The phrase "Law of Christ" appears only twice in the NT, namely, 1 Cor 9:21 & Gal 6:2. In the first of these, we read:

To those without the law I became like one without the law (though I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ), to win those without the law. (BSB)

Is Paul equating the Law of Christ with the Law of God (2 Kings 22:2, 2 Chron 34:2, Josh 24:26, Neh 8:8, 18, Isa 1:10, etc) that he assiduously claims to be under, or is he referring to something else?

Any answer should include an analysis of Rom 8:7 which says:

because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.


6 Answers 6


Others have shown how the phrase in question only appears once in the NT (1 Cor. 9:21). The Q, Is Paul equating the Law of Christ with the Law of God that he assiduously claims to be under, or is he referring to something else? requires an analysis of Rom. 8:7, but before doing that, I do wonder how anyone familiar with Paul’s writings could think that he ‘assiduously claims to be under’ OT law. More on that later. First, a look at Romans ch. 8 and what it says about law .

Paul starts (vss 1-4) by showing that “the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death… that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” This is essential to grasp in order to understand what he then says about the carnal mind being at enmity with God, not being subject to the law of God because it cannot be. Only those with the mind of the Spirit can be raised up from striving to keep the perfect law of God (and failing) to having the righteousness of the law fulfilled in them.

Now – the crux of the matter – your key text, 1 Cor. 9:21 – “To those without the law I became like one without the law (though I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ), to win those without the law.” (BSB) Compare that with the KJV starting at vs 20 to get context:

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law [anomia – without law], (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

This translation shows that to be under the law to Christ is equally to be under the law to God. There is no difference, just as to have the Spirit of God is equally to have the Spirit of Christ, for that is one and the same thing, as Romans 8:9 states. It is not a case of “either, or”. Christians are not ‘without law’ and so, lawless – just as Christians are not ‘without the Spirit’, and so, spiritless.

There is no ‘Law of God versus Law of Christ’ as your heading implies. All of Paul’s writing on the subject are at pains to show how the perfect law of God is fulfilled in Christ, who (by keeping it perfectly) then had the written legal requirements that were against us nailed to the cross, doing away with them (Col. 2:14), liberating Christians into life in the Spirit. This new life is, of course, based on the righteousness of God in Christ, which is why Paul stoutly refuted false claims that he, and Christians, were disrespecting God’s law and becoming lawless (anomia – without law). The summation of the law of God is found in Christ, so that those who have the Spirit of Christ (which is equally the Spirit of God – vs 9) have progressed to that which the law was designed to lead them to. Having progressed, why would they then go back and try to get hitched again to legalism? That would be to corrupt the gospel of Christ.

As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God” (vs. 34) and, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (vss 56-57). The law has no strength left over those who have been liberated by Christ, but Satan still tries to use law to condemn sinners. That is why the gospel of liberation in Christ needs to be proclaimed to sinners, and that gospel must remain pure, uncontaminated by the efforts of some to try to marry it to law-keeping.

Now, more on your claim that Paul ‘assiduously claims to be under’ OT Law. This is the same Paul who wrote:

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held” – Romans 7:6 “Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ” – Romans 7:4 “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” – Romans 6:14 “For I through the law am dead to the law” – Galatians 2:19

Tell me, is that dead enough for you? Dead is dead is dead. And that is the position of all Spirit-filled Christians in relation to the law – they are dead to it.

Interestingly, when Satan contended with archangel Michael about the body of Moses in Jude’s little letter, Michael did not accuse Satan but said, “The Lord rebuke thee.” The body of Moses represents the law, and Satan keeps using God’s law to accuse the brethren, but the brethren who know that the written legal requirements that were against us were nailed to the cross, doing away with them (Col. 2:14) also know that their accuser doesn’t have a leg to stand on now. Satan cannot bring any charge against them.

So, the answer to your question simply is that there is no ‘Law of God versus Law of Christ’. There is no dichotomy. Being 'dead to the law' is not being dead to the Law of God and the Law of Christ. It's about being liberated to truly please God and Christ by total faith in what they have done - not in anything we strive to do.

