Love the Truth


God's Unchangeable Law

Much confusion regarding this subject can be avoided by recognising that in the Bible the word law has a number of meanings (eg. Rom 8:2 James 1:25 James 2:12). These meanings may be determined from the context of each occurrence. These meanings include:

The Law of Moses.

All the commandments of God given to Moses, and there were over six hundred of these. Most of these are applications of the ten commandments.

I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make or worship any idol.
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
Set apart one day in every seven to rest and remember the Lord.
Honour your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie.
You shall not covet.

(A paraphrase from Exodus 20:3-7)

Ceremonial law

There were many laws which was given to regulate religious worship and practice under the Old Covenant. Taken together, these have been described as the ceremonial law. Many of them pointed forward to Christ and the redemption which He was to accomplish. He fulfilled all that they represented and therefore they are no longer applicable. However they teach us much about redemption and were a tutor to bring us to Christ. Gal 3:24 Heb 7:11-12 Heb 10:1 Eph 2:15.

Judicial Law

There were also many other Laws given to direct civil matters concerning the ancient Hebrew nation. They are not directly applicable to those living under the new covenant. However they have much to teach us by way of principle and example, since they are very largely practical applications of the ten commandments.

The Moral Law

The God who gave and sustains the unchangeable laws of nature has also given and sustains His unchangeable moral law. Psalm 111:7-8.

It is summarized in the Ten Commandments Exod 20:1-17 and expounded in the teachings of Jesus e.g. Matt 5:3-7:12 and is variously known as the moral law, the law, God's law and the commandments of God Deut 5:6-21

It has been called the moral law because it is the revealed will of God as to human conduct and covers all areas of human behaviour.

These commandments are to be distinguished from all the others by the fact that they were written on tablets of stone by the finger of God. (Exod 31:18) This law is absolute and unchangeable.

“The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Rom 7:12

It always was so, now is, and will continue to be so, until heaven and earth pass away. Notice the present tense in this passage.


Some Jewish words

Torah  The Jewish term for the Old Testament

Mishnah  The collection of writings recording the traditions of the elders. The guidebook of the Pharisees

Talmud   A voluminous commentary on the Old Testament by Jewish Rabbis and teachers of the law. Compiled over a period of at least five centuries.

The Mishnah and the Talmud no doubt contributed to the “yoke of bondage” (Gal 5:1 Acts 15:10).

The yoke of bondage

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
This never was of God but it came into existence by human traditions. In the course of time, the religious leaders of the Jews added their own traditions and interpretations to the laws given by God. These formed a collection known as the Mishna, and this was held to be of equal authority with the law given by God. Jesus totally rejected this. Mark 7:3-13 Matt 15:2-9

In the context of 2 Cor 3:11 the phrase "what is passing away" refers to the old covenant and certainly not to the moral law. e.g. Heb 8:13.

God's law, the moral law, will stand "till heaven and earth pass away"

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matt 5:18

It has not been superseded by the teachings or example of Jesus, who both upheld it and expounded it. It is established through faith. Rom 3:31

The Lord also warned of the spiritual poverty that would come to those who make light of His law. Matt 5:19

It is binding upon all mankind, both Jew and Gentile. Rom 3:19

It is very broad and covers all moral situations. Ps119:96

People understand what sin is only through God’s law. Rom 3:20

The law is spiritual. Rom 7:14

Before his conversion Paul thought he was righteous through his legalistic conformity to the law, but when he saw its true meaning he found himself convicted as a guilty sinner. Phil 3:6 Rom 7:9.

It is an essential part of the gospel and is to be used to provide a basis for conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom 3:19-20

This teaching is according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. 1 Tim 1:8-11 John 16:8.

We cannot overestimate the value which God puts on His law. It is holy and just and good. Rom 7:12

God honoured His law and made it glorious when He sent His Son to fulfil it and uphold it, as our representative. Isaiah 42:21 Gal 4:4-5 Rom 8:3-4

It displays His holiness and glory. Rom 3:23

The law is spiritual. Rom 7:14 and it is to be obeyed from the heart and in spirit as well as to the letter. Matt 5:27-28 Matt 5:21-22 1 John 3:15.

Three basic words in the Bible are defined in terms of the law:

Righteousness in man is conformity to the law. Deut 6:25.

Sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4.

Love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom 13:10.


The reward for a perfect obedience to God’s law is eternal life. Matt 19:16-17 Luke 10:25-28

No fallen man is able to keep God’s law perfectly, and obtain the reward. Luke 10:29 Rom 8:7-8 Gal 3:21-22.


The penalty for breaking God’s law is death. Deut 27:26 Gal 3:10 Rom 6:23 James 2:10 Rev 20:14,15.

All members of the human race have broken God’s law. Rom 3:23 Rom 3:9,12.

Upheld by Faith

Christ fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law on behalf of all who believe in Him Rom 8:3-4.

This is the basis on which God fully upholds His law in salvation by grace. Rom 3:31.

Those who have been born again have God’s laws in their minds and written on their hearts. Heb 8:10 Heb 10:16 and delight in the law of God in the inner man. Rom 7:22.

The saints are those "who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Rev 14:12 Rev 12:17

They obey God’s law out of love and gratitude to God for salvation, and in no way to earn salvation or gain merit. 1 John 5:3 John 14:15 Eph 2:8-10 Titus 3:5.

"The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith." 1 Tim 1:5