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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is the Believers Obligation to the Old Testament Law?

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Don Stewart
The believer in Jesus Christ is not obligated to follow the ceremonial law of the Old Testament. This has been done away with by the death of Christ.

Dead To The Law

Before Christ came, humanity was under the law of God and was a slave to sin. Believers are now under grace and are slaves to Christ and His righteousness. The old nature was crucified with Christ making the believer dead to sin but alive to God. Therefore the believer is not obligated to follow the law.

You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace (Galatians 5:4).


Many of the rules and regulations set down in the Old Testament are for the nation Israel. The Bible says the Law was a shadow of things to come:

Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths. which are a shadow of things to come but the substance is Christ (Colossians 2:16,17).


Jesus came to fulfill the law.

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).

The requirements of the law were satisfied in Him.

And you being dead in you trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven all you trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14,15).

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace (Ephesians 2:15)

New Testament Laws

The New Testament commands us to fulfill certain laws. Jesus said the greatest commandment:

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Matthew 22:37,38).
Royal Law

James calls this the royal law:

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well (James 2:8).

Law Of Christ

The New Testament speaks of the law of Christ:

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Law Of Liberty

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty (James 2:12).

James speaks of this law as the word of God. Thus the Christian's duty is to obey the Bible in the commandments that it gives.


We conclude that the believer is not expected to keep the Mosaic law. However, there are commandments that Christ has given us that are to be obeyed.

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