Laws of the Old Testament


In Galatians 3:13, St. Paul wrote that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law…” How does this apply to the laws of the Old Testament? In other words, does this cancel our need to obey the laws of the Old Testament, such as Leviticus 19:19. If so, then why do Catholics follow the 10 Commandments?

I’m very confuse, and your help would be appreciated!


Christ abolished the ceremonial laws of the OT (wearing clothing of two different materials, circumcision, etc.), but kept its moral law.


Hi OneOfTheFew. Welcome to the forums.

As James mentioned, “The Law” comprises ceremonial, judicial, and moral laws. The moral laws are to be observed always. Judicial laws were proper for the circumstances of the historical times and could change as needed (ie. Cost for slaves). Ceremonial laws (in particular) are no longer necessary as Jesus perfected the law. Please keep in mind that my simplified explanations are not exhaustive.

In the Levitical and deutero laws, we see distinctions made because of the disobedience of Israel. Some of these laws were imposed as penalties for that disobedience; they were meant to steer Israel back toward holiness. Without that disobedience, certain penalties would not have been necessary. Jesus perfected the broken covenant and took the penalties onto Himself. Consider this example.

“Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God and shalt serve Him only…” (Deut. 6:13)

“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God…” (Deut. 6:16)

“…Not by bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3)

Moses chastised Israel for not following these precepts of God. They failed. One result for disobedience was that they wandered not 40 days, but 40 years in the desert, facing many other disciplinary hardships for continued disobedience. Fast forward to Jesus’s temptation in the desert (Luke 4). Responding to Satan’s temptations of disobedience, Jesus quotes these same precepts from Deuteronomy (successfully). He leaves the desert in 40 days and perfects the covenant broken by Isreal.

So should we imitate Christ by following these precepts? Yes, they are moral laws. However, we no longer celebrate the Passover (ceremonial law) because Jesus perfected that shadow in the Eucharist. Hope this helps.





Have you ever sinned? Then you are guilty before the whole Law. Remember James says that if a man breaks any part of the Law then he is guilty before the whole Law.

This is the curse of the Law.

Christ by His merit and sacrifice redeems (purchases) us from the punishment due us for our sins before the Law. For this reason we are saved in Christ from the curse of the Law.

God Bless


I think other Scriptures will help us understand this.

In Titus 2:14 it says Christ “redeemed us from all iniquity….” Iniquity, or sin, according to 1 John 3:4, is “the transgression of the law.” The penalty for this transgression is death (Romans 6:23).

Since “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), then all are under the death penalty. This is the curse the law has brought upon us for which Christ came as our Redeemer. We are all cursed to die as a result of our sin, but Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law.”


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit