III. What is the character of the Law? Are there different parts to it, or is it one unified Law?

How does Scripture view the Law of Moses? The Bible portrays the Law as a single unified code of standards. There are not several parts to it. It is one Law. There are several kinds of Laws that may be categorized, however that does not do away with the fact of the unity of the Law.


1. The Scriptures view the Mosaic Law as a single unit. All 613 commandments are a single unit that makes up the Law of Moses.

James 2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Gal. 3:10 – For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.

2. The Law is one unit. A common practice is to divide the Law into three sections: moral, civil and ceremonial commandments.

Those who divide up the Law like this feel that a believer is no longer obligated to the civil or the ceremonial aspects of the Law, but they believe that the believer is obligated to keep the moral commandments in the Law of Moses.

This is a convenient way to divide them up for the purpose of studying the different kinds of commandments, but the Word of God never separates them this way. One cannot keep one part of the Law and not the rest.

IV. Is the Mosaic Law operative in our day? If so, how much of it must be obeyed? If it is not operative, does that mean we are presently without any Law? What is the current status of the Law?


Doesn’t the fact that 9 of the 10 commandments being carried over into the NT prove that at least part of the Law is still in effect?

We know that the civil and ceremonial aspects of the Law cannot be followed, but what about the moral aspect?

If part of the Mosaic Law (the Moral Law) is to be kept by NT believers, how do we reconcile the Bible’s teaching that the Mosaic Law was only given to Israel and not to the other nations, nor to the Church?

Since the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative, does that mean that there is no use for the Law at all? No, the Law still has the power to reveal the holy character of God and the sinfulness of man. There continues to be value in teaching the Law and the Ten Commandments since they are in the Bible and as such are profitable, II Tim. 3:16

1. The clear teaching of the NT is that all the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative as a result of the death of Jesus.

Rom. 6:14-15 – For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

Rom. 10:4 – For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

2. NT believers have died in Messiah, therefore making the Law ineffective. Laws of any kind have no binding effect upon someone who is dead. They mean nothing. This is Paul’s primary point in the beginning of Romans 7.

Rom. 7:1-7 – Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from  the law concerning the husband… Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of the Messiah, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

It’s interesting that Paul uses a commandment that’s from the  “Moral Law” (You shall not covet.) to prove his point that we are no longer under the Law. If we were still under the “Moral Law” it seems that he would not have used a commandment from the “Moral Law” to prove that we are no longer under the Law.


1. The Mosaic Law was never meant to be permanent, but only temporary.

Gal. 3:19 – Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.

But, someone might ask, “What about Matthew 5:17-19?”

Matt. 5:17-19 – “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Mosaic Law did not end with His life, but with His death.  As long as Jesus was still alive, He was under the Law of Moses. His statement in Matt. 5:17-19 was made while He was still alive. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” the Mosaic Law became inoperative. When Jesus died, all the Law was accomplished and therefore no longer needed. To repeat, since the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative, does that mean that there is no use for the Law at all? No, the Law still has the power to reveal the holy character of God and the sinfulness of man. There continues to be value in teaching the Law and the Ten Commandments since they are in the Bible and as such are profitable, II Tim. 3:16

2. Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchizedek, required a new Law. He could not function under the Law of Moses as a priest.

Heb. 7:11-18 – Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of Him, Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek. For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness.

Jesus, being a priest after the order of Melchizedek, could not function under the Law of Moses, because He was not from the tribe of Levi. Therefore, a new Law was required. As such, there was no longer a need for the Law of Moses to remain in effect.

3. The Mosaic Law was the middle wall of partition spoken of by Paul that is now broken down.

Eph. 2:14-15 – For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.

The Law of Moses, which has caused enmity between Jewish people and Gentiles has been rendered inoperative. In Christ, Jewish people and Gentiles are one and because of Jesus, there is now peace between both groups. The hostility between Jewish people and Gentiles has been destroyed. This was accomplished by making the Law inoperative.

Harold Hoehner- “Since the whole Mosaic Law has been rendered inoperative for Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ, it is a false dichotomy to distinguish between the moral and ceremonial laws making only the ceremonial laws inoperative. Christ is the end of the whole law for believers, Rom. 10:4, and we are no longer under that pedagogue, Gal. 3:25.  In fact, we have died to the law, Rom. 7:1-6. Does this mean that there are no laws in the Mosaic law that the believer today is obligated to obey? Only those that have been reiterated in the NT. We are under the new covenant and the old covenant has been done away. We are now under the Law of Christ.”

To summarize, the entire Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative. The Law is still in Scripture and can be used as a teaching tool to show God’s standards as well as man’s sinfulness.  It can be used to teach many spiritual truths. However it has completely ceased to function as an authority over a believer in Christ.

Since the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative, does that mean we are without any Law? Can we simply do as we please as believers? If the Law of Moses is no longer in effect, what Law is in effect?

V. Does the New Testament speak of a new Law that the believer is under as opposed to the Mosaic Law? Yes! It is called the Law of Christ.

Gal. 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

Rom. 8:2-4 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not  do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.


1. The Mosaic Law and the Law of Christ contain many similar commands

One reason there is so much confusion in the minds of many about the relationship of the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ as found in the New Testament is because many commandments are similar to each other. 

Nine of the ten commandments are carried over into the Law of Christ from the Law of Moses. However, they were not carried over as a continuation of the Law of Moses, but as the new Law of Christ. That’s because the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative.

2. Our focus should be on the commandments that are found in the Law of Christ

The Law of Christ contains all the individual commands of Jesus and the Apostles that are applicable to Christians.   They are found in the New Testament. Just as the Law of Moses was only given to a specific group, the Jewish people, the Law of Christ has been given to a specific group of people, true believers is Jesus.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 15:10 – If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.

1 John 2:3-4 – And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 3:24 – And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 5:3 – For this is the Love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

1 Cor. 9:19-23 – For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Here is an example of the confusion that arises by trying to make the Law of Moses apply to the present day Church. Deut. 22:5

Deut. 22:5 – A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

First, if we are going to try to use Deut. 22:5 to forbid the wearing of pants by women, what else does chapter 22 have to say? In other words, you can’t just pull out one verse and neglect the others.

Deut. 22:5 – A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

Deut. 22:11 “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.

Second, what kind of clothes were being worn when this command was written? They both wore robes. No one wore pants back then.  The point is, wear clothes that are made specifically for your gender.

What does the Law of Christ have to say about clothing? What command do we find that will give us some instruction? After all that is what we as believers are under.

1 Tim. 2:9-10 – Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.

1 Pet. 3:3-4 – And let not your adornment be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

What if a true believer freely chooses to keep parts of the Mosaic Law? Is that ok?

He is free to do so, but he must keep several things in mind.

There is no salvation by keeping the Law.

There is no sanctification produced by keeping the Law.

One must not insist that other believers keep the same Laws.

In conclusion, the Law is a wonderful thing that God gave to Israel.  Many helpful lessons can still be learned from it, even though it has been rendered inoperative. This is true for all believers. It should be read, studied, preached from, used during evangelism and used as a means to see the holiness of our great God. However, we must realize that any attempt to keep the Law of Moses to try to obtain salvation will not work. We must also keep in mind that the Law cannot produce sanctification in the life of a believer.

The Law today for believers is the Law of Christ. By His grace and for His glory, we must strive to obey it, then we will be doing what He desires.