Explain the difference


Between the “moral law” and the “ceremonial law”

I understand that when we followed the Law of Moses it was “Mosaic Law”.

Now we follow Jesus Christ “Christian Law”.

But what is considered moral or ceremonial?

Animal Sacrifice= ceremonial?

Any examples would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.


The moral law is contained and summarized in the two great commandments. Love God above all things with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second of course is to love your neighbor as yourself.

All moral principles and moral laws flow from the two great commandments. The ceremonial law of the OT had over 600 rules and regulations. The moral law is written on our hearts while the ceremonial law is not. The moral law is really part of what it means to be fully human. It is what it means to live in the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit as God intended for man since Genesis. God’s grace lifts us out of our fallen nature. God’s grace enables us to live the moral life of goodness that emanates from the very goodness of God.

The OT law pointed out what is sinful. It was a custodian but it had no power to lift man out of sin. Only Jesus was able to fulfill the Law. The passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus enables the Christian by grace to live in the Spirit and to live a moral life that is in the image of Jesus. Paul puts it beautifully in Romans 8:29 when he says that God’s purpose is that we are to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”

I hope this helps.


Parts of the Mosaic Law were ceremonial and parts were moral. The Ten Commandments were part of the moral law and we still must obey them.

Christians also have ceremonial law and moral law.
Ceremonial law usually refers to the regulations governing the “ceremonies” established by the Church to carry out a moral law (eg. to honor God and keep holy the Lord’s day; other actions and/or sacraments commanded by Christ).

The following example may help.
*Moral Law *= Love the Lord Your God; Keep holy the Lord’s Day;
*Ceremonial Law *= words and actions to be followed by priest and people in the celebration of the Mass. Type of priestly vestments to be worn. Regulations regarding various vessels used. Type of music.

Ceremonial Law can change. Also the laws can vary in different parts of the world/different cultures.

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish whether something is ceremonial or moral. For example, with the Sacraments. The words we use to baptize are part of the ceremony, yet they were commanded by Jesus, so we are not free to change them (Mt 28:19 "…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit).

If you have any particular laws in mind, it might be easier if you stated them and then someone could let you know whether it is a moral or a ceremonial law.

By the way, Catholics have a “moral” responsibility to be obedient to Church ceremonial regulations! :slight_smile:



Nicely done.


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