The New American Standard Bible has 23 verses using the expression “law of Moses,” and 2 that use the expression “law of Christ.” These latter two occurrences refer to the transition that took place during New Testament times, in which Jesus used the Scriptures to proclaim His teaching.
The words had always been there, but Jesus brought the dimension of spirituality to Moses words and thus altered the focus of the sacred texts. Thus five times in the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount we hear Jesus, quoting the Old Testament in each case, say, “You have heard…but I say to you…” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). He was using Moses’ words to make a far more spiritual point. Thus we also see verses like these in the New Testament:
Mark 7:18 And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,
Mark 7:19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)
1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?
1 Corinthians 9:10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
By such passages we see that the Law of Moses had a focus on physical aspects of life that would ultimately be translated into a spiritual focus through Jesus Christ. Thus the Law of Moses became the Law of Christ. And here then is how that Law of Christ can be summarized:
Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
The Law of Moses was intended to regulate the nation of Israel until Messiah came, at which time it was converted to Messiah’s royal law (i.e., “the law of Christ”), which is…to love. None of the words of Moses changed – just the meaning. And the new meaning did not violate the initial meaning. Rather, the meaning was elevated and intensified. That is, the moral requirement was raised. For example, under Moses murder was wrong. Under Christ, even nursing anger in your heart is wrong.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible.
For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)