Paul makes it clear that Christ abolished the Law:

"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity." (Ephesians 2:14-16)

 

On the cross, Christ abolished the Law of Moses with all of its commandments and ordinances.

 

The Response

First: That's not what Paul said.

As usual, the context of the passage sheds light on the true topic of discussion in these verses.

 

Paul writes to the Gentile believers in Ephesus and tells several important things:

- Christ is our peace and He made both groups, Jew and Gentile (Circumcision and Uncircumcision in verse 11) into one. (Eph 2:14)

- Christ broke down "the barrier of the dividing wall" that separated these two groups by abolishing in His flesh the enmity. (Eph 2:14)

- The enmity is the law of commandments contained in ordinances. (Eph 2:15)

- By breaking down the wall and abolishing the enmity, the two groups are made into one new man. (Eph 2:15)

 

So... what is this "law of commandments contained in ordinances"?  God's commandments? 

A careful reading reveals that there are some words the translators have added and capitalized to reflect their own biases:

"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity." (Ephesians 2:14-16)

 

"The law of commandments in ordinances" is translated from the Greek phrase τον νομον των εντολων εν δογμασιν [ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasin].  The last word of that Greek phrase is the key because God's commandments are never described in any Biblical text as "dogma"... but the edicts of a court (specifically a rabbinic court) are.

God's commandments did not require enmity or separation between Jew and Gentile but the man-made commandments of the rabbinic Judaism did.

Christ abolished those man-made commandments... not God's commandments.

 

Second: What did Christ say about this?

If Christians claim that Christ abolished the Law, they must ignore the words of the Master, Himself:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Christ tells us that we shouldn't even think that He came to abolish the Law.

If we do think that He did, we have to deal with two obvious problems such thinking introduces:

1) "Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

Unless a Christian is willing to claim that "all is accomplished" (uhm, what about Christ's return, His judgment of the wicked, the thousand year reign, etc?) then they can't claim any portion of the Law has passed away.

They also have to deal with the rather large problem that the heavens and the earth haven't passed away.  The last time I checked they were still there!

 

2) "Whoever annuls the least of the commandments... shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven."

If Christ annulled/abolished all of the commandments then He will be, by His own declaration, the least in the kingdom of heaven.  We cannot possibly accept that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be least in His own kingdom.

 

Obviously, Christ did not abolish the Law.

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Scripture says...

 

Objection overruled.

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