The law has been a point of controversy since the foundation of Christianity. Christ’s enemies marveled at His teaching of the law and were often put in their place for their lack of understanding it or disregarding it. When Christ arose, the law was still a point of misunderstanding. When the gospel started going out beyond the boundaries of the Jewish communities, there were churches full of people with very little connection to Israel, especially by bloodlines. They had never followed the dietary laws, lived with the Jewish traditions, or been circumcised. This posed a problem for those Jewish communities who had known nothing else. The Bible was clear about circumcision. The new Gentiles should be circumcised was the opinion of many.
The Apostle Paul understood this wasn’t a matter of Christian liberty or a difference of opinion. It was a matter of the true gospel. Those who demanded circumcision for the Gentile believers in Christ to enter the family of God and the church of God were adding another requirement to the gospel. Paul stood firmly on the vital truth that we are justified by faith alone, in Christ alone. Our legal standing before God is not based on our keeping of the law but on the work of Jesus Christ. He lived for us, and by faith, we receive His righteousness. He died for us, pardoning us with His precious blood. Therefore, we have the forgiveness of sins and His perfect righteousness credited to our account.
The Old Covenant was never intended to last forever. It was given for a time until Christ, who would fulfill the law, would come. When Christ died, I died with him. I died to the law. And as Christ rose, I’m risen with him. I am dead to the law and alive in Christ. You can’t go and arrest Billy the Kid. The law of the United States has no sway over him anymore. He’s dead and gone. It’s the same with the law. It has no power to judge me anymore. Christ established the New Covenant, and that Old has no authority over me any longer.
So I’ll stand free in the liberty that Christ has made me free. I won’t be entangled again with the yoke of the bondage. You can’t live halfway between the Old Covenant and the New. Living in the law for acceptance with God makes Christ’s work worthless. If you live under the law, you have to live under all of it, all of the time. Perfectly, entirely, exactly, and perpetually. You have fallen from grace if you try to go back under the Old Covenant, even just a little. We are called to liberty, the freedom to serve and love one another in the Spirit. No one sins against another by loving him and walking in the Spirit. It’s easier to live by rules. It feels safer. So we make them up or modify the old ones. But there is no safety for sinners under the law.