The Handwriting of Requirements Was the Law of Moses

by Terry Wane Benton

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Paul said the "handwriting of requirements" was "against us" and "was contrary to us" and "He (Jesus) has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). As a result of this, no one could judge you in food or in drink (requirements of the Law of Moses) or regarding festivals, new moons or sabbaths (requirements of the Law of Moses) (Colossians 2:16). Why can no one judge in regard to these things? Because Jesus took that handwriting of requirements out of the way, having nailed it (the handwriting of requirements) to the cross. If that law was still binding, then Jesus did not take it out of the way and it would only be right for people to "judge" us if we are not keeping a binding requirement. The Law of Moses was the handwriting of requirements. It was "against us" in that it pointed out sin, but had no power to save us from sin. It required a high standard but did not save us from failures. It did not merely affirm our virtues. It condemned us, pointing out our sins. It was "contrary to us." Jesus disarmed it from its condemning power. He took it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Now, did it cease to testify of sin? No! It ceased to be a binding law but did not cease to be a testimonial resource. It still testifies of Christ, testifies of faith, testifies of sin, testifies of righteousness, but has no power to condemn us since Jesus disarmed it from having that sole power. Jesus nailed it to the cross, which means that the cross overrules the condemning power of the Law of requirements. The cross is the end of the binding and condemning power of the Law, and begins the New Covenant where sins are remembered no more. Jesus "abolished in His flesh ... the law of commandments" (Ephesians 2:15).

Our AD 70 friends say that it was not abolished at the cross, but Paul makes it clear that the law of commandments was abolished in His flesh, not forty years later in AD 70. In order for Jesus to be High Priest there first had to be a "change of the Law" (Hebrews 7:11-12). Jesus was High Priest long before AD 70 and His offering was in place and atoning for sin long before AD 70. If the law was not changed before AD 70, then Jesus was not High Priest and His offering was not available to bless us with remission of sins until AD 70. But that is clearly false. The New Testament came into force after Jesus' death on the cross, because the Old Testament was taken out of the way. It was nailed to the cross. Brethren were complete in Christ long before AD 70 (Colossians 2:10). They could be complete in Christ because the Law of Moses with its requirements was nailed to the cross.

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