PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
According to Galatians and the Acts 15 Church Council, the Law of Christ has been nullified and replaced by “the Law of Christ.” However, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” The purpose of this article series is to explain this apparent contradiction:
- A summary of the article series is available at, Does Galatians contradict Jesus?
- The first article shows that, according to Galatians, the Law of Christ replaced the Law of Moses.
- The second article partly solves this inconsistency by arguing that The Old Testament foresaw that the Law of Moses will fall away.
- The third article took this further by showing that Jesus’ teachings did replace the Old Testament commandments.
- This fourth and final article explains the nature of The Law of Christ.
All quotes are from the NASB.
THE LAW OF CHRIST
THE DIVORCE LAW
Jesus’ teaching on divorce in Matthew 19 helps to explain the distinction between the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ. When asked about the provisions for divorce in the Law of Moses, Jesus said:
“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE …
What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Then they asked Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND HER AWAY?” He answered:
“Because of your hardness of heart
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives;
but from the beginning
it has not been this way” (Matt 19:3-9).
“The beginning” refers to Adam; Adam did not receive Moses’ divorce law. For both divorce and the seventh day, where Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27), Christ reached over the Law of Moses to derive His elevated principles or laws from the way that things were created to be. (See, Jesus taught a different Sabbath.)
“Your hardness of heart” is equivalent to Israel’s “transgressions” of Galatians 3:19. This confirms that the Law of Moses, which was only received after thousands of years of human existence, was an adaptation of God’s law to fit Israel’s weakened spiritual condition.
He added, “what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” This serves as an example of how Christ canceled the Law of Moses and reverted to God’s eternal law.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Christ’s teaching on divorce implies that the Law of Christ is God’s law as it existed “from the beginning.”
ALL OF CHRIST’S TEACHINGS
Jesus’ final words to His disciples were, “make disciples of all the nations … teaching them all that I commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20). “The Law of Christ,” therefore, refers to the collection of all of Christ’s teachings.
CONDENSED INTO ONE SINGLE COMMANDMENT: LOVE
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, He mentioned two: Love for God and love for your neighbor (Matt 22:37-38). However, in His teachings, He condensed the moral laws of the Old Testament into one single rule, namely love for one’s fellow human beings:
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 7:12).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34; cf. 1 John 2:7-9; 2 John 1:5).
Because this was Christ’s command, Paul refers to it as “the law of Christ” in Galatians 6:2 and beautifully interprets that commandment as “bear one another’s burdens.”
The “Law of Christ,” therefore, is essentially simply ‘love for one another’, which is only possible if we love God. We are no longer able, as under the Law of Moses, to make a list and say, I have not lied or stolen or killed or committed adultery today.
Since all that God wants from us is obedience based on love, obedience purely out of acceptance of God’s authority is no obedience at all. Authority is what caused all this suffering we experience on earth. Lucifer had authority over all the angels, and he used that authority to lead many away from God. Paul, therefore, wrote that “even if … an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Gal 1:8). The only obedience which God accepts is obedience because we agree with His laws and because we love Him, and, therefore, love other people.
BASIS OF ETERNAL LIFE
The Ten Commandments translate God’s eternal principle of love in terms of the practical realities of a world controlled by evil. Take, for instance, the commandment not to kill. It is based on God’s law—to love the people around you as much as you love yourself—but with man’s fallen nature in mind. The Ten Commandments, therefore, are but a dim reflection of God’s original and eternal law.
Christ brought us back to God’s fundamental and eternal rule for eternal life on this planet; love for one another. (Will in not be wonderful to live in a world where all people love one another?)
There are several apparent contradictions in the Bible, such as the one this article deals with, or predestination versus free choice. I have found that all of these things that seem to be contradictions can be solved, but then we must be willing to delve deeper. We tend not to go deep enough in our search for truth. In the end-time, it will not be good enough to know the truth, for miracles will prove us wrong (Rev 13:14). To remain standing for the truth in the end-time, we must know that we know the truth.