The Law in the New Testament - by Richard Vaughn
The Law in New Testament Times
by Richard Vaughn


– Everyone who will ever be saved is saved by God’s grace through their faith in what Jesus has done for them. No one before the cross and no one since the cross; have ever been saved by keeping the law. Obedience to God’s law is evidence of one’s love relationship to God.

There were Five Laws in effect in the time of Jesus prior to the crucifixion:

1. The Natural Laws
– Fixed laws such as gravity, laws of physics, laws governing the solar system, etc.;
2. The Civil Laws
– Laws of the land which govern human behavior, laws and ordinances protecting citizens;
3. The Dietary or Health Laws
– Laws regarding health which violation of could lay the foundation for disease;
4. The Law of Moses
– Laws and ordinances which pertained to sacrifice, feasts and religious ceremonies;
5. The Law of God
– The moral law as found in the Ten Commandments.

Four of these laws are in effect today and one was nailed to the cross.

In the New Testament, the word law is used when speaking of both the Law of Moses and the Law of God. To eliminate all confusion, it is necessary to know which law is referred to in any passage of scripture.

4 Proof texts of two Divine laws - Our focus today

Deuteronomy 33:2,4; "And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, ...from his right hand went a fiery law for them." "Moses commanded us a law, ..."
Deuteronomy 4:13,14; "And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone." "And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it."
Nehemiah. 9:13,14; "Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:" "And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:"
2 Kings 21:8 "Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them."

The Distinctions between the Two Major Divisions of Divine Law

God’s Ten Commandment Law

Written by the finger of God – Exodus 31:18
Written on stone – Exodus 32:16
Placed inside the ark (Permanent) - Deuteronomy 10:1-5
Called the Ten Commandments - Deut. 10:4
Holy, just and good – Romans 7:12
Permanent – Psalm 111:7, 8
Moses Ceremonial Law

Written by Moses – Deuteronomy 31:9
Written in a book – Deuteronomy 31:24
Placed in the side of the ark (Temporary) – Deuteronomy 31:26
Called the book of the law - Deuteronomy 31:26
Against us – Colossians 2:14; Deuteronomy 31:26
Temporary (Nailed to the cross) - Colossians 2:14

FACT - The book of Galatians deals primarily with the Law of Moses. It begins with the subject of circumcision. Galatians 3:10 makes it clear which law is the basis for Paul’s letter.
10. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
Then Galatians 3:24 states, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,…" Only the law of ceremonies and sacrifices were written in a book and they were our schoolmaster pointing us forward to Christ.

Question- Does Ephesians 2:15 pertain to the Ten Commandments?
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;"
Ordinances are requirements regarding religious festivals, feasts, sacrifices and ceremonies. There are no ordinances in the Ten Commandments, however ordinances are found all through the law of Moses.
2 Chronicles 33:8 "Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses."

FACT - There are no ordinances in the Ten Commandments.

Jesus instituted the ordinances of humility (the foot washing) and the ordinance of communion. They, along with the ordinance of baptism, are part of the New Covenant.

In Ephesians 2:15 Paul is speaking about the dissension which created the bitter feelings (enmity) between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians, primarily over circumcision, however they wanted them to keep the feast days as well. The wall of partition, verse 14, is what separates and Jesus in His death, has abolished or slain the enmity verse 16, by nailing the Law of Moses to the cross.

Question- Does Colossians 2: 14-17 teach that God’s Law ended at the cross? "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
1. Handwriting was done by Moses – Leviticus 26:46 "These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses."
2. No ordinances in the Ten Commandments.
3. Was against us; contrary to us – Deuteronomy 31:26 "Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." There is nothing against us in the Ten Commandments. In fact Paul said God’s law was holy and just and good in Romans 7:12. This was many years after the cross.
4. Meat or in drink – Has nothing to do with what people ate or drank. It was specifically pertaining to the offerings in ceremony. Leviticus 23:13 The meat offering is not flesh food, it is a fine flour mixed with oil. The drink offering was wine. It was usually offered with the animal sacrifice. See verses 16, 18 and 37. See also Numbers 28 and 29 for numerous mentions of meat and drink offerings.
5. Sabbath days – Since verses 14-16 has pertained to the Law of Moses, the reference to Sabbath days cannot refer to the Sabbath of the 4th commandment in the Law of God. Notice it is plural, Sabbath days. They pertain to the seven yearly Sabbath days in Leviticus 23:5, 6, 11, 15, 24, 27 and 34. They are Passover; Feast of Unleavened Bread; Wave Sheaf (First Fruits); Feast of Weeks (Pentecost); Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah); Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Ingathering). These annual Sabbath days pointed forward to Christ while God’s seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment points back to creation. Obviously the Law of Moses pointed to Christ and ended at the cross.

