Some scholars argue that the law of Christ mentioned in Galatians 6:2 must be areference to the Mosaic law because Galatians 5:14 (For the whole law is fulfilled in oneword: You shall love your neighbor as yourself) is clearly referring to the law of Moses.
But Paul adds an all-important genitive descriptor to the phrase “law;” it is the law
of Christ (ton nomon tou Christou)
! Moreover, after spending half the letter showing howthe law was temporary and believers are no longer under it, he surely would haveconfused the Galatians by concluding with “Oh, by the way, you are still to fulfill theMosaic law.” Also, the ultimate context of any given passage is the whole canon. Whenlooking at the teaching of the New Testament, it seems highly unlikely that Galatians6:2 is referring to the law of Moses instead of the law of Christ. It is also important topoint out that two different verbs are used in these verses, which is almost certainlydeliberate. Galatians 5:14 uses
while 6:2 uses
Another reason it is clear that the law of Christ is not the same as the law of Moses isthe glaring lack of direct appeal to the law, especially when it would have been veryeasy to do so.
For example, he could have easily quoted Exodus 20:14 or Leviticus 18-20 (on sexual immorality) to the Thessalonians if he believed it was the eternal morallaw of God. But he doesn’t proceed that way. Rather, he says, “For this is the will ofGod, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of youknow how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust likethe Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess 4:3-5, cf. also Eph 5:3-5). First Corinthiansis similar; Paul doesn’t go to the Decalogue, but instead uses gospel logic: “Do you notknow that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Cor 6:15a). To the Ephesians, Paul
139. Elsewhere he says, “For since God here promises another Moses whom they are to hear, it followsof necessity that this other one would teach something different from Moses; and Moses gives up hispower and yield to him, so that men will listen to him. This [coming] prophet cannot, then, teach thelaw, for Moses has done that to perfection; for the law’s sake there would be no need to raise upanother prophet. Therefore this word was surely spoken concerning Christ and the teaching of grace,”“Preface to the Old Testament,” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 129.
E.g. Todd A. Wilson, writes, “the proximity of 5.13-14 and 6.2 within the epistle makes it highly unlikelythat Paul would have intended to refer to something other than the law of Moses in 6.2, when he has just said virtually the exact same thing a few verses earlier (5.13-14),” in “The Law of Christ and theLaw of Moses: Reflections on a Recent Trend in Interpretation,”
Currents in Biblical Research
5, no. 1(October 2006), 135. Stanton also holds this position in “The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ,” 116.
Fee writes, “In the one case Torah has been fulfilled so as no longer to obtain; in this case ‘the law ofChrist’ is ‘fulfilled’ in every case where in love believers bear each others’ burdens. Thus the‘fulfillment’ in the fist instance is almost certainly to be understood in light of its further ‘being filledto the full’ by those who, empowered by the Spirit, so live as Christ himself did,”
Christ, Our Righteousness,
New Covenant Morality,
157-60, who notes that Paul neverappealed to the prescriptions of the law as a basis of Christian obligation; so also Meyer,
The End of theLaw,