Has the Law been Nailed to the Cross?
By Stephen J. Spykerman
The following is an excerpt from the above book...
Does the question posed on the front cover of this booklet not appear somewhat irrelevant? Surely, of all the questions that can be asked, this one simply has to be superfluous! Is it not a universally recognized fact within Christian circles that Jesus nailed the law to the cross? What a silly question to ask! Every Christian worth their name knows full well that the Old Testament Law has been done away! This is the one point of doctrine all the hundreds of different Christian denominations in the world are in total agreement on. The many streams of Christianity may disagree with each other on almost any point of doctrine, yet they are in perfect unity on this issue. ‘Oh,’ you might exclaim; ‘Would that we could have similar unity elsewhere!’ They all agree with one voice that the law has been done away!
Did Jesus not come to usher in the New Covenant? Have we not since the advent of Christ arrived at an altogether new dispensation? Did Jesus not condemn the Scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and legalism? (Matthew 23:13-15, 23, 25) Were they not so zealous for the law that they forgot all about the spirit and intent of the law? Did Jesus not call them hypocrites and white plastered graves? (Matthew 23:27) Keeping the law certainly did not get the Pharisees in the good books of Jesus, did it? Every true Christian knows the famous words of the Apostle Paul:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
All Christian denominations are agreed that ‘Grace’ is the key issue. Christians rejoice in the glorious liberty wherewith Christ has set them free and they do not want to become entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1) Christians know and they know that they know that righteousness does not come through the keeping of the law. In their view, those wretched people who think that they can gain their salvation through keeping the law are sadly misguided and in bondage to legalism. The Christian walk on the other hand is a walk of faith and their walk is based on the Scripture that says:
“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
Christians are mindful also of the awesome exclamation made by the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Galatians:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”) ” (Galatians 3:13)
Having been delivered through grace and walking the walk of faith, Christians simply do not want to return to the bondage of the law. They have been saved by grace and they do not want to come under the law again.
Having just given the briefest outline of the doctrine that Jesus nailed the law to the cross, I believe it is right for us to examine if this doctrine is true. Most people simply accept the doctrines of their churches without questioning them. However, we should always be willing to ask ourselves the question about any given doctrine: “Is it true?” When did you last check this particular doctrine about the law having been done away, in your own Bible? Have you ever done it? What if it is wrong? Have you ever seriously researched into any of the doctrines of your church?
You may well ask why we should challenge what is in effect a universal tenet of the Christian faith? One reason is that it is fair to examine any question of doctrine no matter how strongly held. Any doctrine should be able to stand the test of close examination against the Scriptures. There should never be any no-go areas or sacred cows! The very fact that the many hundreds of different church denominations disagree on almost every single doctrine apart from this one makes me wonder why. Why do all these churches agree on this one doctrine, whilst disagreeing amongst them-selves on almost any other? Why are they so united on this particular teaching? What is it about this doctrine that brings such extra ordinary unity? Are you a seeker after truth? Why not find out the answer to this question.
Another most important reason for examining this matter is, because if it is indeed true that the Law has been done away, it does appear to present an apparent contradiction between the Law of the Old Testament and the Gospel of the New Testament. When Church doctrine appears to show up a conflict between the Old Testament and the New Testament, it demands serious investigation. Any true Christian believer worth his salt knows full well that the Bible does not contradict itself. Therefore, if there appears to be a contradiction, we are duty bound to investigate. In this context it really does not matter what the church thinks is true. It also does not matter what you or I think either! The only opinion that counts is God’s opinion! Man is simply not qualified to speak on this subject! Only God Himself can tell us whether His Law was abolished at the cross. We find His opinion in His inspired word.
In this booklet we will examine this doctrine and measure it against the word of God. We will concentrate our efforts on the New Testament Scriptures and especially watch out for what Jesus Himself had to say on the subject. It may surprise you to know that Jesus frequently spoke about the law and the commandments. Jesus is the Light of the world and His words will give us the understanding we need. As we look at His words and also at the inspired statements of the Apostles, we will discover that there is a contradiction somewhere along the line. Prepare to be surprised and try to approach the Scriptures with an open mind. Let the Scriptures speak to you rather than your own preconceived ideas. Truth really is stranger than fiction!