Did Christ “Destroy the Law”? | Hugo McCord

Posted on October 22, 2012 by


Moses’ law allowed divorce, “if she find no favor in his eyes,” and remarriage (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). An Oregon church says that is God’s law today because Christ came not to “destroy the law” (Matthew 5:17). Truly Christ came not to destroy the law, not “one jot or one tittle” of it, “till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18).

But after everything that had been “written in the law” concerning him had been “fulfilled” (Luke 24:44), then he “abolished” (Ephesians 2:15) “the law” (Ephesians 2:14-15), “and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14).

God never planned for the law of Moses to be permanent: it “was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come” (Galatians 3:19):

The law was our schoolmaster (paidagogo, guide) to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after the faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24-25). Do we then make void the law through the faith? No, indeed! We establish the law (Romans 3:31). Christ is the end (telos, goal, aim) of the law (Romans 10:4).

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Galations 3:13). So, my brothers you also were put to death to the law through Christ’s body that you should be married to another, to the one who was raised from the dead (Romans 7:4).

Sadly, not long after the law had served its divine purpose and had been nailed to the cross, “certain ones” were “disturbing” the “churches of Galatia” (Galations 1:2), “wishing to distort the gospel of Christ” (Galations 1:7), telling Christians that they were “under the law” (Galations 4:21).

So Paul wrote a letter condemning that heresy, saying “Christ liberated us for freedom. Therefore, stand, and do no again be loaded down with a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The false teachers were making the law of circumcision (Exodus 12:48) binding on Christian men.

But, said Paul, if you are circumcised, Christ will not profit you at all. I testify again to every man being circumcised, that he is debtor to keep all the law. You have been cut off from Christ, you who want to be made right by the law, you have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:2-4).

Sadly, false teachers today are seeking to bring the Old Testament law of divorce “for any cause” (as the Pharisees quoted it to Jesus, Matthew 19:3) and remarriage into the New Testament for Christians.

Just as false teachers in Paul’s day distorted “the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7) by making circumcision binding on Christians, so false teachers today distort “the gospel of Christ” by making divorce for any cause and remarriage a part of Christianity.

They do this by saying that the New Testament is only from Acts to Revelation, and that in these 23 books there is nothing that makes divorce and remarriage for any reason sinful.

An erring gospel preacher writes that if everyone accepts his doctrine that “none of Jesus’ teaching in the four gospels was N.T. teaching,” then “the principle [sic] cause of all the confusion among churches of Christ on Matthew 19 and marriage, divorce, and remarriage” would be eliminated.

That preacher’s doctrine, ant that of the Oregon congregation so indoctrinated, is a worse distortion of “the gospel of Christ” than that of the Judaizers in Paul’s day binding circumcision on Christian men. Furthermore, they fail to realize that to bind one Old Testament law on Christians, they are debtors “to keep all the law” (Galatians 5:3), including animal sacrifices (Leviticus 16:1-34).

However, everything that Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and john (beyond obedience to Moses’ law before the cross) he has commanded that it be taught to every baptized believer to “the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20).