  • Many thanks for this highly considered answer that also has the advantage of such passion! Out of interest, what is the law of Christ and the law of God that Paul refers to?
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 12:27
  • 1
    @Dottard Does this article help to explain the law of Christ? gotquestions.org/law-of-Christ.html
    – Lesley
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 16:24

Actually, the only verse that mentions “the Law of Christ” is Gal. 6:2, by the Greek «τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ». On the other hand,

1 Cor. 9:21
ΚΑʹ τοῖς ἀνόμοις ὡς ἄνομος μὴ ὢν ἄνομος θεοῦ ἀλλ᾽ ἔννομος Χριστοῦ ἵνα κερδάνω τοὺς ἀνόμους
Novum Testamentum Graece. Ed. Aland, Barbara, et al. 28th ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.

in 1 Cor. 9:21, we find the following words «τοῖς ἀνόμοις», «ἄνομος», «ἔννομος Χριστοῦ», and «τοὺς ἀνόμους», but nothing similar to «τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ».

ἀνόμοις, ἄνομος, and ἀνόμους all contain the root word νόμος (“law”) prefixed by the alpha privative ἀ-, thus meaning “without the Law.” The ἄνομοι (“those without the Law”) are the Gentiles who—unlike the Jews who are under the Law1 because they were given the Law at Sinai2do not have the Law.3

Johann Caspar Suicer on the word ἄνομος,4

enter image description here

Gentiles are called ἄνομοι, to whom the Mosaic Law was not given by custom, and therefore those who also did not use to keep it. Thus, 1 Cor. 9:21 is cited by Theodoretus: “It calls them ἀνόμους (“without the Law”) those who live without the Law.” And by Theophylactus: “It calls ἀνόμους (“without the Law”) those who do not have the Law of Moses, those of the Gentiles, such as Cornelius was.”

The antithesis of ἀνόμοι are the ἔννομοι, those with the Law. These are the Jews who have the Law because they were given it at Sinai and agreed to keep it in a covenant with God.

What is the Law of Christ?

The Law of Christ must be the law given by Christ, just as the Law of Moses was the law given by Moses at Sinai.

Now, Isaiah5 prophesies of a law that would go forth (be promulgated) from Zion, which could not be the Law of Moses, for Isaiah prophesied of a future time, and the Law of Moses had already been promulgated in the past at Sinai.

But, did Christ give a law written on scrolls, like Moses did? We know of no such law. Then, what went forth from Zion, that is, Jerusalem?6

Acts 1:4
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;
English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001.

The Law of Christ is the Holy Spirit.

Augustine wrote,7

Therefore, what is God’s law written by God Himself in the hearts, but the very presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the finger of God,8 and by whose presence is shed abroad in our hearts the love9 which is the fulfilling of the law10 and the aim of the commandment?11

Quid sunt ergo leges Dei ab ipso Deo scriptae in cordibus nisi ipsa praesentia Spiritus Sancti, qui est digitus Dei, quo praesente diffunditur caritas in cordibus nostris, quae plenitudo legis est et finis praecepti?

1 cf. 1 Cor. 9:20
2 cf. Rom. 9:4
3 cf. Rom. 2:14
4 Suicer, Vol. 1, p. 366, ἄνομος, I.
5 Isa. 2:3
6 cf. Isa. 30:19
7 Augustine, Ch. XXI, p. 222
8 Luke 11:20
9 Rom. 5:5
10 Rom. 13:10
11 1 Tim. 1:5
Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis). “On the Spirit and the Letter” (De Spiritu et Littera). Patrologiæ Cursus Completus: Series Latina. Ed. Migne, Jacques Paul. Vol. 44. Petit-Montrouge: Imprimerie Catholique, 1865.

Suicer, Johann Caspar. Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus. 3rd ed. Trajecti ad Rhenum: Paddenburg, et al., 1746.
  • 3
    It is rare to see this subject handled so well, so competently, so spiritually, so perceptively and so succintly. (Up-voted +1.) Thoroughly edifying, especially the paragraph regarding Zion. My grateful thanks.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 22:18

Is Paul equating the Law of Christ with the Law of God [...]

What Christ teaches is not His own doctrine, but of God who sent Him, hence Christ's law is "of God".

