Posted by: the warrioress | February 12, 2014

Old Testament Law

There is a wonderful site called “Gotquestions.org” that I often use when I want to clarify something for myself. Many of these well-versed, learned, educated Christian individuals have studied the bible more than I have and so I appreciate their take on the various issues and questions that often come up as we live this Christian life.  I like to meditate on these various opinions while I make up my own mind about a particular issue. Let’s look at what follows here, for example.

I am quoting directly from Gotquestions.org:

“What does it mean that Christians are not under the Law?”

“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified” -Galatians 2:16

“This passage reveals that the Law cannot justify or make righteous any man in God’s sight, which is why God sent His Son to completely fulfil the requirements of the Law for all those who would ever believe in Him.

Christ Jesus redeemed us from the curse that has been brought through the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He substituted Himself in our place and upon the cross took the punishment that is justly ours so that we are no longer under the curse of the Law. In doing so, He fulfilled and upheld the requirements of the Law. This does not mean that Christians are to be lawless, as some advocate today—a teaching called  antinomianism.  Rather, it means that we are free from the Mosaic Law and instead under the law of Christ, which is to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Christ became the end of the Law by virtue of what He did on earth through His sinless life and His sacrifice on the cross. So, the Law no longer has any bearing over us because its demands have been fully met in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ who satisfied the righteous demands of the Law restores us into a pleasing relationship with God and keeps us there. No longer under the penalty of the Law, we now live under the law of grace in the love of God.”

Read more:    http://www.gotquestions.org/not-under-the-law.html#ixzz2t9nBTxNq

—————

“Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament Law?”

“The key to understanding this issue is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on us today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4;Galatians 3:23-25;Ephesians 2:15).”

“In place of the Old Testament law, we are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.”

The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies.  If Christ fulfilled some of it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it.”

Read more:    http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-law.html#ixzz2t9nQliL3

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Adrienne. This is a good analysis, but as you well know, I have studied Christian fundamentalism for years—and they have a standard rejoinder to all of that analysis that they trot out and hold high like a victory prize. Here it is:

    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

    They would argue that the “moral law” (including the 10 Commandments) is still in full force (even for Christians) and applies universally to all peoples of all cultures past, present, and future. In other words, if a Yanomamo warrior in the Amazon Basin has never heard of Jesus Christ and dies tonight, his soul will be brought immediately to the judgment seat of the Father, the Father will open up his Bible, and then He will judge the warrior according to the legal stipulations of the Old Testament law. This will happen because “all has not been fulfilled.”

    The primary thrust of the kind of Christian fundamentalism Reverend Finn and those like him follow is rooted in their desperate (let me emphasize that word “desperate”) late 19th century attempt to SAVE THE BIBLE from the German school of higher Biblical criticism. As the old saying goes, desperate men often do desperate things—and I would add “downright stupid things.” Because the emphasis is on the Bible and saving it more so than on Jesus Christ, they whitewash over and cherry pick around the profound differences between the two separate covenants and try to make both testaments remain today of equal weight, power, and bearing in people’s lives. Otherwise, one might say that because of Jesus Christ we should just get rid of the Old Testament and use only the New Testament, which would endanger the thing they worship even more than the Holy Trinity—namely a stack of paper with a black binding and gold leaf around the edges.

    The Christian fundamentalists also have another scheme to keep the Old Testament fully alive and in force. People like Adrienne and I believe in salvation by grace through Jesus Christ and then seeking to love Jesus with our whole hearts and our neighbors as ourselves by assorted words and actions. This was a specific command that Jesus gave—LOVE. He even called it “my commandment.” Christian fundamentalists believe in salvation by grace through Jesus Christ (although I actually question that as a functional fact of life). When that is done, the whole purpose of the Christian life (other than witnessing for Jesus) is not loving God and your neighbor as yourself. Rather, it is witnessing for Jesus and working really hard on “sanctification.” This stripe of Christian fundamentalism believes that the most important trait of God is his “cleanness.” As one of them once said to me (and I paraphrase):

    “Many people say that they do not understand how a loving God could inflict pitiless torture on a human soul day and night for all eternity in Hell. The thing they do not understand is God’s cleanness—just how thorough, totally, and microscopically clean He really is. When a person’s mind can finally grasp that cleanness of God, then it is easy to understand why God would be perfectly justified and right in inflicting that sort of punishment. When you are that clean, even a microscopic particle of dust is the worst crime a person could ever commit. It is all in the cleanness.”

