Christians Not Under the Old Law
Pius XII: Mystici Corporis, 29: “And first of all, by the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ…but on the Gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. “To such an extent, then,” says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, “was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel, from the Synagogue to the Church, from the many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as Our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.”
30: “On the Cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death, in order to give way to the New Testament of which Christ had chosen the Apostles as qualified ministers”
Council of Trent, ch 1, 793: “but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom”
Council of Trent, Session 6, ch 2: “that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law”
Council of Trent, Canon 1: “If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done through his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law…let him be anathema.”
Council of Florence, DS 695: “There are seven sacraments of the new Law: namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily.”
Council of Florence, DS 712: “It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally.”
“All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism’ to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation.”
Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum, #59: “However they are not attempting to observe the precepts of the old Law, which as everyone knows have been revoked by the coming of Christ.”
Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum, #61: “The first consideration is that the ceremonies of the Mosaic law were abrogated by the coming of Christ and they can no longer be observed without sin after the promulgation of the Gospel.”
Pius VI, DS 1519-1520 (condemned the following): “Likewise, the doctrine which adds that under the Law man ‘became a prevaricator, since he was powerless to observe it, not indeed by the fault of the Law, which was most sacred, but by the guilt of man, who, under the Law, without grace, became more and more a prevaricator’; and it further adds, ‘that the Law, if it did not heal the heart of man, brought it about that he would recognize his evil, and, being convinced of his weakness, would desire the grace of a mediator’; in this part it generally intimates that man became a prevaricator through the nonobservance of the Law which he was powerless to observe, as if ‘He who is just could command something impossible, or He who is pious would be likely to condemn man for that which he could not avoid’ (from St. Caesarius Serm. 73, in append., St. Augustine, Serm. 273, edit. Maurin; from St. August., De nat, et “rat., e. 43; De “rat. et lib. arb., e. 16, Enarr. in psalm. 56, n. I),– false scandalous, impious, condemned in Baius (see n. 1504).
1520 20. “In that part in which it is to be understood that man, while under the Law and without grace, could conceive a desire for the grace of a Mediator related to the salvation promised through Christ, as if ‘grace itself does not effect that He be invoked by us’ (from Conc. Araus. II, can. 3 [v.n. 176]),– the proposition as it stands, deceitful, suspect, favorable to the Semipelagian heresy.
The above citations were taken from Denziger’s, and were compiled by Bob Sungenis, at Catholic Apologetics International.
Commentary by Doug Lawrence:
Jesus personally gave us the new commandment: Love God. Love your neighbor.
In this, he was anticipating his perfect and atoning sacrifice, which would accomplish what no law ever could.
The old law …. all of it … ceased to exist once Jesus gave us the NEW and BETTER covenant in his blood.
Under the NEW COVENANT, we have the BEATITUDES, which do indeed promise BLESSINGS and REWARDS for laudable behavior.
The Beatitudes are to the new covenant what the law was to the old … only better.
So that begs the question: Which laws are you following? Precisely how does following an obsolete set of laws obtain grace? Why are you not instead seeking ALL the blessings and rewards promised by Christ, in the Beatitudes?
Jesus went on to found the authentic Church, to serve as the infallible guide for every generation of Christians, until the end of time … and to act definitively, as the primary distributor of all his grace, peace, and forgiveness.
The church eventually readopted and readapted the Ten Commandments … to be used as a guide to the spiritual realities and Christian morality of the New Covenant.
But the fact remains: People continue to sin almost constantly, and the law provides no remedy for sin, other than judgment. It never did.
Fortunately for us … God does.
God saves by the grace of the cross, which is freely available to all … primarily through the one, holy, apostolic and universal church that Jesus personally founded, for the purpose of our salvation … the Catholic Church – not by any law.
More … about that “jot and tittle” passage in the Gospel
About the Sabbath day
St. Paul speaks to the Galatians about “the Law”:
Gal 3:1 O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth: before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you?
Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?
Gal 3:4 Have you suffered so great things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
Gal 3:5 He therefore who giveth to you the Spirit and worketh miracles among you: doth he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of the faith?
Gal 3:6 As it is written: Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice.
Gal 3:7 Know ye, therefore, that they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God justifieth the Gentiles by faith, told unto Abraham before: In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:9 Therefore, they that are of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written: Cursed is every one that abideth, not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11 But that in the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: because the just man liveth by faith.
Gal 3:12 But the law is not of faith: but he that doth those things shall live in them.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree).
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus: that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.
Gal 3:15 Brethren (I speak after the manner of man), yet a man’s testament, if it be confirmed, no man despiseth nor addeth to it.
Gal 3:16 To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not: And to his seeds as of many. But as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17 Now this I say: that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years doth not disannul, to make the promise of no effect.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Gal 3:19 Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Was the law then against the promises of God: God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before the faith came, we were kept under the law shut up, unto that faith which was to be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our pedagogue in Christ: that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after the faith is come, we are no longer under a pedagogue.
Gal 3:26 For you are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.
And similarly … to the Colossians:
Col 2:6 As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him:
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned: abounding in him in thanksgiving.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.
Col 2:10 And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Col 2:11 In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ.
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, when you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences:
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross.
Col 2:15 And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open shew, triumphing over them in himself.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a festival day or of the new moon or of the sabbaths,
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ.
Col 2:18 Let no man seduce you, willing in humility and religion of angels, walking in the things which he hath not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh:
Col 2:19 And not holding the head, from which the whole body, by joints and bands, being supplied with nourishment and compacted, groweth into the increase of God.
Col 2:20 If then you be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do you yet decree as though living in the world?
Col 2:21 Touch not: taste not: handle not.
Col 2:22 Which all are unto destruction by the very use, according to the precepts and doctrines of men.
Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in superstition and humility, and not sparing the body; not in any honour to the filling of the flesh.