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What’s the Believer to do with The Law?

Jer 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
Jer 31:32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
Jer 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The Law and the Prophets

The above phrase is indicative and inclusive of the entire Old Testament. Or if you wish Old Covenant since that’s what testament means. It would be quite simple of me to go right out and state the following: We live in New Testament times, therefore we live under the New Testament/Covenant if I left it at that this would be a rather short post so I’m not going to do that. What I am going to do however is look at whether or not we’re still beholden to the Ten Commandments or our now under something much better.

The Mission of Jesus Christ

Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Mat 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Mat 5:19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-19

This seems to fly right in the face of the passage from Jeremiah doesn’t it except for one huge issue the root word for commandments in Matthew 5:19 is not the same as the root word for The Ten Commandments, or the law.

Commandments in Matthew 5:19 is entole, which means teachings.
Commandments or Law in the ten Commandments comes from, nomos, where we get the word nomenclature.

When Jesus came He was born a Jew, under the law, He had to fulfill the law perfectly He had to fulfill the nomenclature to the smallest Jot and Tittle, if you will, or He could not have been either the God Man or perfect.

So when then was everything fulfilled…everything about the law and the prophets was fulfilled on the Cross at Calvary!

Joh 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Telestai! It is finished! All has been fulfilled, everything is complete, Jesus cannot possibly do any more He has fulfilled the law and the prophets. He has perfectly fulfilled the Old Covenant, in fact the Bible describes it as being nailed to the cross.

But let’s back up for a moment; let’s be certain we know what the Old Covenant was.

The Old Covenant

Jer 31:32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:32

Well let’s see it looks like we have to go back to just after the Israelites were liberated out of Egypt by the mighty hand of God. Where did Moses lead the Israelites to through the desert?

Exo 19:1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
Exo 19:2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain,

Exodus 19:1-2

He led them to the base of Mount Sinai, and what happened at Mt. Sinai?

Exo 19:3 while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel:
Exo 19:4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
Exo 19:6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Exo 19:7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him.
Exo 19:8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.

Exodus 19:3-8

The Israelites entered into a Covenant with God. And what were these words that were part of the Covenant between God and Israel?

Exo 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Exo 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Exo 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Exo 20:13 “You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 “You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Exodus 20:1-17

Well look at that the old Covenant is in fact the Ten Commandments.

Now the Old Covenant was put on Tablets of stone…and set in the Ark of the Covenant.

So if we were to be able to look into the Ark of the Covenant, we would find three articles or things these were there; a pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and The Ten Commandments. Now the Israelite’s weren’t told to follow Aaron’s rod, or worship the pot of manna, but they were bound in Covenant to the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are the Old Covenant!

And yet Jeremiah says under the guidance of the Holy Spirit AKA GOD that:

Jer 31:32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.

The New Covenant would not be like the Old Covenant!

In other words God said that He would be changing the Ten Commandments!

Now before you get upset let me just note this, God is God, He can do whatever it is that He wants to do.

So let’s go and discover the New Covenant.

The New Covenant

Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Mat 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Mat 5:19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-19

Here in Matthew we’ve just had the teaching of the Beatitudes, and then Jesus makes this statement and the words these commandments are right there. To the Legalist they mean one thing The Ten Commandments, but here Jesus is NOT talking about the Nomos…or nomenclature of the Law and the Prophets but is preparing those listening for his TEACHINGS…Entole.

If you pay attention to the context He’s about to start His sermon. And what a sermon! Here’s two seemingly impossible to follow gems:

Mat 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’
Mat 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Mat 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
Mat 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28

Now remember that Christ has not been crucified yet He has not said Telestai, it is finished, but here He is already teaching about the New Covenant.

Wait…what…how can He say these things and possibly mean them!?

If you’re angry with anyone you’ve committed murder, if you lust over someone of the opposite sex you’ve committed adultery with him or her!

This seems impossible to all who are listening simply because it is impossible, Christ has not been crucified and the Law with Him. This New Covenant is far more incredible and difficult to follow than that Old Covenant, if the Old Covenant was broken even BEFORE Moses came down with the first set of tablets with the Commandments on them how on earth can God expect us to keep these!

Also remember that in the Old Covenant sins could NOT be eradicated and forgotten, they pretty much got looked over once they were placed on the Scapegoat. And the scapegoat was sent out of the camp to wander and die.

Christ on the Cross

Christ on the cross took all of the sins that have ever been committed past, present and future for all time upon himself. He suffered from the focused, wholly perfect wrath of the Father on that Cross against the sins of all humanity. It was on the Cross that Jesus called His Father Lord instead of Father. It is also on the cross where the Old Covenant was also crucified and the New Covenant began.

When we accept God into our lives through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, by a gift of Grace through our faith, we are seen as dead IN CHRIST.

Since Christ perfectly fulfilled the Old Covenant He replaced it with a better one in our very hearts. He took out our hardened hearts and gave us new and living ones. The teachings of the New Covenant were written in our hearts as promised in Jeremiah and again in Hebrews. And by the sealing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can be transformed and conformed into the likeness of Christ.

We will however never be perfect on this earth, we will make errors, we will sin. Yet the Lord promises that He finishes what He starts.

In the New Covenant we are under His Teachings and a pair of new commands:

1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind.

2: Love others as I have loved you.

In Conclusion

Nearly 2,000 years ago the author of Hebrews through the leading of the Holy Spirit said the following:

Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:6-13

Verses 12 and 13 are absolutely amazing, under the New Covenant He remembers our sins no more, and He makes the first one obsolete.

It was growing old 2,000 years ago folks…as Christians we are under the New Covenant.

In Christ,

Ross

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