In I CORINTHIANS 6:1 Paul is found reproving his converts of taking each other to a worldly court before unrighteous judges instead of settling disputes between each other. What legal standard are the saints to use when deciding legal matters? The Bible, of course. In those days, the Old Testament or Law of YHWH.
Then in I CORINTHIANS 9:8-9 Paul quotes one of the Laws to give support for a principle he is teaching: that ministers in the service of the Church should be paid, just as the ox that treads out the grain is not muzzled so that it may eat (DEUT. 25:4).
In verse 21 of the same chapter, Paul writes how he becomes all things to all people that he may win them to the Gospel, but not outside the Law. What he means is that when with unsaved Jews or Gentiles, he agrees with everything they say or do so long as it is not against YHWH’s Law–that is, sinful–so as not to alienate them by quibbling about unimportant or unnecessary details.
In I CORINTHIANS 15:56 Paul writes: …the strength of sin is the Law. The Law shows sin up for what it is–sin. For by the Law is the knowledge of sin (ROM. 3:20), but where no Law is, there is no transgression (ROM. 4:15), and I had not known (what) sin (is), but by the Law… The Law has a fundamental part to play in exposing our sins to the light of conviction.
Let us leave Paul momentarily to return to Yahshua. MATTHEW 7:21:
Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven.
DEUTERONOMY 10:12 states what Father requires–to fear YHWH thy Father, to walk in all His ways…to serve YHWH…with all thy heart and with all thy soul. This, of course, is directly from DEUTERONOMY 6:4-6, the greatest commandment. Remember in GENESIS 17:1 Abram was to walk in YaH’s Ways in order to be perfect; in II SAMUEL 22:31, that YaH’s Way is perfect; and in PSALM 19:17 the Law of YHWH is perfect; so the Law is, in fact, the perfect way. The Law and Yahshua are like a pigeon pair, for Yahshua is the Way, the truth, and the life (JOHN 14:6).
In LUKE 16:16 Yahshua says:
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time, the Kingdom of YHWH is preached.
Yahshua meant, as is translated in other Bible versions, that the Law and Prophets were preached until John. This is because John was the last Biblical character to die who was not able to go straight to Heaven. He preached the Law because that was the way of salvation until Yahshua died. John and all the righteous according to the Law had first to go to Paradise until Yahshua opened Heaven following His resurrection. The Old Testament saints came up out of their graves at this time, before also ascending to the newly opened Heaven. On the way they stopped off in Yerushalem as witnesses of this momentous event (MATT. 27:52-53). Thereafter it was called the Kingdom of Heaven because all of Heaven’s works were available to be performed here by its citizens still residing on Earth.
This cannot mean that after John the Law was done away with, for with His next breath Yahshua states that not even one stroke of a letter of the Law will fail (LUKE 16:17).
Not only must all things written in the Law, Prophets, and Psalms be fulfilled but He could not even be recognized apart from them (LUKE 24:44, JOHN 1:45).
It is a point of note that Paul was righteous and blameless according to the Law until he became a persecutor of the fledgling Church (PHIL. 3:6), at which time he sank into the flesh, departing from what had obviously been a spiritual life. For, he writes, the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully (I TIM. 1:8), and that the Law is not made for righteous man, but for the lawless (I TIM. 1:9). Paul asserts that persecuting the Christians made him a blasphemer, but his sin was committed ignorantly, in unbelief, for which Yahshua’s sacrifice atones for or is accepted by YHWH (I TIM. 1:13).
So if Paul had not fallen into what he call the foremost of all sin, but continued in his righteous way according to the Law, would he still have needed Yahshua as Saviour? No – like Zacchaeus being saved before Yahshua died, he would not have! (How many times did Yahshua say that: He did not come for the righteous, but the sinful; nor for the healthy but the sick?) However, the spiritual life Paul led before he was deceived into persecuting the Church would have brought him to recognize Yahshua and follow Him just as the disciples did. Furthermore, Yahshua’s sacrifice did away with all the animal sacrifices (HEB. 8:27). There were more than just trespass and sin offerings. There were sacrifices merely because a baby was born into sin and others to cover the whole nation. The parents of the man born blind may not have caused their son’s birth defect by their sin, but if sin had not come into the world, neither would their child have been come blind into the world.
It is solely through the Law, whether the letter of or in the heart, that we know sacrificial blood must be shed for atonement and forgiveness of sin (LEV. 17:11; HEB. 9:22). Without this Law–whether we know it or not, for ignorance is no excuse (HOS. 4:6)–we are lost.
We will leave this section of posts with the words of James–the brother of Yahshua, head of the Yerushalem Church–and John, His beloved. JAMES 2:8-9:
If you fulfil the royal Law (of our King) according to the Scripture (Old Testament), Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convicted of (convicted by) the Law as transgressors.
Even so faith, if it hath not works (of the Law), is dead, being alone.
And I JOHN 3:4 (NASB):
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (Greek word #485 anomia – not having, or practicing the Law!)