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The Law Is Obsolete

The writer of Hebrews puts what I’ve just said another way. Hebrews 8:13 says, "by calling this covenant new, He has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear". This verse clearly says that the first one, meaning the Old Covenant/Law is obsolete, or outdated. You might say that there’s a new version of the Law called the New Covenant that needs to be downloaded into our hearts.

The text says that there is a new covenant and that the old one is now obsolete. By using the word "obsolete" we understand that the Old Covenant which includes the Law is outdated. The reason why it is outdated is because there is a new covenant. This text does not say that the Law has been cancelled as Paul says in Col. 2:13 - 14. It says that it is aging and will soon disappear. It’s aging because it has lost much of its significance. The best days of the Law are over, much like our best days are over, at least for those of us who are reaching senior status.

So the writer of Hebrews says that the Law is obsolete and will soon disappear. Paul says the Law is cancelled because it was nailed to the cross with Jesus. And Jesus says that the Law will remain until it has been fulfilled. How do you reconcile these three statements?

The rules of the Law which are now obsolete and no longer significant, have been replaced by a new version that is found in Jesus. These rules have been cancelled, taken away, and figuratively nailed to the cross. They no longer have anything to do with us finding righteousness in God’s eyes. Although the Law has been cancelled for purposes of finding righteousness, it still remains in tact in terms of its prophetic significance. So we view the books of the Law in a much different light than how Israel viewed them.

Beyond the Law’s prophetic importance, it has become a teacher, leading us to Jesus. (Gal. 3:24-25) So even though the Law still has some purpose for New Testament Christians, we are not obligated to obey its rules and regulations because they’ve been cancelled. Our obligation is to the Law’s New Testament reality and that is to Jesus and to Him alone. Thus the way we interpret the books of the Law should be based on this New Testament understanding which has major implications for the way we live as Christians. I will elaborate on this later.

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