THE LAW OF CHRIST
David L. Odom
Many are being taught today that we are no longer under law, but instead are only under grace!
But what do the inspired Scriptures say?
I Corinthians 9:21
"to them that are without law to God, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law."
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
Yes, there is a law we are under today! That law is also called:
the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus -
Romans 8:1, 2
"1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death."
the perfect law -
"But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."
the law of liberty -
James 2:12; 1:25
2:12; "So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty."
1:25; "But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."
the royal law -
"If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well."
the law of Faith -
Roman 3:27, 28
"27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law."
Remember that the context here is dealing with the law of Moses (Romans 2ff), and that the law of faith is the New Covenant, the New Testament, the new law that is dealt with in Hebrews 7, 8, 9, and 10
Other terms used in the New Testament for this Law we are under today:
The Faith -
Roman 1:5; 16:26, 27
1:5; "through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of (to the) faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake." 16:26; but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of (to the) faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen."
"The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith."
"strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith..."
"So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily."
2 Corinthians 13:5
"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?"
"If indeed you continue in the faith, firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister."
The Gospel -
I Corinthians 15:1, 2
"1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain."
Romans 1:16, 17
"16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'But the righteous man shall live by faith'."
"on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus."
"6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
The Doctrine (teaching) of Christ -
I Timothy 1:8-10
"8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching (doctrine)."
I Timothy 4:6
"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine (teaching) which you have been following."
I Timothy 6:3-5
"3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine (teaching) and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine (teaching) conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain."
2 Timothy 3:16, 17
"16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching (doctrine), for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 4:2-4
"2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (teaching); but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."
2 John 9
"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching (doctrine) of Christ, does not have God the one who abides in the teaching (doctrine), he has both the Father and the Son."
The Truth -
Colossians 1:5, 6
"5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;"
"but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation."
"In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."
I John 1:6
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth ."
All of the above Scripture's show us that we are under law from God today, which tells us that we must be obeying that law in order to be well pleasing to God!
But there are those who say:
“Why do some insist that Christians are ‘under law’ today?
We are not under law, but grace.
The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus (Jn. 1:17).”
John 1:17 is dealing with the two systems of Divine revelation that God has given to man in written form; "...the law was given through Moses..." was the law of Moses for the Jews; and the Law of Christ (Grace and Truth), for all of mankind!
The book of Hebrews deals extensively with these two covenants, or testaments:
Hebrews 7, 8, 9, and 10
Did you know that the Law of Moses was "a shadow of the good things to come..." Hebrews 10:1.
The Law of Moses was also a 'tutor' or 'schoolmaster' through which we could be brought to Christ Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles!
Jeremiah prophesied about this:
This passage was quoted by God through the inspired writer in -
This is why we read in Hebrews 10:9: "then He said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will.' He takes away the first in order to establish the second." The context shows us that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, but verse 10 tells us: "By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Actually, there was a change in the priesthood by God, which meant that there had to be a change in the Law!
Hebrews 7:11, 12
Christ Jesus is now our high Priest under this new priesthood, and faithful christians are the priests under the new law!
Hebrews 9:11, 12; Revelation 1:5, 6
How did Jesus take away the old law of Moses?
"having blotted out the bond written in ordinances what was against us, which was contrary to us: and He nailed it to the cross"
Yes, the old law of Moses, the Old Covenant has passed away, and the apostles are ministers of the New Covenant, the New Testament, the Law of Christ!
2 Corinthians 3:6-17
Notice that this includes the Ten Commandments! Nine of the Ten Commandments are found in the New Covenant, the Law of Christ. Only one is NOT found to be observed in under the New Covenant, and that is the keeping of the Sabbath (which is our Saturday)!
Colossians 2:16, 17
But we, if we are true worshippers, DO have a Sabbath to look forward to! It is the final rest with God in His home, Heaven!
NO LAW TODAY??
If there is no law today, then there is no sin, for sin is the transgression of law!
I John 3:4
"Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness."
"for the law brings about wrath; but where there is no law, there also is no violation."
