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Ephesians 2:15 - The Law Was Abolished?

Ephesians 2:15 "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace" KJV

Overview:

What does this text mean?
  • The 10 Commandments were abolished when Christ died on the cross.

    OR

  • The law of ordinances which pointed to Christ (shadows) was abolished when he died on the cross.
The word abolished in this difficult text may seem to show that the 10 commandments were destroyed. But let's take a closer look. What exactly is the "law of commandments contained in ordinances?" First, lets go back a few verses to see what verse 15 is talking about.

EVIDENCE:


Eph 2:11-12 "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

The uncircumcised were strangers of covenant promises before Christ came.

Eph 2:13 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

By Jesus, uncircumcised strangers became part of the promise.

Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;"

Christ has made Jews and Gentiles both one. Circumcision is part of the law of ordinances that Jesus did away with through his life and death. The ordinances were the wall that separated Jews and Gentiles.

Ephesians 2:15 "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace"

The ordinance of circumcision is found in the law of ordinances, not in the 10 commandments. The new covenant does not include circumcision. However, the new covenant does include the 10 Commandments as shown in the following text.

1 Cor 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts." NIV

Ordinances are out, commandments remain.

Gal 6:15 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."

If circumcision were part of the 10 Commandments law, it would not say keeping the commandments is what counts. Keeping the commandments through the power of Christ, makes a new creature.

Summary:

Col 2:20 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances"

The study of Col. 2:14-17 provides more Bible evidence on ordinances.

The law of ordinances (circumcision, sacrifices, festivals, etc.) was abolished, not the 10 Commandments.