    Sanctification is the process of cleansing one’s self of all sin to the fullest degree possible in this life to: 1) be like-minded with God on the cleanness issue; 2) get rid of as much sin as possible in your life; 3) protect yourself from a God that is angry all the time (and quite possibly mentally ill) so He will not throw your butt under a train or give your sister cancer to punish you for your current level of uncleanness in this life. This is where the Old Testament moral law comes in and figures BIG in the picture. They use the law as their “sanctification manual.” It works something like this: 1) write down every Old Testament moral law; 2) convert every other verse in the entire Bible into a law (which they would call a precept); 2) try really hard every day to obey all of them; 3) measure yourself against each law at the end of each day; 3) congratulate yourself and feel safe from God’s wrath if you were successful (translate that as lie to yourself about how well you really did); and 4) if you are an honest person who lies poorly to yourself about how well you did, get very depressed and worried because you might not be a “true” Christian. After all, “true” Christians either succeed each day or are very good at lying to themselves each day.

    This extreme emphasis on self-sanctification preserves the full weight and power of the Old Testament law (thus preserving the whole Bible) and lends the illusion that the Old Testament law is all fully in force today. If you ask a Christian fundamentalist what the most important thing is in the Christian walk, they will say “obedience to God,” which is another way of saying “keeping the law.” Adrienne and I would answer “loving” instead because that was what Jesus emphasized specifically and commanded. I think this is the single MAJOR DIVIDE in American Christendom today. Personally, just my own opinion, I think Satan has staked out the sanctification/obedience position and all else that derives from it as his own little darling in today’s world and especially here in the United States. He knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand. He must support this position because it “looks just Godly enough to deceive people.” He cannot take the other position (Adrienne’s position) because Jesus has firmly staked that one out as his own in the New Testament, and Satan hates the Holy Trinity and what it stands for too much to side with or have any part of it.

    Now, let’s get back to where we started:

    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

    There is also a denominational divide here in Christendom. Reverend Finn and those of his ilk would say that this “fulfillment” happens only at the end of time—Omega in the Book of Revelations. Only then will all be fulfilled. Therefore, the full weight of the Old Testament law is still fully in force and binding. Some Southern Baptist pastors (traditional ones anyway) and numerous other clergy would say that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the “all is fulfilled” moment. With that now done and out of the way, the old covenant passed away and all of the Old Testament law with it, including the 10 Commandments. Looking at scripture as a whole, rather than cherry picking it for one’s save the Bible cause, the latter understanding that Adrienne set forth in her post is the better of the two and is more consistent with what Christianity was originally intended to be and espouse. This is why the extremist Christian fundamentalism that Reverend Finn espouses is dying off today—not because evil is becoming greater and more abounding in the world—but rather because this extremist belief system is just plain wrong. The Holy Spirit has apparently appointed this time in human history as a time of widespread “spiritual awakening” from this 19th century religious nightmare that was born in the Great Lakes region of the United States at the Niagara Bible Conference.

  2. wow, Tracy/Dover, you are one fount of knowledge, dude. 😉 But seriously, you really are. Talk about a brain..

    Anyway, yes I agree that the love is the point. This is what Christianity was meant to be; it’s what Jesus taught. Being caught up in the old “make myself worthy” obsession is a sad thing because none of us ever will and ever can; we just cannot earn salvation this way, nor do I believe that God is this angry, mean, frightening being He is being made out to be by some of the “saints of old.” I don’t know what God they’ve been worshiping, but He’s not like that. I feel sorry for those who are caught up in this kind of vicious circle, who are teaching others something that the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s of old were focused upon. They are clueless to the mind of Christ and to the simple “love thy neighbor as thy self,” (though doing that is really pretty hard actually).

    Anyway, thank you for the sharing here. It’s all great as usual, Tracy.

