Imagine that anthropologists discovered a constitution put in place by a society that occupied our territory hundreds of years ago. What an excitement for students of political history! Such a document would be studied carefully to the last letter, because it would give us insight into an older society, and might even give us some ideas about how to make our own lives better. This old constitution probably would be housed in a prestigious museum or university collection.
And yet, nobody would suggest that such an outdated, historical constitution is legally binding today. No lawyer would take that old law into a courtroom and argue that contemporary legal precedent is overruled by the ancient constitution, because we now have the U.S. Constitution that applies to us today.
We easily understand and agree upon this obvious distinction between an outdated manmade constitution and a current manmade constitution. Why do religious folks often fail to see the same distinction as it applies to the law of God? The Bible clearly teaches that the Old Testament, the Law of Moses, was applicable to the Israelites until Christ nailed it to His cross (Colossians 2:14) and ushered in His kingdom, with its laws (Hebrews 9).
The gospel preacher, A.G. Freed, explained:
“The importance of a proper understanding of the different dispensations, or covenants, of the Bible, cannot be emphasized too much. The necessity of this principle is observed in the laws, covenants, or constitutions of states and governments, but is ignored in the most important of all laws—the law of God. People talk learnedly of the old constitutions of states that have been abrogated, and of the new constitution now in force. They lose sight of this fundamental truth in speaking of the government of God.
“What would we think of a lawyer in our courts pleading his case according to an old constitution that had been done away? What idea would you have of a judge upon the bench rendering his decision according to a defunct constitution of his state and ignoring the new one in force? Both lawyer and judge would be subjects of contempt and ridicule among law-abiding people.”1
The apostles Paul spoke and wrote extensively concerning the end of the Mosaic Law’s applicability, and the current applicability of the Law of Christ. His words speak loudly and clearly:
Galatians 3:24-25. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. . . .
Galatians 5:4. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Hebrews 10:1-7).
Sermons, Chapel Talks, and Debates (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1930), 142. ↩