Yes or No, and Why?
No. Christians are not required to keep the law of Moses, because Christ has free them from the law by nailing it with him to the cross.
…you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. ~ Colossians 2:13-14
For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. ~ Galatians 2:19-21
Christ has become the new master, in place of the law, by making a New Covenant, and therefore, abolishing the old covenant, which was not able to cleanse anyone from sin.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ~ Hebrew 8:7-13
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ~ Hebrews 10:4
Does the New Covenant require Christians to keep any of the Old
Yes. That would be the law of love. For in so doing, the righteous requirement of the love is fulfilled.
…’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 22:37-40
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. ~ Romans 13:8-10
Believers are required to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law of Moses. But not through keeping the law of Moses. Instead, the law is fulfilled simply through obeying Christ – the new master – which Paul calls, walking in the Spirit, and Christ calls, abiding in him – the true vine.
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. ~ Romans 3:31
…what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:3-5
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. ~ John 15:1-6
What about the Sabbath?
That also includes keeping the Sabbath.
…let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. ~ Colossians 2:16-17
In order to understand why Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath, it is necessary to understand the symbolic significance of the Sabbath. The origin for the word “Sabbath” is the Hebrew word “שַׁבָּת/shab·bäth’“, which means intermission. Its root word is “שָׁבַת/shä·vath’“, which means “to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations”. Therefore, as it is already understood, the Sabbath has to do with rest from labor, just as God rested from his six days of work on the seventh day.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. ~ Exodus 20:8-11
And just as God rested, on the seventh day, from his labor, there remains a rest, for those who come to Christ, from their labor of law keeping.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30
And just as God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, he also provides his chosen people with every blessing in Heaven, just as he gave them to his Son, to be holy.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love ~ Ephesians 1:3-4
And just as all of God’s work was completed on the seventh day, he also has made those who belong to his Son to be completed in him.
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. ~ Genesis 2:1-2
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. ~ Colossians 2:8-10
And just as God made man on the sixth day, and rested on the seventh day, because all of
his work was completed, he also made believers complete in his Son, the true vine, as seen in the menorah – the lampstand with seven lamps; six springing forth from the main branch (Zechariah 4:1–10, Revelation 1:20, Revelation 4:5). Christ is the true vine, from whom all the members spring forth, and are made fruitful (John 15:1-6). Therefore, by themselves, they are mere men, but through Christ, they can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
Therefore, the Sabbath day is symbolic of the work that Christ would accomplish for his people. The ceremonial law is summed up in the ten commandments’ third command – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).” That is why Paul said that the Sabbaths are “just a shadow of what was to come, and that its substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17)
What about the dietary laws?
That also includes the dietary laws, such as not eating meat with blood, and not eating unclean foods. This was explained by Paul, below:
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. ~ Colossians 2:16-17
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-5
…whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. ~ Leviticus 17:10-11
The life of Christians comes from Jesus’ blood, which was shed for them, as the atonement for sin.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. ~ John 6:53-57
Therefore, just as Christ fulfilled the law, he also fulfilled its Sabbath.
What purpose does the law serve?
The law was given to show mankind their sin, and their inability to live up to God’s righteous standard, for the purpose of leading mankind to Christ. As Paul stated below:
…whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ~ Romans 3:9-19
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:19-26
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. ~ Romans 7:7-14
Also, any teachings, and behaviors, that are contrary to the teachings of the New Covenant can be corrected with the Old Covenant law.
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. ~ 1 Timothy 1:5-11
Below is an example of how the law of Moses can be used to correct someone who is contradicting the teachings of the New Covenant:
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:34
Therefore, it is wrong to cheat Christians to keep the law of Moses. This is why Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia, and corrected the believers in Colosse. False teachers were leading Christians astray, by telling them, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved (Acts 15:1)”, as they are now. Therefore, as Paul also warned the believers in Philippi, let the warning stand firm today:
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. ~ Philippians 3:1-11
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