The Law of Christ

Hey, guys.

As Christians, we all are under the law of Christ. But for Catholics, Jesus’ law has made the rituals and purity laws of the Mosaic law obsolete and has replaced them with the Sacraments.

Is this the correct understanding of Scripture from a Catholic perspective?


“Love one another as I have loved you.”
He also admonished us to keep His commandments.

A more accurate assessment might be that Christmas fulfilled the laws rather than making them obsolete.

That’s my understanding. Although many reduce the Law of Christ to the verse which says:

John 13:34New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

34 I give you a new commandment love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.

However, I believe it means:

Matthew 28:19-20New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20** teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.** And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We’re not “under the law” at all anymore; we’re “now under grace”, which means that we fulfill the demands of justice, the requirements to be righteous, by virtue of being in communion with God, which is effected by faith, formalized via the sacrament of Baptism as Jesus commanded. “If you love me you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15) Love is what now should compel us to obedience under the New Covenant. **“Love fulfills the Law.” **(Rom 13:8)

To be under the Old Law, apart from grace, we strive to obey by our own efforts, expressing our own “righteousness” by external obedience. Under the New Law, the law of grace, we’re to be interiorly enabled and empowered, at the level of the heart, to obey by the Spirit of God, from Whom authentic righteousness flows, as He transforms us into His image, the image of love. “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) This communion is how it was always meant to be for man. This is the relationship that Adam broke.

The “Law of Christ”, the “New Law, “under grace”, the “New Covenant” are all related terms. The “Old Law”, the Old Covenant, is now obsolete, replaced with a “new and better Law”:
**1963 According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual, and good,14 yet still imperfect. Like a tutor15 it shows what must be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the Spirit, to fulfill it. Because of sin, which it cannot remove, it remains a law of bondage. According to St. Paul, its special function is to denounce and disclose sin, which constitutes a “law of concupiscence” in the human heart.16 However, the Law remains the first stage on the way to the kingdom. It prepares and disposes the chosen people and each Christian for conversion and faith in the Savior God. It provides a teaching which endures forever, like the Word of God.

1965 The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: "I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my laws into their hands, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."19

1966 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be done and makes use of the sacraments to give us the grace to do it:
If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there . . . the perfect way of the Christian life. . . . This sermon contains . . . all the precepts needed to shape one’s life.20

1967 The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection.21 In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith - the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.

1968 The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure,22 where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.23**

The sacraments are not laws so much as they are means-avenues of grace- which God has provided to establish and maintain our relationship-our communion- with Him as well as to live out our faith in other important ways.

**1076 The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.1 The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the “dispensation of the mystery” the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, "until he comes."2 In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s “sacramental” liturgy.
It is therefore important first to explain this “sacramental dispensation” (chapter one). The nature and essential features of liturgical celebration will then appear more clearly (chapter two).

1116 Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ,33 which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.


First of all, thank you for adding more understanding. At my age I will need a lot of it. :smiley:

So basically we need to follow Christ’s commands for our benefit not that we can fulfill the Law by ourselves?


The Sacraments override, but do not necessarily replace the old laws

Matt.5: [17] "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them

The Sacraments HAVE greater significance, benefits and of course God’s GRACE

Hi, James!

…the theologies *are *different–non-Catholics’ varies from 1 Sacrament to no Sacrament to no church to an “invisible” church…

The Catholic theology takes its cue from Jesus… “I will Build my Church” and “the other Paraclete will Come and Bring you to the Fullness of Truth.”

The Catholic theology depends upon Jesus Mandates as He Revealed them and Taught them and the Church that He Established and the Sacraments that He Revealed… the non-Catholic theologies depend upon “me and Jesus” which usually is attained through "accepting Jesus as “personal Lord/Savior”–everything else is basically superfluous and not necessary for “Salvation,” period.

…though, it is not as much as made “them” obsolete as it is brought “them” to the Fullness which they were meant to enjoy:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]17 ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.

(St. Matthew 5:17)

34 ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be those of his own household. (St. Matthew 10:34-36)

43 ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. 44 But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; 45 in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. 46 For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? (St. Matthew 5:43-46)

37 Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’ (St. Matthew 22:37-40)

53 Jesus replied: I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. 54 Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. (St. John 6:53-56)

15 If you love me you will keep my commandments. (St. John 14:15)
…it’s more than “being under the Law of Christ” as seen as being “in the Spirit.” It is compliance with Christ!

