Sometimes it becomes very frustrating when we cannot point out truths of the Bible in ways that are easily understood. Once a person does understand however, it becomes as clear as day. Many people cannot 'rightly divide the word of truth' (2 Timothy 2:15) One thing the apostle Paul means in this sentence, is that of the separating the 3 dispensations of man, although there are many other things which could be included in his admonition.
We will here attempt to explain the fact that the first dispensation, the Patriarchal age, was the original method of God's dealing with the people, all of whom were of his creation. Their laws and code of living were given to the heads of households and tribes, and from there were passed on down to their progeny. That law remained the same for all the world except the Jews (descendants of Jacob, who was from Isaac and Abraham).
When God, with great miracles and power, led the family of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, out of the Egyptian bondage, He gave them a law. Separate from the rest of humanity. This was done because God had found favor in the life of faithful Abraham in a sinful world. He chose his descendants to furnish the lineage to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. He wanted them to have a separate and stringent law that would set them apart from the world. Now, when Jesus was born, lived and died to bring man a means of having his sins remitted, he gave all men, Jews and gentiles (gentiles being all those other than Jews who were still under the Patriarchal law) a new law. The perfect law of liberty.
Now, prior to that time, mankind had no way of ridding himself of his sins. Man has never been able to atone for his own sins. Those who lived devout lives under either of the old laws, died with their sins still charged to them. But Jesus, by virtue of his sinless life, was able to create a means whereby all men, before and after him, could be forgiven of their sins. Those who had died, and had lived a devout and acceptable life, even though the offering of bulls and goats could never remove them, God's grace was extended back to them through Jesus. And not only those, but to all men, Jew and gentile forever more, if they would live and obey the teachings of Jesus and his inspired writers. God's grace will erase our sins if we are obedient and do our best to remain so. Now with all of that said, let us look at our subject.
Paul refers to the Old Testament Law of Moses, in his second letter to the church at Colosse as follows:
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:13-14 KJV)
The mention of the handwriting of ordinances is a direct reference to the Law of Moses and, it is unmistakably shown here that Jesus took the old law out of the way at his death. Many people refuse to accept that fact but it is a truth and when one makes an attempt to live under both laws, they lose their grace from Jesus.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Galatians 5:1-6 KJV)
If you continue to be confused on this subject, consider these questions...why are there two distinct parts of the Bible anyway? What was the reason for Jesus coming to the earth and giving his life? The Old Testament is exactly that…old. A history of God's dealing with mankind, and all of it to prepare for the coming of the messiah, to save the mankind from their sins. We are Christians today, followers of Jesus Christ and his edicts. His law is all that is now in force. You cannot live under both laws. Paul answered that just above where he uses circumcision as meaning they were still striving to obey the old law.
Notice his phrase, "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law." In other words, if you expect the old law to save you, you must obey every portion, even the animal sacrifices, etc. Jesus Christ was the only one who ever kept it perfectly. Now, he has been given authority over all things, in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18)
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews, tells us plainly: “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6: KJV)
How anyone cannot understand this is amazing. The better covenant, promises us eternal life in Heaven. The old covenant promised the Jews prosperity and contentment in their land if they would obey. They were not taught of heaven and hell, only the good life here on earth. Some believed in heaven although all did not. The Sadducees did not believe in an after life. It was not a part of their promise. So, those who now reject the fact that Jesus is our only way to heaven, and still try to keep portions of the old law are rendering his death of no effect. Read this:
"For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:" (Romans 4:14 KJV)
Be careful, study, meditate and pray that your life may be in harmony with the New Testament teachings. Study the Old Testament so you can see that it was to be temporary, to 'bring us to Christ'. The entire Bible is centered around this one sinless man who provided all men a way of escape. It was not Abraham, Moses, or one of the prophets. It was Jesus Christ who gave his sinless life on the cruel cross so he could remit our sins. We need the Old Testament to help us understand the New, and to prove the word of God is inerrant and infallible.