I received the following questions in an email yesterday and wrote the reply. The more I thought about these questions and answers the more I thought I should share them with my blog readers. Preachers and elders receive questions like this regularly and I am always glad to help people as they study the Bible and as they answer questions others ask
Someone I know found out I am ‘Church of Christ’ and has peppered me with the following:
- Why does the Church of Christ preach Col 2:14 says “the old law is nailed to the cross” when “old” and “law” are two words that are both missing from the actual text of Col 2:14?
- Why do they preach the old law is nailed when the basic promise of the new covenant was the torah written on our hearts (not nailed) (Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10, 10:16)
- Why do they preach the old law is nailed when the bible says the law is eternal (Ps 111:7-8, 119:151-152, 119:160)
I feel like he’s not really interested in a real discussion but wants to desperately be proven right, probably because he had what he considered a bad experience with a “Church of Christ.” I feel like I need to give him an in-depth rebuttal to the specific Biblical passages he references.
He definitely feels there are Old Testament prophecies yet to be fulfilled. When you have some free time help me with a rebuttal that makes sense.
First, the church of Christ does not teach anything. Each congregation is its own independent congregation. There are no passages that are taught a certain way because they are church of Christ doctrine. What I attempt to teach and to learn is biblical doctrine. With that cleared up . . .
- Col 2:14
- KJV – blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
- ESV – by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
- ASV – having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;
- Modern Literal Version – having wiped-away the handwriting in the decrees that were against us, which were adverse to us. He has also taken it out of the midst of us, nailing it to the cross;
- NASB – having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
The question concerns what are the “ordinances, record of debt with legal demands, bond written in ordinances, certificate of debt, and hand written decrees.” Almost all commentators equate that to the Law of Moses and the ceremonial rites contained in them. Laws that could not take away sin, but only postpone that forgiveness until the perfect sacrifice of the blood of the Messiah
A good commentary on Col 2:14 is Hebrews 9:1-28. The blood of Christ was and is the only way to forgiveness and the release from the eternal wrath of God. The Law of Moses and prophets (Old Covenant / Testament) pointed to Christ, the Law of Christ (New Covenant / Testament) demonstrates the way to God is in Christ not in keeping the Law of Moses, which no one could do perfectly.
- Promise of Law written on hearts Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10, Heb 10:16 – This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
The word “torah” (Jeremiah) and “nomos” (Hebrews) are simply words for law, they do not always refer to the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch). The law is always God’s law, and the law spoken of in these passages is the promise of forgiveness of sin to His people the new Israel (the Church – God’s Kingdom) that will be as prophesied in Jeremiah, and was as concluded in Hebrews, established in Zion on the Day of the Lord (Pentecost of Acts 2), when God would no longer “remember sins” (Jer 31:33, Heb 8:11; 10:17-18) as he did each year under the Law of Moses, but now in Christ sins are forgiven not to be remembered so there is no longer an annual offering for sin, Christ died once for all sin – Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:18.
What I teach is that now through the blood of Christ, when I am God’s child through Christ, I have a High Priest that does not need to sacrifice a lamb for himself first and then for me and you, but he himself was and is the perfect lamb and he offered himself once. Now I can confidently worship God through the Messiah promised in the former Law and prophets and realized in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. (Hebrews 10:19-23).
- The best answer to the forever statements of the Law in Psalms is Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
The Law of Moses would stand in effect until Jesus fulfilled them (all is accomplished). At His death, a new way to God (covenant / testament) came into effect. Again Hebrews 9:15ff indicates that Christ’s blood ushered in a new contract (covenant / testament / will) with God through Christ.