Why the Laws of God are Ignored and Misunderstood by Many Christians
For a long time most Christians have misunderstood the laws of God revealed in the Bible, and when it’s pointed out they’re still in effect, they usually refer to a verse or two that have nothing to do with the law as a standard of conduct, but instead refer to salvation via the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into heaven.
It is far past time the record is set straight, as it’s obvious we aren’t justified by the works of the law, but by the work of Christ. What does that have to do with obeying God’s laws? Absolutely nothing.
The moral laws of God have never been eliminated; whereas the ceremonial laws have been fulfilled in Christ, so no longer are binding on us, or in need of being practiced. That doesn’t mean what they pointed to and represented no longer matter, only that the real meaning of them are revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
One of the more quoted scriptures used in an attempt to undermine the fact the laws of God are still binding upon us, is Gal. 2:17-21.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
I want to focus primarily on verses 19 and 21 in this article.
First, when Paul talks of being dead to the law that he may live unto God, he’s not talking about sanctification, he’s once again referring to justification. Paul is saying that in regard to justification, or being made right with God through the faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, he is dead to the law. The law has no value in regard to being regenerated, saved or born again.
In verse 21, Paul teaches that “if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Again, this is a reference to justification, not sanctification. He’s not talking about the standards we are to live by here, but the door into getting right with God.
This should be very obvious to most Christians, yet when many of the scriptures that speak to the law still being the way we are to live are presented as still being required to be obeyed, the response is usually the scriptures above, or similar scriptures.
In reality, there is a lot of dishonesty here because many people know that we are still required to obey God’s laws, yet they use these to justify continuing to live in sin.
There are many scriptures in the New Testament that confirm my thesis. The most clear is that listed in 1 John 2:3,4:
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
This isn’t a reference to being justified, it’s reference to confirmation of whether or not our faith is real. If we are truly justified by the work of Christ through faith, we will learn God’s commandments and walk in obedience to them.
John is clear. If we say we know Him, if we don’t obey God’s commands we’re liars. That includes acknowledging that we’re still required to do so. There is no way to get around the above verses without distorting the very clear teaching of John under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Here’s another verse in the New Testament that confirms the law is still required to be obeyed.
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
The idea that Paul quoted one of the 10 commandments and told children they were to follow it, reinforces the fact the moral laws of God are still in force.
To believe otherwise in light of Paul’s admonition, would be to deny reality and the clear meaning of the text.
Not only does Paul say children were to obey their parents, but added that the accompanying promise of God remains in place as well, if they take heed to his teaching.
There are more scriptures in the New Testament that confirm the moral laws of God are to be learned and obeyed by Christians.
It is obvious that the scriptures used to attempt to undermine this truth are used either dishonestly, or ignorantly.
For those seeking the truth, it’s readily apparent that we need to learn to differentiate between justification and sanctification in regard to the law and the work of Christ.
Obeying the law doesn’t save or justify us, but with the aid of the indwelling Spirit of God, we are to continue to learn and walk in obedience to them, seeking wisdom in how to apply them to everyday life.