Read: Matthew 22:37-40
Change can be confusing. Today we review a really BIG concept, and a huge change that still confuses many Christians. So stay focused. First, a few basics:
1) God made a covenant with Abraham and Sarah to be God’s people.
2) About 700 years later God gave “the law” to Moses, also called a covenant.
3) About 1,500 years later Jesus offers Communion calling it the new covenant.
Now some important facts about “the law”. The Bible has many references to “the law” and that phrase is used in three different ways; that’s really important to know.
First, “the law” often refers to the Ten Commandments.
Second, “the law” could refer to the whole Torah (the first five books of the Bible), which has 613 laws, including the Ten Commandments.
Third, “the law” could refer to the Torah, AND the Mishna and Talmud, which are separate “books” that are commentaries on the Torah written by rabbis.
Why is this important? Because the Bible appears to contradict itself if you don’t take this information into account. For example, Jesus says (Matthew 5:17-18) 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Jesus seems to be referring to the Ten Commandments, and not all 613 laws of the law of Moses.
Paul says in Ephesians 2:15, “He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances,..” Paul tells us that the promise made to Abraham and Sarah is the covenant that still matters, not the law given by Moses. Faith and grace has replaced the law and our attempts at works righteousness (see Galatians 3:24-29).
After Jesus began the New Covenant, the law was no longer needed; that’s why we don’t keep the Kosher food laws and many of the other 613 laws. Those laws no longer apply. The Ten Commandments always pertain. Jesus and Paul use the word “law” in two different ways. Jesus simplified the covenant, and taught that the spirit of the law and prophets are fulfilled through loving God and loving others.
Shalom, Pastor Rob