Doesn’t Ephesians 2:15 do away with the need to obey the Old Testament commandments?

     Doesn’t Ephesians 2:15 do away with the need to obey the Old Testament commandments?
     While many use Ephesians 2:15 as proof that Paul abolished the Old Testament commandments, nothing could be further from the truth. The key to understanding this passage is found in the word “ordinances.” This word is from the Greek dogma and refers to man-made decrees or ceremonial law. Strong’s provides the following definition: “…a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical.” In addition to this passage, dogma occurs four times in the New Testament. Below are the passages:
  • “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree [dogma] from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1)
  • “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees [dogma] for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4)
  • “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees [dogma] of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Yahshua” (Acts 17:7)
  • “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [dogma] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his stake” (Colossians 2:14).

Based on the above, Luke 2:1 and Acts 17:7 refer to Roman civil law; Acts 16:4 refers to ecclesiastical laws from the apostles; and Colossians 2:14 and Ephesians 2:15 likely refer to rabbinical laws that served as a wedge between Jew and gentile. It’s important to note that in none of the above examples, as well as Ephesians, dogma does not refer to Old Testament law, including laws dealing with morality and worship. It is clear from the New Testament that the Messiah and apostles, including the Apostle Paul, were not opposed to the Old Testament commandments, but taught compliance to them, Matthew 5:17-20; 19:17; 22:37-40; Mark 10:19; John 14:15; Romans 3:317:12; 13:8-10; 1Corinthians 7:19; 1John 2:3; 3:4; 5:3; and Revelation 12:1714:1222:14.

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Posted in Q&A - Biblical law & Obedience.

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