In our study of Galatians Paul's main thrust has been the issue of how mankind receives salvation. His prime example has been Abraham, whose faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Galatians 3:6 (KJV)
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Then in Galatians 5 Paul discussed the bondage that the Galatian believers were desiring to enter into by being ritually converted to Judaism. Yet, salvation doesn't free mankind totally from everything. Paul stated this in Romans.
Romans 6:18 (KJV)
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
What is righteousness? The Free Online Dictionary defines righteousness as being, "morally upright; without guilt or sin." How do we know what constitutes righteousness? Christians believe that it is God, through the written Bible, who tells us what righteousness looks like As we go further into our study of Galatians, we will find that chapters 5 and 6 relate much about righteousness. Do we find everything that we need in order to understand what righteousness is by reading the New Testament? Most Christians would say, "yes." The traditional understanding is that the Old Testament Law is no longer in force (Others believe that the "moral law" is still applicable, but not the "ritual" or "civic" law.) and that the New Testament is the only law that is applicable. While there are passages that seem to agree with this there are others that flatly contradict this idea.
Romans 7:12 (KJV)
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Here Paul not only states that the law is holy, but that the commandment (singular) is holy. What commandment and what law is he referring to? If Paul is talking about a singular law and commandment, he must be referring to the entire body of the Old Testament Law.
2 John 1:5-6 (KJV)
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
John tells us that he had written a "new" commandment to the "lady." However, he goes on to say that the commandment to love one another, is not new, but has been around "from the beginning." John can only be referring to the commands to love one another in the Old Testament.
John 15:10 (KJV)
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
In this verse John quotes Yeshua by saying that if we keep His commandments as He had kept His Father's commandments, we will abide in the Father's love. Which commandments did Yeshua keep? He had to faithfully keep every command in the Old Testament in order to qualify to be the sacrifice for our sin. Which commandments are we to keep? He doesn't specify, but seems to assume that the believers would understand. Most likely, the Father's commandments and Yeshua's would be the same. Notice, that it is through the keeping of the commandments that we abide in the Father's love.
Romans 2:13 (KJV)
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
In Romans Paul clearly stands with James in that the evidence of faith in Yeshua results in doing the law. Again, which law is Paul referring to? Without specification, the whole law seems to be indicated.
1 John 3:4 (KJV)
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
John also uses the law in an unspecified sense. When we sin we transgress the whole law of God.
Some reading these verses will still argue that "the law" and "the commandments" only apply to either the "moral" law or those "laws" delineated in the New Testament. There is no instance in the New Testament where we are directed to obey only the "moral" law. There is also no instance where the law is actually separated into moral, ritual, and civic categories. Also, it is impossible that the New Testament writers could be directing the believers into following only New Testament law since no New Testament existed for them at that time. Paul's letters were likely written before the Gospels (Hegg, Tim. The Letter Writer: Paul's Background and Torah Perspective. TorahResource, Tacoma, WA, 2008. p. 146). His writings as well as the other New Testament writings were not likely considered Scripture until after the apostolic period.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Therefore, when Paul stated the above, he could only be referring to the Old Testament. Verse 17 summarized Paul's view. The Old Testament was what God had given mankind that would equip believers for understanding what constituted good works or righteousness.
This will be important as we continue in our study of Galatians.