Question - So what is the purpose of God’s Law?
Answer - To point out sin.

Romans 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Romans 7:7 "What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."

Question- What then is SIN?
The Bible clearly defines what sin is and what the penalty for sin is.
Definition: 1 John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Sin is breaking God’s law!
The Penalty:
Romans 6:23
"For the wages (payment) of sin is death;"
James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Breaking one we break all ten. We know James was speaking of the Ten Commandment law by reading the next verse 11. In verse 12 James calls the 10 Commandments the law of liberty. One is truly free who keeps God’s law, not to be saved, but because they are saved.
The REMEDY for sin
John 1:29
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Does this mean we do not have to obey the law? NO! Verse 15 answers that, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."

Question- What does it mean to be “under the law?" Romans 3:19 "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
Those who choose to sin, transgress the law, are under the condemnation of the law, which is the penalty of death, and are therefore guilty before God and in need of a Savior. Breaking the commandments is what it means to be "under the law"; under its penalty. Those who are obedient to the law are not under the law, but are covered in Christ’s righteousness and are therefore innocent before God.

Consider how foolish it would be to believe God’s moral law; the Ten Commandments were done away with. Since sin is the transgression of the law, if the law were abolished, then there would be no sin. If there were no sin, we would not need a Savior. Paul makes it clear that the Ten Commandments have not been done away with for he states in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." And that includes every man from Adam to the end of probation when Jesus makes the pronouncement in Revelation 22:11. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
He further states in Romans 3:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."

Question- What has Jesus taught us regarding the Ten Commandments?
Matthew 5:17-19,
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Rephrasing Jesus tells us He did not come to destroy or do away with the law or the prophets. The law is eternal and the prophets prophesied His first advent. He did come to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, and as our example, proved that we can keep it with Jesus living in us. He is so specific that until heaven and earth pass (which has not happened yet) not one jot (dotting of an i) or one tittle (crossing of a t) will pass from the law. Then He warns that whoever breaks one or teaches that it is okay to break any one of the ten, will be called the least in heaven, which means that person will not be there. This means that every one who teaches it's no longer necessary to keep the 4th commandment seventh day Sabbath; Jesus says will not be in heaven.

Obedience to God’s law is a matter of love to God. It was Jesus on Mt. Sinai that wrote them and said in the second commandment Exodus 20:6 "…And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
And it was Jesus in John 14:15, 21 who said "If ye love me, keep my commandments." "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

Paul said in Romans 2:13, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

John stated in Revelation 22:14 "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

Question- How important is it to keep the commandments?
Our eternal life hinges on who we believe. God has made the matter very clear. Satan would have us believe we can’t keep the law. Jesus kept the Ten Commandments in His humanity and daily sought the power from above to meet that days temptations. He did not use His divinity for His own benefit. He is our example in all things and daily we can seek that same power to overcome every temptation.
Jude 24 states, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen."

The most powerful statements regarding our obligation to keep God’s commandments were made by John in 1 John 2:3, 4, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

God’s remnant people of the last days will be commandment keepers.
Revelation 12:17; 14:12 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

Comparison of God and His Law

Good - Luke 18:19
Holy - Isaiah 5:16
Perfect - Matthew 5:48
Pure - 1 John 3:2, 3
Just - Deuteronomy 32:4
True - John 3:33
Spiritual - 1 Corinthians 10:4
Righteousness - Jeremiah 23:6
Faithful - 1 Corinthians 1:9
Love - 1 John 4:8
Unchangeable - James 1:17
Good - 1 Timothy 1:8
Holy - Romans 7:12
Perfect - Psalm 19:7
Pure - Psalm 19:8
Just - Romans 7:12
True - Psalm 19:9
Spiritual - Romans 7:14
Righteousness - Psalms 119:172
Faithful - Psalms 119:86
Love - Romans 13:10
Unchangeable - Matthew 5:18

God’s Law is a transcript of His very character.


Satan hates God and he hates you; he hates God's law, and in particular he hates God's 4th commandment; the command to keep holy God's seventh day Sabbath.
4 times Jesus warned about deception in the last days and he has almost the whole Christian world rejecting God's Sabbath the seventh day, in favor of the child of the Papacy, the first day, Sunday, which is really Satan's counterfeit Sabbath.
It all comes down to who you are going to worship. Satan, the dragon, gave the Papcy its power, seat and authority and in the 4th century, it changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.
The test for Adam and Eve was a tree. The final test to this last generation will be over which day you will keep. Will it be God's Sabbath and receive His seal or will it be the counterfeit Sabbath Sunday and receive the mark of the beast? It's your choice, but make no mistake, the Ten Commandments are in effect until heaven and earth pass. Read Jesus' words one more time in Matthew 5:17-19. ""Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."