Can it be said any plainer? A spiritual Christian is not held accountable to the OT law.

So, if we are not under the Old Testament Law, is the Old Testament irrelevant to us and therefore we should not bother even reading it? No!

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

All scripture – including all of the OT – was inspired by God. In fact the New Testament as we know it today didn’t even exist at the time this passage was written. Therefore, there is much we can learn from the OT:

  • What our Heavenly Father is like. How He created the world, etc.
  • Timeless facts that God gives such as in Proverbs 22:6 it says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” By this we know that if children do not turn out as upright Christians, then they were not trained as they should have been. The next verse is another example: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
  • A couple verses prior is a verse that is an example of another angle. Proverbs 22:4 “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” To understand this for NT Christians, we have to take into account that we are not part of an earthy kingdom. This verse is still true for us, but is talking about a heavenly reward rather then an earthly.
  • The prophecies in the OT have not all been fulfilled. They are there for us to learn from, and they also are a testimony of what God has done.

We as Christians do not need to be under the OT law and its curse and bondage. Christ came to earth and took the curse on Himself in our place and we can be free from that law and be under the New Covenant. Because of this, we need to follow the commands Jesus has given us out of love to Him.

Non-Christians however, are still under the Old Covenant and will be held accountable to it on judgment day. When this is taken into account, it shows the reason why removing the Ten Commandments from schools, and legalizing wickedness such as abortion are being met with God’s wrath. The US has tried to kick God out of its society, and they will reap the consequences.


Additional study:

Galatians 2:1 – 5:6

Hebrews 7:1 – 10:22