John 7:16-17
16Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

It is called the "Law of Christ" because it is God's law given through Christ, the same way that the "Law of Moses" was God's law given through Moses.

Neh. 10:29
29joined with their relatives and their leaders. They entered into an oath—enforced by a curse—to walk in God’s Law that was given through God’s servant Moses, and to be careful to obey all of the commands of the Lord, our Lord, as well as his regulations and statutes:
(International Standard Version: The New Testament. California, USA: Davidson Press, 1998.)

The Law of Christ should not, however, be equated with the Law of Moses. As we're told, with the changing of the priest comes the changing of the law.

Heb. 7:12
12For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

Hence, the Law of Moses is only until John.

Luke 16:16
16"The Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were in effect up to the time of John the Baptist; since then the Good News about the Kingdom of God is being told, and everyone forces their way in.
(Good News Bible: Today’s English Version. New York: United Bible Societies, 1992.)
  • Best answer so far.
    – Austin
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 20:22
  • 1
    There was no new law, Jesus never stated he brought new law /change in the law - see my answer to a similar questions hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/60685/33268 - everything that has been quoted about new laws / not to follow x,y & z is all from Paul, not from Jesus. If you follow Jesus show evidence from him. Commented May 24, 2021 at 13:31
  • @anothertheory You can post it as a question on the Christianity StackExchange. I'd be happy to answer you there.
    – carsonfel
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 19:20
  • @anothertheory Wouldn't you at least agree that Jesus reduced the law to its essence? "Love the Lord your God etc." (Deut 6:5) and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18); see Mark 12:28-34. Commented May 25, 2021 at 7:14
  • Jesus never stated he came to bring new laws or change the laws but to fulfill / carry on what had come before - only sent to the lost sheep of Israel - carsonfel not sure what question you want me to ask but you could answer on the above link as the question relates to laws Matt 5:17 Commented May 25, 2021 at 13:18

The Law of Christ in Gal. 6:2

The phrase τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Christ’s law) only occurs once in the New Testament:

Ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσετε τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ. (Gal. 6:2, NA28)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2, ESV)

This fits well with the new commandment Christ gave us:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35, ESV)

The expands the second greatest commandment. Instead of love as self, it’s love denying self.

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:35–40, ESV)

Often Jesus pointed out people falling short of the commandments, such as the Sermon on the Mount and John 5:42. However, love one another as I have loved you superseded laws such as the Sabbath or ceremonial clean laws, such as in the Good Samaritan.

Different Greek in 1 Cor. 9:21

While translations have “the law of God” and “the law of Christ” in 1 Cor. 9:21 the construction in Paul’s Greek is different than Gal. 6:2.

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. (1 Cor. 9:21, ESV)

Outside the law ἄνομος and under the law ἔννομος are each one Greek word with their meanings heavily dependent on the context.

21 τοῖς ἀνόμοις ὡς ἄνομος, μὴ ὢν ἄνομος θεοῦ ἀλλʼ ἔννομος Χριστοῦ, ἵνα κερδάνω °τοὺς ἀνόμους· (1 Co 9:21, NA28)

under the law translates:

ἔννομοςb, ον: pertaining to being under obligation imposed by law—‘subject to law, under law.’ α’λλ’ ἔννομος Χριστοῦ ‘but subject to the law of Christ’ 1 Cor 9:21. In some languages there is a difficulty involved in rendering ἔννομος by a phrase such as ‘under law,’ since this may be understood in a sense of ‘beneath the law’ or ‘illegal.’ A more common expression would be ‘tied to the law’ or ‘obligated by the law.’ [only here in New Testament; not in LXX] -- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 427). New York: United Bible Societies.

outside the law translates:

ἄνομος, ου m: a non-Jew who lives completely without reference to the Jewish Law—‘Gentile, heathen, pagan.’ τοῖς ἀνόμοις ὡς ἄνομος … ἵνα κερδάνω τοὺς ἀνόμους ‘for the sake of the Gentiles I live like a Gentile … in order to win Gentiles’ 1 Cor 9:21. For another interpretation of ἄνομος in 1 Cor 9:21, see 33.57.

