By Greg Gibson

Did the Holy Spirit replace the law of Moses? Some Christians have concluded that based on Gal. 5:18 and Rom. 7:6. (Yet, perhaps a better term to describe the relationship between the law of Moses and the Spirit is “contrast” instead of “replace.”)

So, does the Spirit contrast the law of Moses? Yes, but we need to be careful not to read the word “only” into Gal. 5:18 and Rom. 7:6, since the law of Moses is contrasted with at least 7 other truths…

8 Contrasts to the Law of Moses

1. The Law of Moses vs. the Spirit

    “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal. 5:18).

    “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6).

2. The Law of Moses vs. Grace and Truth

    “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17).

3. The Law of Moses vs. Faith

    “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed…But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian…” (Gal. 3:23-25; cf. justification 3:11-12, 24-25, and righteousness 3:21).

4. The Law of Moses vs. Adoption

    “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

5. The Law of Moses vs. Christ’s Priesthood

    “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well” (Heb. 7:11-12).

    “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever” (Heb. 7:28).

6. The Law of Moses vs. a Better Hope of Approaching God

    “On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God” (Heb. 7:18-19).

7. The Law of Moses vs. Christ’s Sacrifice

    “…’You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will. He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:8-10, cf. 1ff.).

8. The Law of Moses vs. the Law of Christ

    “To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law” (1 Cor. 9:20-21).

(This is not to imply that there were no Spirit, faith, grace and truth during the law of Moses. Few Israelites possessed saving faith or the indwelling Spirit. But, all New Covenant saints have faith in Christ and the indwelling Spirit.)

It’s important to understand that all 8 points above contrast the Old Covenant law of Moses (not all law including the New Covenant law of Christ) to New Covenant truths. The law of Christ is even distinguished and affirmed in one of those contrasts (1 Cor. 9:20-21). And, the context of Galatians “criticizes” the law of Moses in redemptive history. Plus, Galatians gives several commands, and also affirms the law of Christ…

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

Jesus Christ the New Lawgiver has a law inspired and written by the Spirit in the New Testament and on our hearts, for His people who have faith in Christ, who are adopted by the Father, and led by the Spirit.

So no, the Spirit (alone) didn’t replace the law. The Spirit is only one of 8 contrasts vs. the law of Moses.

Perhaps these 8 contrasts also help us understand how Christ fulfills the Law and Prophets. He fulfills them by everything He is, does, and teaches; by His Person, His works (including His Sprit), and His words (including His commands).

Here’s how I explained it in my book “ALL Old Testament Laws Cancelled”

“Moses’ Law Prepared Unjustified, Spirit-Less Slaves for Christ’s 1st Coming

One reason why God gave the law of Moses to Israel was to tutor/prepare them for Messiah’s 1st coming, so they might be justified by faith, adopted, and Spirit indwelled. But now, we don’t need the Mosaic law to tutor/prepare us because Messiah has already come, we are justified by faith (Gal. 3:23-25), adopted (Gal. 3:26 – 4:7), and Spirit-indwelled (Gal. 5:18).

Christ’s Law Helps Prepare Justified, Spirit-Indwelled Heirs for His 2nd Coming

Moses’ law prepared unjustified, Spirit-less slaves for Christ’s 1st coming. But, Christ’s law helps prepare justified, Spirit-indwelled heirs for His 2nd coming.”

(“ALL Old Testament Laws Cancelled”, 24 Reasons Why All Old Testament Laws Are Cancelled, And All New Testament Laws Are for Our Obedience, by Greg Gibson, pp. 118.)

Edited April 1, 2009

“Did the Holy Spirit Replace the Law?” | 2008 | New Covenant Theology | Tags: , , , , | Comments (5)

5 Responses to ““Did the Holy Spirit Replace the Law?””

  1. JesusSaidFollowMe Blog » Blog Archive » Best Blogs Digest - March 2009 says:

    […] the law. But, Jesus Christ’s Person, works (including His Spirit), and words fulfill the Law. Did the Holy Spirit Replace the Law? by Greg […]

  2. Don Maggard says:

    Sir: I just ordered the book -All old testament laws cancelled. Could you send it to Tx, so I can pick it up there before April14th? Thank you Don Maggard P.S. I think your studies are good news for the modern church.

  3. Formersda says:

    I am a former sda and you hit some great points. youtube.com/Jesusisenough

  4. Jim says:

    Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Here Jesus is plainly refering to the 10 commandments.1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. These scriptures alone pretty much blow your theory out of the water. The commandments are not grievous even though most of churchianity teaches that they are. The 10 commandments in addition to the old covenant.Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
    Their are many scriptures that tell us the 10 commandments are just as valid today as they were when they were written. The Church that says sin is “not” the transgression of God`s law is in serious danger.Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. There is a reason there is no mention of those that reject Gods commandments or believe they are abolished. Can you guess what that reason is?
    Be blessed

  5. Joel says:

    Jim,

    Good luck to you in keeping the commandments not only physically but mentally as well within your own self efforts.
    The old covenant law = lawkeeping with human self effort. New Covenant = lawkeeping in spirit and truth with the Holy Spirit guiding each believer individually, along with having the benefit of permanent atonement for sin through Christ.

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