Jesus, Yes; the Mosaic Law, No

Posted on January 30, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Sorry About That!
Well, I’m sure that headline ruffled some feathers. Though there shouldn’t be, there is much confusion regarding the Mosaic Law. The confusion concerns whether or not believers in the Lord Jesus are obligated to keep it. I have written about this in greater detail, and I’ll give links below, but the short answer is, “No, believers – whether Gentiles or born Jews like me – are not obligated to practice the Mosaic Law.

Jewish Torah

The apostle Paul was clear on this, as was the Lord Jesus. If this bothers you, perhaps you can take consolation in the fact that the Mosaic Law did not simply vanish, but was “made complete” in the Lord Jesus. He said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:17-18).

Of course, everything was “accomplished” at Christ’s crucifixion (and by extension, His resurrection), thereby “fulfilling” the Mosaic Law. What does this mean, that He fulfilled the Law? The Mosaic Law – centered upon the animal sacrificial system – was intended to point the people of ancient Israel to God, which it did, partially. However, when Jesus took up human form, He offered Himself as the final sacrifice, hence becoming, as it were, the Mosaic Law.

In other words, the Mosaic Law lives, but it does so in Jesus. This means that believers are no longer required to practice it; worshiping Christ has become the way to “observe” the Law. In Jesus, symbolically, our diets are “kosher” (clean); we observe the Sabbath and ancient Jewish holidays; and our lives are made acceptable to God.

The practice of the Mosaic Law was strictly intended for ancient Israel, and when Jesus offered Himself up as the final sacrifice for the human race, He, in essence, became the Mosaic Law.

The Mosaic Law Can’t Save
Every believer needs to understand this: THE MOSAIC LAW CANNOT SAVE YOUR SOUL. No need to belabor this as Paul was clear about it.

While on his first missionary journey, Paul, with his fellow worker Barnabas, visited the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch (in modern-day Turkey) and began to teach the Jewish people and God-fearing Gentiles (Acts 13:13-41). In the midst of his sermon, Paul utters these crucial words:

Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses (vv. 38-39, emphasis added).

If you want to study this further, I suggest you read Hebrews Chapters 7 through 10. But really, the two passages I gave you here ­– Matthew 5:17 and Acts 13:38-39 – should be enough for you to understand that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are under NO obligation to follow the practices of the ancient Mosaic Law.

Here are the links to some blogs I’ve written on this:

“Jesus, the Mosaic Law, and the Christian”

“Are Christians Required to Eat ‘Kosher’ Food?”

“Why Christians Don’t Observe the Old Testament Sabbath”

These are based on a much longer article I wrote for the magazine Zion’s Fire called, “How Much of the Mosaic Law Do Christians Need to Practice?” I’ve attached the Word Document here if you are interested.