Senses of New Testament usage: enter image description here

In a number of contexts, it may be best to speak of ‘Gentiles’ as ‘those who are not Jews.’ In some languages the equivalent of ‘Gentiles’ is simply ‘foreigners,’ but one must be very certain that the use of a term meaning ‘foreigners’ will actually designate non-Jews rather than those people who do not speak the particular receptor language.

It would be a serious mistake to render ἄνομος as ‘lawless’ on the basis of its etymology. To speak of a ‘lawless person’ is to imply that he transgresses existing laws rather than being one who is not subject to the Mosaic Law. -- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 127). New York: United Bible Societies.

To them that are without law (τοις ἀνομοις [tois anomois]). The heathen, those outside the Mosaic law (Rom. 2:14), not lawless (Luke 22:37; Acts 2:23; 1 Tim. 1:9). See how Paul bore himself with the pagans (Acts 14:15; 17:23; 24:25), and how he quoted heathen poets. “Not being an outlaw of God, but an inlaw of Christ” (Evans, Estius has it exlex, inlex, μη ὠν ἀνομος θεου, ἀλλʼ ἐννομος Χριστου [mē ōn anomos theou, all’ ennomos Christou]). The genitive case of θεου [theou] and Χριστου [Christou] (specifying case) comes out better thus, for it seems unusual with ἀνομος [anomos] and ἐννομος [ennomos], both old and regular adjectives. -- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (1 Co 9:21). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

The question is, why did the language shift from the previous verse with distinct word? These constructions are too rare to give a definite answer, but in v21 Paul moved away from the Law of Moses.

Ἐλεύθερος γὰρ ὢν ἐκ πάντων πᾶσιν ἐμαυτὸν ἐδούλωσα, ἵνα τοὺς πλείονας κερδήσω· 20 καὶ ἐγενόμην τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὡς Ἰουδαῖος, ἵνα Ἰουδαίους κερδήσω· τοῖς ὑπὸ νόμον ὡς ὑπὸ νόμον, μὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον κερδήσω· (1 Cor. 9:19–20, NA28)

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. (1 Co 9:19–20, ESV)

Perhaps in v21 Paul wanted to clarify the meaning of ἄνομος (see senses) so that it would read, “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not a lawless person with respect to God but lawful with respect to Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

Again this Greek vocabulary is too rare for a definite answer; even ὑπὸ νόμον in the context has no article.

Law of God in Rom. 7 & 8

The law of God τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ appears twice in Romans 7:

συνήδομαι γὰρ τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον, (Rom. 7:22, NA28)

χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. Ἄρα οὖν αὐτὸς ἐγὼ τῷ μὲν νοῒ δουλεύω νόμῳ θεοῦ τῇ δὲ σαρκὶ νόμῳ ἁμαρτίας. (Rom. 7:25, NA28)

The context the law in Romans 7 is the Law of Moses. :

The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom. 7:10–12, ESV)

The question is, why the switch from the law (ὁ νόμος) to the law of God? We can only speculate. Maybe the switch was to drop the traditions added the law, or drop all except the Ten Commandments. We do not know.

Thus, one expects the same phrase to also reference the Law of Moses in Romans 8.

διότι τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς ἔχθρα εἰς θεόν, τῷ γὰρ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται*, οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται· (Rom. 8:7, ESV)

2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom. 8:2–18, ESV)

Answering your question

We don’t have clear enough information to answer your question. The law of God and the law of Christ probably overlap to some degree, but we can’t say if Paul used them to mean the same thing.

  • This is all very well but it does not answer the central question - Is Paul equating the Low of God with the Law of Christ?
    – Dottard
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 6:40
  • I've added a more explicit conclusion.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 11:21
  • In the concluding paragraph, is it possible to be so precise because Jesus explicitly quoted the law of Moses (as you describe it) in Lev 19:18 and called it the greatest commandment in Matthew 5:43, Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8. Is this not part of the law of Christ, as cited by Paul and James or does that not matter? I am confused.
    – Dottard
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 11:33
  • I'm thinking about the best way to word this without writing a book. Christ said he fulfilled the law, not abolished it. The new command exceeded the old. Christ intends us to keep the greatest commandments, but much of the Law of Moses was completed in the since of no longer observed.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 11:56
  • The law of God and the law of Christ are identical. The 10 commandments are catalogued as follows first part is love God, second part is love thy neighbour, and they are joined by the 4th...the Seventh Day Sabbath. No difference!
    – Adam
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 12:31

Law of God vs. Law of Christ

Answer: The first, "Law of God," is often used in the N/T to denote the Law of Moses. This, in contrast to the "Law of Christ" which is the Gospel — the Spirit of Life.

