Spectrum of Early Beliefs about How Christians Should Relate to the Law of Moses

IdentityBeliefsExamples
Gentile (professing) ChristiansThe law has absolutely no claim on their lives. (Presupposed in Rom. 6:1, 16.)
Jewish and Gentile ChristiansChristians are not under the law covenant even though they are certainly not free from God’s demands. Kosher food laws could be observed and circumcision practiced as pastoral wisdom dictated. (Compare 1 Cor. 9:19–23.)Paul
Jewish ChristiansThey understood and accepted Paul’s position, but their personal “comfort zone” was to be observant Jews, at least most of the time. Circumcision and kosher food laws are not necessary for salvation or maturity, and they shouldn’t be imposed on Gentile believers.
Jewish ChristiansJewish Christians should observe the traditions of the Mosaic code, even if it was acceptable for Gentile believers not to see themselves as under its stipulations. Certain men from James? (Gal. 2:12a)
Jewish ChristiansJewish Christians should observe the Mosaic code, and Gentile believers can come to Christ through faith alone. However, the really spiritual should want to obey the Mosaic law code (even if it wasn’t strictly necessary for salvation).
Jewish (professing) ChristiansThe new covenant was a renewal of the old covenant; Jesus is the Messiah, but his life, death, and resurrection restored God’s people to faithfulness to the Mosaic covenant. Therefore, if Gentiles want to come to the Messiah, they must first become Jews (and be circumcised, observe kosher and Sabbath laws, etc.). (Compare Acts 15:1–35; Titus 1:10.)“Judaizers”
Devout, non-Christian JewsChristians are mistaken about the identity of Jesus, and the Jewish boundaries should not be opened to the Gentiles. (Compare Acts 21:27–23:11.)The circumcised (Rom. 4:12a)