Are we under the "Great Commission?"
This verse should put to rest the mistaken notion that the Body of Christ labors under Israel’s Great Commisions of Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and Acts1.
Matthew 28:16-20 Then the 11 disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in the land. Go all of you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (UKJV)
What had Jesus commanded them to do? Jesus taught them to obey and keep the law. Rather than freeing anyone from the law, the Lord Jesus Christ instructs the Apostles to keep the law with His closing instructions. He instructs them to teach the Gentiles how to keep the law. Just what had the Lord commanded them that they were taught to observe?
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (UKJV)
Under the Great Commision program to Israel the Gentiles can only find salvation through those of Israel that are being sent. This is not salvation apart from Israel, but rather, it is salvation through her. Remember, the Apostles were to sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29-30). This is who is being sent in Matthew 28, as it is in all the other accounts of Jesus’ closing instructions. Israel still clearly had a place of privilege before God during Jesus’ earthly ministry, and after He had given the Apostles the Great Commission. Equally clear is that the Law was still in effect. It is also very important to note that James, Cephas, and John ended the great commission by limiting themselves to Israel only. Only Paul’s ministry will be targeted at Gentiles, and Israel only secondarily.
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go to the heathen, and they to the circumcision. (UKJV)
Paul is not one of the twelve, nor is he an extension of the twelve. His Apostleship is to a different group of people altogether. He is sent forth to Gentiles (heathen), apart from a regenerated Israel.
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (UKJV)
This is why the Body of Christ does not labor under any element of the law. In fact paul makes no doubt about the fact that we are not under the law, consider:
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for all of you are not under the law, but under grace. (UKJV)
Col. 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (UKJV)
We need to note that many people divide the law into three parts: the moral, civil, and ritual (ceremonial) laws. This argument breaks down when it is noted that the Ten Commandments contain all three of these elements. This is seen when we see that the Hebrew word “choq” is employed for all three of the above meanings. The Hebrew word “mitsvah” is used for two of the meanings. Jesus, Himself never makes the above mentioned distinction. The Apostle Paul in Eph. 2:15, uses the Greek word “entole” (the same as the Hebrew “mitsvah” for the word commandments. He goes on to state that they were contained in ordinances (Greek - dogma; Hebrew - “choq”). The idea is that the moral does not exist without the civil and ritual. Paul is clear that all the law was abolished in the flesh of Jesus Christ.