If we say there is no law today, then we must say that there is no sin! And if there are no sinners, then man doesn't need a Saviour!
Think about that, this reasoning destroys the entire New Testament concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why He came, what He did on that cross, why He was resurrected!
Others say that we are under law today, but it is only the law of love, written only on the heart, not written commandments to obey!
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him."
"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."
John 20:30, 31
"30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
Yes, these commandments were written down by the inspired apostles and prophets. Thus we have the Holy Spirit's completed work that Jesus promised those whom He chose, in written form today!
Notice in this text that we are told that we are not under law, but under grace (vs. 14)! BUT, notice especially verses 15-18:
"15 What then, Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form (pattern, standard) of teaching to which you were committed. 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
From the above Scripture, we understand that "not under law, but under grace" means "not under law (only), but (also) under grace!
If we are under law only, then we must keep the law perfectly, and we would thus be under a system of works only!
But, under grace, we have the soul saving blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins AS we obey the Gospel, the Doctrine of Christ, the New Testament, the law of Christ!
Thus, we can never boast (Luke 17:10) in being obedient to God, and doing the works of God, because salvation is a gift from God through His Son, Jesus Christ!
But we must reach out and take that gift, by being obedient to Christ's word! This, and this ONLY frees us from our sins!
According to the prophet Isaiah, the law of the Lord would go forth from Jerusalem in the last days:
Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:1-3;
Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:2-4; 2:1ff
This is the same word that the inspired apostle Paul wrote:
I Corinthians 14:37
"If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord."
It is called the New Testament, the New Covenant, the law of Christ! It is Scripture from God that is inspired by Him, that furnishes us completely to do every good work He has ordained that we should do!
II Timothy 3:16, 17
"16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
Notice that this is ALL THE TRUTH (John 16:13) that the Creator was to give to man!
There are no further revelations from God after this work, the New Testament, except the 2nd. coming of Jesus Christ!
John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-15;
I Corinthians 2:12, 13
I Peter 1:13; 4:13
We cannot separate loving Jesus, loving God, AND keeping His commandments for us today, the New Testament, the Law of Christ!
They are one and the same!
I John 5:3
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (burdensome)."
Did you know that we are going to be judged by the words of Jesus Christ in the last day?
"He that rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him in the last day."
This includes ALL of the New Testament, not just the words that Jesus spoke (some translations put Jesus' words in red, and many think that the words in red are the only words inspired by God).
This is why we will be judged by our works! In other words, whether we apply and follow the authority of Christ in our lives, or not!
This is why we are told the following:
"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
2 Peter 1:10-12
"10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you."
Notice that our stumbling is based upon not practicing the Truth in our lives, the same as not being established in the Truth!
Yes, applying the word of God for us today, the New Testament, the law of Christ, is how we properly love our Creator!
Man is not saved by faith alone, but by doing the works that God has put forth for us to accomplish:
"You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."
"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
Everything that God instructs us to do is a work of (from) God, so that we can never boast in our doing of His will (Luke 17:10):
John 6:28, 29
"28 Therefore they said unto Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
John 3:16, 36
"16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Again, notice that this is an obedient faith, NOT faith only!
Faith only is something even the demons have! (James 2:19).
There are other works we must do besides believing, in order to be saved;
that is, in order to reach the soul saving blood of Jesus Christ:
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Acts 17:30, 31
"30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
Matthew 10:32, 33
"32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
I Timothy 6:12-14
"12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain of reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Be baptized into Christ
Acts 2:37, 38
"37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Mark 16:15, 16
15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, he preached Jesus to him. 36 And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized? 37 And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing."
"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
Galatians 3:26, 27
"26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
"having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
Romans 6:3, 4
"3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
I Peter 3:21
"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
"4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
Be faithful to God even unto death, doing His will in all things!
"...Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved."
Have you obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as He has put it forth in the New Testament?
I encourage you to follow the Law of Christ, not the laws of men, which contradict the Law of Christ!
Notice the examples of conversion in the book of Acts:
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