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The laws and commandments of the Old Testament and New Testament have many similarities. Some believe the presence of Jesus and his fulfillment of the law abolishes the laws found in the Old Testament. According to Charles Cosgrove, “the Law of Moses has been fundamentally altered by the appearance of the messiah” (2014). From this quote, one can infer at one point, individuals thought we did not have to obey the laws or commandments as a result of Jesus’ arrival.
In the New Testament, it is stated that we are now under grace and no longer under the law. However, Jesus did not come to put the Laws of Moses aside, but rather fulfill the laws and commandments. This can be confirmed in Matthew 5:17-18, where Jesus claims: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill . . . one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled”. The quote presented is speaking about all of the laws found in the Old Testament. Moral laws are still in place, yet laws speaking of ceremonies found in the Old Testament were not applicable. Specifically the sacrificing of lambs for the forgiveness of sins. Periodically, Jewish people had to sacrifice lambs in order to be forgiven for their sins. This process did not give them complete—or permanent forgiveness. Because of this, Jesus died on the cross to give permanent forgiveness for those who will accept him. The mentioning of grace rather than law refers to us no longer having to make animal sacrifices and now being under the grace and mercy of God because his son has died for us.
Another aspect of the law that no longer needed to be done was the death penalty for particular offences. In the Old Testament, people were stoned for committing the act of adultery. Jesus changed the concept of this law. In John 8:1-11, there is a women who commits adultery. Teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought forth the women and circumstances to Jesus. They told him how the Law of Moses reveals the punishment for such act is being stoned to death. Jesus’ response to them, “. . . let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (John 8:7). The ones who told Jesus left one by one, and Jesus asked the women if they had condemned her. After she answered no, Jesus told her, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). In the times before this, people who would commit adultery were stoned to death. This circumstance displays that there is no longer a need to stone people who have done such actions. No longer did individuals have to be stoned for these offences. Instead, they now had to deal with it with God and no longer other people.
Yet another part of the law that undergoes change in both Testaments is the “Eye for and Eye” concept. In the Old Testament, an example of this law is if somebody were to kill somebody else. If this were to be done, the individual committing the crime were to kill themselves. Death also is a punishment for those who were adulterers or people involved in occults. This may be because the punishments were to be severe for those in the Old Testament to show to those who came along after. This punishment in a way follows the eye for an eye idea—maybe to an extreme though. Found in the New Testament, Matthew to be specific, Jesus speaks about the law concerning an eye for an eye. He mentions the law, and then claims, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). Jesus is bringing clarity to this law that was presented in the Old Testament. Similarly with the adultery story, Jesus is letting those know that this law is no longer what it should be and shall instead be what he says.
Based on the information provided, it can be suggested that the laws in the Old Testament and New Testament apply to us today, with the exception of a few laws that were discussed by
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