Many are understandably confused by the idea of "the Law." Often, it is used to describe a system of mere faith alone or "faith only."

In Paul's Letter to the Romans, the apostle demonstrates that there certainly are rules, regulations, commandments — obligations we must follow for salvation "in Christ." These are very much what we would consider the "Law of God."

However, Christianity is also generally referred to as the "Law of Christ" as per the OP (1 Cor 9:21 & Gal 6:2). This is elsewhere described as the "Law of Liberty" (Jas. 1:25, 2:12), and while this new law frees us from the Law of Moses, this does not mean that we are exempt from a much higher standard in Christ. The Lord's brother, James, describes this for us:

James 1:25: "But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does." (emphasis added).

James tells us that we must be "effectual doers" in this perfect law. The vital obligations we read in the New Testament cannot simply be ignored. While the OP suggests that the phrase "Law of Christ" only appears twice in the New Testament, as observed, it is also characterized as the "Law of Liberty" or the "Law of the Spirit."

The apostle Paul also spoke of those who were "without law" — that is, without the Law of Moses, yet they were still under the N/T Covenant of Christ as we see in the next two sets of passages:

Romans 8:2-4: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death [the Law of Moses]. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin..." (emphasis added).

And this:

1 Corinthians 9:19, 21: "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more... 21to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law."

What is the distinction Paul is making above? Clearly, being "without the law of God" means being without the Law of Moses. This is differentiated from the "Law of Christ," or this passage would not appear as it does. Freedom in Christ means freedom from the Law of Moses, although that hardly exempts us from our new, higher accountability in Christ. Everyone on earth is subservient to Christ. Here is another designation for the Law of Christ:

James 2:8: "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well."

James assists us with another characterization: "the Royal Law." We should understand that the Gospel is this new, royal law. And, we must obey it under threat of eternal punishment. Hear the words of the apostle Peter:

1 Peter 4:17: "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

What was that? It was yet another designation for the Law of Christ: the "Gospel of God." Obeying God is obeying His Gospel: the N/T. And, we need to understand that all of the commandments of Jesus Christ are to be adhered to:

John 14:15: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Let us consider an example of this:

Luke 22:19: "And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me'" (emphasis added).

This is the Lord's Supper. It is communion. Do you think the commandment by Christ — God in the flesh — to "do this" was merely a suggestion? Hardly.

In case one believes that the commandments of Christ are not binding, or have no legal status, they should think again. Read the words of Christ Himself:

Matthew 5:17-19: “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" (emphasis added).

Let us pause to observe 3 points about this set of passages:

I. Early in His ministry, Christ says that "not the slightest letter or stoke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." What exactly, was to be accomplished? Is this not His Own Sacrifice for humanity? YES, Christ came to "fulfill": he would fulfill the Law of Moses.

Upon His resurrection, the new Law of Liberty was instituted, the Law of Moses being nailed to the Cross (Col. 2:14). The distinction between fulfilling and destroying is analogous to the difference between paying a note of debt and abandoning it: in both cases the debt is effectively removed.

However, Christ took the Law of Moses out of the way. He did so not by violating it but by completing it! This was accomplished through 1) His perfect obedience, 2) His fulfillment of His role as the promised Messiah, and 3) His elevating all the O/T laws to a higher, purer standard: The Law of Christ.

II. Christ tells us that those who violate one of His commandments, has violated them all. His "new commandments" would comprise the Gospel, that was subsequently written after His Resurrection and later Ascension to heaven.

III. Note that in verse 19 of Matthew 5, Christ tells us that anyone who: "[does and teaches]" the commandments of Christ, is he who "shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." There are phrases used against those who try to follow Christ's guidelines: "He is a legalist." This is an epithet charged against those who reject the false teaching of salvation through "faith alone" or "faith only," and strictly adhere to Christ's Doctrine.


