Should Gentile Christians Keep the Law?

Here’s my take on the Law:

We keep the Law in its full, spiritual sense. We are supposed to be spiritual people, and it is the part of teachers to give the spiritual interpretation of the Law.

Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery

Jesus did this in Matthew 5. He took the matter of divorce, remarriage, and adultery further than the Law of Moses. Don’t even look on a woman. Don’t divorce.


He also took the law of oaths further, but it looks like he completely got rid of it. The Law says to fulfill your oaths. Jesus said don’t even make oaths. But what he really meant was, fulfill your every word, thus making oaths superfluous.

The Sabbath

It’s the same with the Sabbath. God doesn’t care about our flesh resting once per week. That was for old Israel. They were a fleshly people, and they needed fleshly reminders about God. We are a spiritual people. We can rest in Christ every day, and we can live daily with our eyes on our King in heaven.

Thus, we do keep the Sabbath. We do that by entering into the Sabbath rest of Christ (per Hebrews 4). That is keeping the Sabbath. Resting on Saturday is not keeping the Sabbath.

The Law was like a balloon that was not blown up. It couldn’t be blown up because there were no new creatures, sons of God rather than sons of Adam, that could live with the fullness of the Law.

Now, however, there are such creatures, and we can keep the fullness of the Sabbath, which is to sanctify each day and live in the rest of Christ.

Another great example is the law about oxen. Even though Paul says God doesn’t care about oxen, he doesn’t throw out that law (1 Cor. 9). Instead, he applies it to what God does care about, that those who labor do not labor in vain.

Clean and Unclean Foods

Food is another such example. God doesn’t care about food. Food for the stomach, and the stomach for food, but God will destroy both it and them.

However, that law is not thrown out; it is brought to fullness (Matt. 5:17). Chewing the cud means to ruminate on the Word of God, and splitting the hoof is to part from the world. If we wish to be clean, we must meditate on the Word, and we must part from the world.

Eating is fellowship. Our fellowship is not with what is unclean. Even in the New Testament it says, “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

Our fellowship is to be with those who ruminate and part the hoof.

Our ministry can be to the unclean, so that they might be saved, but our fellowship is with light, not darkness. Bad company corrupts good morals, Paul said, and he adds that we must put the wicked out from among us.

Thus, we do not keep the food laws of the Jews, but we do keep the food laws of the Law of Christ, which is the Law of Moses brought to fullness. We do so by meditating on the Word, parting from the world, and being in fellowship with those who do the same.

About paulfpavao

I am a church historian and pastor, but I do occasionally play APBA baseball for fun.
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1 Response to Should Gentile Christians Keep the Law?

  1. thisrestlesspilgrim says:


    "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" – Galatians 5:14

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