There is much confusion in the religious world today due to a lack of understanding regarding the two covenants found in Scripture, the Law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. The Law of Moses (what we generally refer to as the Old Testament) is certainly inspired by God ("All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" - 2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV). It offers us lessons to be learned about pleasing God and obeying Him (Romans 15:4). But is it binding doctrinally today? Misunderstanding this aspect of the Law can create confusion about what makes up God's will for us today.

The Law of Moses itself looked forward to the time when it would be fufilled by the coming of Christ, and His new covenant, the gospel (what is generally referred to as the New Testament). God spoke in the days of the Old Testament era about the new covenant He would establish, making the old covenant, the Law of Moses, no longer binding. The Hebrew writer refers to this when he writes, "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete" (Hebrews 8:13). Elsewhere the New Testament tells us that the Law was a shadow to what Christ would do and have us to do (Hebrews 10:1). Christ is the real image; the shadow He cast in this fi gure of speech is the Law of Moses. In other words, the Law of Moses is in itself incomplete. In Christ it finds its fulfillment and completion. "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:24-25).

Once fulfilled, the Law is no longer binding. The fact that Jesus is now our high priest means the Law is no longer in force (Hebrews 7:12); it has been set aside (Hebrews 7:18). It was fulfilled through Christ, and taken away with His death on the cross (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9-10). Our source for doctrine is in the gospel of Christ alone. Those in the churches of Galatia who tried to add elements of the Law of Moses to the gospel were told clearly and unmistakably that to do so created "another gospel," one different from what God delivered through His Son (Galatians 1:6-9). To try to incorporate elements of both into Christian living only condemns; "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justifi- ed by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4).

 We must look to the pages of the New Testament then, and not to the Old Testament, to find the answers to questions about how to be saved, to live the Christian life, to acceptably worship and serve God in the church. James makes clear if one wants to live under the Law of Moses, then one must accept all of it, not just parts of it taken randomly (James 2:10-11). This is why we don't offer animal sacrifices today. We live under the covenant of Christ, which is based on His sacrificial death, rather than the death of animals under the old covenant, which can't offer forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 10:4). Why would anyone try to incorporate both? The same can be said about instrumental music in the worship of the church. While it was a part of the Old Testament worship (2 Chronicles 29:25), it is absent in the pages of the New Testament, which command us to sing (which was the practice of the first century church, and remained so for centuries afterwards). Trying to incorporate this element of the Law of Moses, then, into the gospel of Christ, is itself a Judaizing act like that found in Galatians. If we would use instrumental music based on its use in the Law of Moses, we must bring the entire Law back into use, which would only condemn us.

The Old Testament offers much to help us understand all that Christ did in fulfilling it. It is truly written for our learning, but not for doctrine today. We have the fulfillment of it in the gospel of Christ, what it pointed to, what it was designed to lead to. Why would we want to go back to something no longer in force, no longer able to profi t doctrinally? We have the best offered in Christ and His will for us. We should rejoice in the salvation He offers, the way of life He provides, the hope of eternity He makes possible. Let's be clear on the role of the covenants, and which one we live by today. Let's not forfeit God's promises by trying to make a new covenant out of parts of the Law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. Let's live faithfully by God's only covenant for us today, the gospel, and seek to please God through the only avenue available to His love and grace today. Jesus tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Robert Johnson, Longview TX