The word "law" has been used quite loosely among Christians nowadays. But specifically, we read in Acts 15, the issue confronting the early church was Moses Law, not the Moral Law. In particular, the Jewish believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees wanted the Gentile believers to keep all the laws of Moses, beginning with circumcision. So, the conclusion of the debate and discussion at the Council of Jerusalem is this: Gentile believers are no longer under obligation to Moses' Law, but they are still under obligation to God's spiritual and moral law: "For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well."
The above injunctions given to Gentile believers were to address the prevalent spiritual and moral corruption in Greek society: participation in idolatrous feasts, secret practices of pagan mystery religious and widespread sexual immorality. The sexual immorality engaged in NT Greek society ranged from homosexuality, pedophilia, temple prostitution, incest to polygamy. While Gentile believers are under no obligation to Moses' Law, we are nevertheless under obligation to God's higher spiritual and moral laws of holiness as Paul emphasizes in 2 Cor 6:14-18,
- "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."
To confuse freedom from Moses' Law with freedom from the Moral Law is to open the floodgate of idolatry and sexual immorality in the Church. It is already happening among believers because of this mistaken doctrine of grace without discipleship.
Father, grant us wisdom to walk in holiness. Amen.