Two laws are suggested by the OP. And, indeed, there are two: 1) the Law of Moses, that from which we have been liberated "in Christ"; then there is the Gospel; the Law of the Spirit; the Royal Law; the Law of Liberty, or simply: 2) the Law of Christ.

There is a gaping difference between these two laws. The first is often referred to as "the law of sin and death" — which is a misnomer because that law is neither sinful nor "deathful". Rather the terms refer to the effect of its holiness as being "sin's occasion" and "death's warrant." Some may note that on the first day that Moses brought the Law down to the people, 3,000 were put to death:

Exodus 32:28: "So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed [to kill those out of control], and about three thousand men of the people fell that day."

This is in stark contrast to the first day that the Spirit of Life in Christ went into effect. On that day 3,000 people 1) heard the word, 2) believed in Christ, 3) repented of their sins, and were baptized "for the remission of sins" to become saints (Acts 2:37-47).

Three thousand died at the inauguration of the Law of Moses; 3,000 "came to life" upon the unveiling of the Law of Christ. A great distinction indeed.

  • This is all very well but it does not answer the central question - Is Paul equating the Low of God with the Law of Christ?
    – Dottard
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 6:42
  • I think this answer loses track theologically part way through. People under the old testament law were still saved the same way...this didnt change. The law isn't what saves...it just defines what sin is. Salvation has always been by faith in, for the OT looking forward to the messiah...ie he shall save them from their sins, and for the NT looking back at the Cross...he has saved us from our sins!
    – Adam
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 12:37
  • Both are the Law of God. The distinction, as I wrote, is that in the N/T the "Law of God" refers to the Law of Moses. This is in stark contrast to the "Law of Christ", the law by which we are now accountable. Thus, two covenants: 1) Law of Moses, a Covenant with the nation of Israel; 2) Law of Christ, a Covenant with everyone on earth. Note the Law of Christ is also: 1) the perfect law; 2) the Law of Liberty; 3) the royal law; 4) the law of the Spirit; 5) the Gospel of God... The Law of Moses: ~613 regulations, and commandments. The new, as you noted is much wider in scope, higher in purity.
    – Xeno
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 13:19
  • @Adam We seem to be in agreement.
    – Xeno
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 13:29
  • @Xeno " I dont think so ...you wrote... "Christ came to "fulfill": it was the Law of Moses He would fulfill." Upon His resurrection, the new Law of Liberty was instituted, the Law of Moses being nailed to the Cross" The fulfillment of the Law of Moses is misinterpreted. Jesus did not do away with the 10 commandments...he did away with the sacrificial system because HE became the sacrifice FOR ALL SIN. The sacrificing of lambs was to point towards the sacrifice the Messiah would make in the future, once Jesus died, that future was now here. That is what was nailed to the cross.
    – Adam
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 19:57

Paul does not Equate Law of God with Law of Christ

Paul behaves among the non-Jews as a non-Jew himself, not joining in sin with them, but only within the ethical or moral limits. The law forbids associating with the non-Jews. Paul, having freed from the law can eat unclean food with the non-Jews, but he does not violate the law of God which beyond the temporal dispensation of the law of Moses.

Only a couple of versions are precise in translating anomos as lawless. Cf. 1Tim 1:9 "law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane". Paul is lawless to Moses, not to God, acting only within law of Christ which has ended the wall of enmity with the Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 9:21 New Testament for Everyone (NTE) © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.
To the lawless I became like someone lawless (even though I’m not lawless before God, but under the Messiah’s law), so that I could win the lawless.

The law of Christ is the (current) subset of God's law, as this is the valid standard of justification now. This does not mean the Law of Moses cannot be called God's law, but since it has been abrogated, the law of Christ is the dispensation under God's law or God's righteousness now. The law of Christ will also eventually end as the earthly dispensation, 1Cor 15:28.

Romans 8:7 describes the godly man to be obedient to God. It contrasts godliness and sinfulness; the righteous and the unrighteous. The purpose of the book is that the law of Moses is no longer the standard of God's righteousness, or the faith of God. Faith in Christ is the requirement of God's law (cff. Romans 3 & 10).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.