When I asked Jesus into my heart and proclaimed Him as my Savior over 30 years ago, I became a member of a Church in Austin, Texas that was known for breaking the bonds of strict religious doctrine. Like many churches of that era, the message heard each Sunday changed from "Law" to "Grace". In fact, the mantra became that the Law belonged in the Old Testament, and Jesus's resurrection meant we were now all under Grace, not the Law.
In the minds of many believers, this has led to the Law of God being positioned in a subordinate role to Grace. But that is a false assumption. The fact that we have a legal standing of righteousness before God bears witness that His Law is still in existence, and it is important to Him -- that standing before God that says we are in covenant with Him as citizens of the Kingdom of God on earth, and our belief in salvation from Jesus Christ [alone], our King.
Sometimes I think the modern Church has forgotten that God's Laws define righteousness and sin, and the last time I looked, both can still be a problem for man, and are therefore still pertinent in our lives. They are not burdensome and every one of them is for our benefit. The Apostle Paul, who is so often used to justify a "Grace Only" theology, tells us that "the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good", and that "the law is spiritual" (Romans 7:12,14). Doesn't sound much like we should dismiss the Law, does it?
But there will be those who say the Law no longer has any significance for us, and that is what the writer of Hebrews is saying in 8:13, In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. I think it is important that we read this verse within the context of what the writer is talking about. He is speaking about the renewal of the original covenant into a better model. He is not talking about abolishing the Law.
Also, it depends on exactly what you mean by "The Law". Then, it depends on a correct understanding of "Old" and "New" Covenant. The fact that the Mosaic law (and its rituals of animal sacrifice for salvation) has been terminated does not mean that there is no law in this age of grace. The New Testament is full of references to various forms of law under God's direction: “the perfect law of liberty" (James. 1:25), “the royal law” (James. 2:8), the Law of Christ (Galatians. 6:2), and the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans. 8:2). These all point to various commands found throughout the epistles which comprise God's Law. They cover all areas of the believer’s life to direct him in the will of God in today’s world.
We can all agree that parts of the Mosaic Law were weak because they were dependent on man’s ability, and God put an end to that sacrificial system with the advent of Christ. But that was the system God used to divorce the Israelites from the pagan ways of their centuries of bondage in Egypt. They were so steeped in the occultic practices and sins of Egypt that they had lost any sense of a relationship with their God. The Mosaic Law was designed to build and maintain a proper relationship (through covenant) between God and His people Israel (blessing versus cursing) until the coming of Messiah and the establishment of a New Covenant. There were portions of the Mosaic Law that were never designed to be a permanent rule of life. But that is not true of all components of the Law.
So let's talk about the Mosaic Law. It was given specifically to the nation of Israel, and included the Ten Commandments, the ordinances, and the worship system, which included the priesthood, the tabernacle, the offerings, and the feasts, or festivals. The Mosaic Law was intended to reveal the holy character of God to a people who had seemed to have forgotten Him during their 400 years of captivity in unholy Egypt. While they revealed the sinfulness of man, they did not provide eternal salvation. Faith in Jesus would accomplish that.
And, yes, there were numerous statutes and ordinances that existed then, whose specifics may not apply to us -- rules that dealt with war, slavery, tithes, religious festivals, sacrifices, kosher food, prophecy, the monarchy, and the particulars of the Temple sanctuary. But I would venture that if you would read them today, the spirit of the Law remains intact. And then there are those Ten Commandments. Could it be that they comprise the heart of all of God's Laws? That they existed before Moses received the stone tablets on Mount Sinai, and they are intended to remain at the center of God's government on Earth?
I recently read an article on the website Life, Hope & Truth, and it presented a very good case for this last statement. For example, the Bible tells us in Genesis 26:5: Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. Since Abraham obeyed God in these matters hundreds of years before Moses lived, then there have been known laws that have existed before Mount Sinai.
And think about this: the Bible is very clear in 1 John 3:4 that sin is breaking God's Law. As early as Genesis 4:7, a connection is made between sin and rules [law] to prevent it: If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it. This implies the rules of Kingdom [of Heaven] government here on earth.
The patriarch, Jacob, understood the importance of the First and Second Commandments 300 years before Moses received the stone tablets. On his return to his homeland, he commanded his family and servants to get rid of idols they were carrying with them before he went to Bethel and built an altar to the One True God.
One of the most interesting discoveries I found in the article pointed out that the Commandment to not take the Lord's name in vain, was obviously known by Job. In the First Chapter of Job, which is believed to be one of the oldest books in the Bible, Scripture says that he offered burnt offerings according to the number of his children. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. To me, this lends to an understanding that Job knew about a law that demanded sacrificial offerings for taking God's name in vain. -- before Mount Sinai.
Was God's commandment against adultery known by Joseph [in Genesis 39] when he refused to lie with his master's wife and spoke these words: How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Was the law forbidding adultery already established when God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, ‘Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife (Genesis 20)?
The bottom line is this .... the word "Law" is not a bad word. God has rules by which He intends to see His purpose fulfilled. There is a spiritual morality indicated in each of His Laws -- both those who are no longer needed under the New Covenant, and those that are still to be followed in the New Covenant. But most importantly, we need to understand that all His laws are based on love. They were established to show us how God expects us to love Him and love others. Again, I say they are not burdensome and are a part of His Kingdom government, both in Heaven and on earth. It is by His grace (His power in us that enables us to do what we cannot do on our own) that we love Him and follow His commandments. And that pleases Him!
John 14:15 If you Love Me, keep My commandments.