Why the difference between OT "Law" and NT "Grace"?
The Torah, or Law, as rendered in most Bibles, never was, is not now, nor ever will be a salvation issue. There is only one salvation issue: the Messiah sent by God to be the perfect Passover Lamb, slain for our sins and salvation as a gift of God by grace through faith in His atoning death and resurrection. The Hebrew word Torah means "teachings and instructions." Moses received this body of directives from God himself on Mt. Sinai after the Almighty, at His own initiative, supernaturally delivered the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt and through the Red Sea until they stood on the far shores a totally free people for the first time in 400 years. It was to this multitude of free people that God gave the Torah, instructions on how to live a godly lifestyle so that they would not return to slavery.
The experience of the children of Israel provides a pattern for our own experience as born-again believers in the Messiah of Israel. We were each born into the slavery of sin and were saved from it when God mercifully sought us and delivered us through the blood of His Son. He led us through the waters of baptism and now expects us to study and obey His Word so that we might live in freedom and not return to the bondage of our past life. Each of us is born into the slavery of sin but delivered from it through the blood of Jesus Christ.
While some proclaim that "the Law has been done away with," I object to this statement on scriptural grounds. The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength." This commandment is found in the Book of Deuteronomy, and is only repeated in the New Testament. The confusion arises when modern Christians do not understand that there were four types of laws within the Torah. The sacrificial laws are entirely and forever fulfilled through the sacrifices of Jesus. However, the social and civil commandments such as "Honor your father and your mother...", "Thou shalt not kill...", "Be kind to the widow and the orphan..." and others like these are most certainly still commandments of God today to be honored and obeyed.
It is not "the Law" that has been done away with, it is the "curse of the Law," according to Paul's teaching in Galatians 3. Since the Scripture teaches that the "Law" only condemns law-breakers, why should any disciple of the Lord who desires to follow Him be anti-Law? If we seek to love Him with all our heart and soul and to live in obedience to His Word, there should be no controversy regarding the commandments He instructs us to follow. "If you love Me, keep My commandments," Jesus said in John 14:15. It is clear from Matthew's Gospel which commandments He had in mind, for He stated unequivocally, "Never think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill.....Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments and so teaches others to do the same shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps them and teaches them shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven" (Mat. 5:17, 19).
It behooves the disciple of the Lord to study His Word, all of it, and to live an obedient life, for "Obedience is better than sacrifice" (1 Sam. 15:22). Of the 613 commandments in the Torah, approximately 170 very much apply to us today. Each one is also reflected in the teachings of the New Testament which, in itself, contains no less than 1050 commandments!
Therefore, in obedience to the words of Jesus, we uphold the validity and beauty of the Torah, rightly understood as a guide for those who have been saved by the grace of God to the life of holiness "without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).