First, you have to believe that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3). God’s Word is decisively inerrant, divinely inspired and demonstratively incessant. Secondly, you have to approach the scriptures in its proper context.
Deuteronomy 4 (New King James Version)
1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.
In Deuteronomy, Moses was addressing the Israelites’ on the brink of entering the Promised Land, admonishing them to abide by God’s commandments, remaining mindful of His Grace throughout their exodus. The Israelites had engaged in idolatry and harlotry while wondering through the wilderness, so Moses was reminding them of God’s wrath in the worship of Baal (Numbers 25).
Matthew 5:16-18 (New King James Version)
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Jesus The Christ had just retreated to the hillside, near Capernaum, and gave the Beatitudes to the masses, which we have come to know as “The Sermon on the Mount.”
5His antagonists consisted mainly of the Pharisees and Sadducees: the self-righteous and the wealthy classes, respectively. Aware of the influence these two ruling parties had on the people, and the strict adherence to Old Testament Law (ceremonial, civil, moral), Jesus spoke authoritatively of the new covenant to come upon His death and resurrection (Justification).
Christ taught from the Pentateuch (the first five books), revealing Himself in its passages. The Old Testament covenant (works) and the New Testament covenant (Grace) are not in contrast, rather conjoined. The entire Bible is a compilation of God’s redemptive plan being fulfilled by the incarnation of Jesus The Christ. Typologies and prophecies of Christ are throughout the Old Testament (Genesis 3:15, Genesis 22: 1-19, Numbers 21: 4-9, Jonah 1:17, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, 2 Samuel 7: 12-17).
Galatians 3 (New King James Version)
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
In the text, Paul was addressing the Galatian believers, proclaiming the reality of liberty in Christ, not rules and regulations imposed by the Judaizers (extremist Jewish faction). Salvation is by Gods’ Grace, through faith in Jesus The Christ, nothing else (Ephesians 2: 7-9).
The intent of responding to your column, Ms. Rachel Royal, is to give you insight, seasoned with compassion. Ask God for wisdom and discernment when reading His scriptures, and He will illuminate your heart (James 1: 5-8). God is a cardiologist; we don’t approach Him head first, rather heart first (1Corinthians 1: 18-25, Matthew 5:8, Matthew 12:33-35, 1 John 3: 19-21).
Shalom Aleichem (Peace be upon you),