Maran atha!



Too young?:cool:

So basically we need to follow Christ’s commands for our benefit

For our salvation:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

not that we can fulfill the Law by ourselves?

We fulfill the law, by the grace of God:

Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Yep, I’m a teenager talking to adults.

For our salvation:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all the that obey him;


We fulfill the law, by the grace of God:

Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.13 it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Amen! Thank you for your words.

You’re welcome. Thanks for the cordial conversation.

Aquinas considered the “Law of Christ” to be the “New Law”, a term the Church continues to use to describe the action or operation of grace under the New Covenant.

Not sure if you’re disagreeing with James and I. Here’s what St. Thomas says:

On the contrary, Through the New Law, men are made “children of light”: wherefore it is written (John 12:36): “Believe in the light that you may be the children of light.” Now it is becoming that children of the light should do deeds of light and cast aside deeds of darkness, according to Ephesians 5:8: “You were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk . . . as children of the light.” Therefore the New Law had to forbid certain external acts and prescribe others.

which is shown forth by faith that worketh through love. Now men become receivers of this grace through God’s Son made man, Whose humanity grace filled first, and thence flowed forth to us. Hence it is written (John 1:14): “The Word was made flesh,” and afterwards: “full of grace and truth”; and further on: “Of His fulness we all have received, and grace for grace.” Hence it is added that “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Consequently it was becoming that the grace flows from the incarnate Word should be given to us by means of certain external sensible objects; and that from this inward grace, whereby the flesh is subjected to the Spirit, certain external works should ensue.

Accordingly external acts may have a twofold connection with grace. In the first place, as leading in some way to grace. Such are the sacramental acts which are instituted in the New Law, e.g. Baptism, the Eucharist, and the like.

In the second place there are those external acts which ensue from the promptings of grace: and herein we must observe a difference. For there are some which are necessarily in keeping with, or in opposition to inward grace consisting in faith that worketh through love. Such external works are prescribed or forbidden in the New Law; thus confession of faith is prescribed, and denial of faith is forbidden; for it is written (Matthew 10:32-33) “(Every one) that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father . . . But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father.” On the other hand, there are works which are not necessarily opposed to, or in keeping with faith that worketh through love. Such works are not prescribed or forbidden in the New Law, by virtue of its primitive institution; but have been left by the Lawgiver, i.e. Christ, to the discretion of each individual. And so to each one it is free to decide what he should do or avoid; and to each superior, to direct his subjects in such matters as regards what they must do or avoid. Wherefore also in this respect the Gospel is called the “law of liberty” [Cf. Reply to Objection 2]: since the Old Law decided many points and left few to man to decide as he chose.

That is consistent with that which James248 and I agreed upon.

We fulfill the law, by the grace of God:

Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.13 it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

But then, you may have intended to agree, all along.

From Pope Benedict’s excellent book Jesus Of Nazareth (Vol. One) From the baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration"

Citing Jacob Neusner:

"The rabbi cites from the Babylonian Talmud: Rabbi Simelai expounded: “Six hundred and thirteen commandments were given to Moses, three hundred and sixty-five negative ones, corresponding to the number of the days of the solar year, and two hundred forty-eight positive commandments, corresponding to the parts of man’s body.
“‘David came and reduced them to eleven …“‘Isaiah came and reduced them to six …
“‘Isaiah again came and reduced them to two …
“‘Habakkuk further came and based them on one, as it is said: “But the righteous shall live by his faith’”(Hab 2:4).”

The obvious message from Paul’s letters are that we are under a New Covenant. How are we to understand this?

Led by the Spirit, not the Letter.

The Holy Spirit is the author of Paul’s letters. And that really doesn’t answer my question.

I’m not sure why not. The New Covenant is a covenant of grace, the power of the HS enabling us to be and live we enter relationship and commune with Him. Only within this relationship is found man’s authentic justice IOW., where he fulfills the law as it was always intended to be fulfilled.

Hi, James!

…could you expand on what it is that you are asking?

Maran atha!


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