Abolished or Fulfilled?

The Mosaic Law in Relation to the New Covenant of Christ According to the Fathers of the Church

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From its very beginning, the Church was aware of the tension that existed between the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant that they proclaimed in Christ. Ultimately, how binding was the Mosaic Law to the new believer in Christ? If the code of the Mosaic Law was no longer to be followed, what was its original purpose? From its inception, the church grappled with these issues in an attempt to harmonize the message of the Mosaic Law with the message it proclaimed. The extremes consisted of the Judaizer movement on one hand and the Gnostics on the other. The church took the middle road between these two ends. The fathers present clearly and bluntly the original purpose of the Law and the use of it in the Christian community. The fulfillment of the Law by Christ, who was predicted by it, has led to the abolishment of many of the precepts that it contained. The Mosaic Law was always meant to be a temporary one, and the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of the Temple show conclusively that its time is over. Although the moral commands of the Decalogue are still to be obeyed by all men, the Law now shows, in its predictive element, the divine dispensation that was always planned to be culminated in Christ. Christians can see how God, in His divine oikonomia, predicted the ending of the Law from its inception: its precepts are types for the covenant that will bring the literal following of it to an end.

Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all Sons of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:23-26)


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