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Jesus ushered in a new covenant (aka testament, agreement, or contract). Jesus did it through the blood he shed for us on the cross. It completely blew out of the water the old covenant (aka testament, agreement, or contract). This is important and 2,000 years later we miss what this meant. The Jewish people and the disciples of Jesus knew what it meant.

Jesus did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

Source: Luke 22:20 (The Message)

Hebrews 8 gives us more insight into the new covenant. It is important to recognize that there were problems with the first covenant. How could God do that I wonder? Remember when Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.”

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

Here is more, indicating the transformation that was occurring at the time was making the old covenant obsolete.

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Not too much later, at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), we learn that the new covenant opened up the way for non-Jews to participate as fully adopted children as followers of Jesus.  It was agreed, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that nothing was required of the Gentile converts except faith in the Messiah; they were not bound by the Law of Moses. However, the council directed the Gentile Christians to abstain from certain things that were particularly offensive to their Jewish brethren – food sacrificed to idols, blood, meat of strangled animals and sexual immorality.

So, Paul was confident to say to the non-Jews (Acts 13):

Therefore, let it be known to you, brethren, that through Jesus forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Jesus everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

The good news of the new covenant is that it ties together most of what we read in the New Testament (aka covenant). It is up to us to understand as much about this as we can as a framework for how to follow Jesus.

The key to understanding the relationship between the disciple of Jesus and the Law is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians.

  • Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example).
  • Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules).
  • None of the Old Testament law is binding on Christians today.
  • When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4Galatians 3:23–25Ephesians 2:15).

In place of the Old Testament law, disciples are under the law of the Messiah Jesus (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40).

Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.” The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. If Jesus fulfilled some of it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it.

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments were essentially a summary of the entire Old Testament law. Nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly repeated in the New Testament (all except the command to observe the Sabbath day).

Obviously, if we are loving God, we will not be worshiping false gods or bowing down before idols. If we are loving our neighbors, we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, or coveting what belongs to them. The purpose of the Old Testament law is to convict people of our inability to keep the law and point us to our need for Jesus Christ as Savior (Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:24). The Old Testament law was never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all of time. We are to love God and love our neighbors. If we obey those two commands faithfully, we will be upholding all that God requires of us.

Source: Bible Questions Answered | GotQuestions.org