  3. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Mt. 5:17

  4. Rev Finn, I’ve read that verse before and the ones that come after, but we are no longer under the Old Testament Law and the belief that we are bound to it still is in error. The following reference clarifies this for us well:

    The law of Christ

    If we look carefully at the context of the verse in which Jesus spoke of fulfilling the Law, particularly at what follows Matthew 5:17-19, we will note that Jesus was redefining the teaching from the Law and the Prophets. He was pointing out which principles from the Holy Scriptures had an eternal validity and their intended purpose, and how both were to be understood.

    In short, Jesus was creating a spiritual law, which we may call the “law of Christ” (John 13:33-35) — and this becomes the norm for Christian living, not the old covenant law. This is demonstrated by the fact that one cannot find in the teaching in Matthew 5-6 any discussion of ceremonial laws such as the Sabbath and annual festival “holy time” regulations — a hallmark of Jewish religious observance based on old covenant commands.

    While Jews concerned themselves with what Moses and their traditions said, Jesus superseded that approach to God with his own instruction. He became the standard of truth (John 1:17). In referring to both the Law of Moses and the tradition of the elders, Jesus boldly proclaimed, “But I say to you” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). At the end of the Sermon, Jesus told his hearers that the wise person is one “who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” (Matthew 7:24).
    —————-
    The orientation of the new covenant is to Christ and the cross, not to Moses and the tables of stone. The great sermon of the new covenant is not the one given on Mt. Sinai, but by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). He explained the spiritual-moral principles of the new covenant that apply to Christians. These are amply discussed in several places in the New Testament (in Galatians 5:22-25, for example). We should note that these places do not contain any mention of such ceremonial regulations as keeping a specific day of the week.

    Matthew concluded his gospel with the following words of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The disciples are to teach and do the commands Jesus gave, not legalistically follow the Law of Moses (John 15:12-13). Since Jesus did not command Sabbath-keeping in Matthew 5:17-19, we cannot use this Scripture to justify teaching it.

    What such Scriptures show is that Jesus left the question of interpretation and application of the Law of Moses open to changing circumstances. We can see this in his teaching in Matthew 5:21-48 and elsewhere. Of course, the Old Testament must be respected, and it has value as the word of God, but it is also time-bound to a certain extent. This practical view of the Law is demonstrated in the rest of the New Testament. It allows, for example, the apostles to understand that the ceremonial and sacrificial laws are no longer binding.

    Nonetheless, Christians are to respect the Old Testament as the Holy Scriptures of God. They are profitable, when used wisely, for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” and can make one “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15-16). But no one should place faith in the Law itself, for while the Law came through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus. Under grace, Christians are not required to keep a specific “holy time,” go to a “holy place” such as the temple, or be under the authority of the holy levitical priesthood (John 4:21-24). These were ceremonial regulations, and Christians do not need to keep them.


    http://www.gci.org/bible/matthew517

  5. Here’s a little part of another excellent source which makes it very clear what was meant by Jesus “fulfilling the law and the prophets:

    Jesus’ death fulfilled the Old Testament Law.17 The Law prescribed a system of sacrifices to deal with sin. For 1500 years, day after day, week after week, and especially year after year, the people brought their sacrifices. These offerings signified that sin brings punishment and only death and blood could release someone from that punishment. Those thousands of dead animals pointed forward to a sacrifice. That’s why John the Baptizer exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

    18 Through Jesus’ sinless life and sacrificial death, the penalty for sin has been paid. Christ provided a way of salvation that meets all Old Testament requirements and demands (Rom 3:21, 31).
    19 When you believe in Christ as your Savior, you have fulfilled the Law and will not suffer the eternal consequences of breaking the Law. If you have never placed your faith in Christ’s death for your sins, please do so right now. The price has been paid; all you have to do is receive the provision God has made.

    https://bible.org/seriespage/above-and-beyond-matthew-517–20

  6. The ceremonial law pointed to Calvary and the Lamb that was offered for the sins of the world. Jesus fulfilled it. The moral law is still in effect. It is still wrong to steal, murder etc. We are condemned by the law. Our only out is to turn from ourselves and turn to Jesus Christ. We are never given permission to sin. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1st Peter 1:17

    ” ¶ What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
    God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?Romans 6:1-2

    It is not ok to break Gods moral laws. We are supposed to shun sin in every way.

    Yes, when we come to Christ we are no longer condemned by the law, however God is not pleased when we continue in sin. That is Gods purpose in chatisement. Not to condemn us but to correct us.

  7. By the way, I am not a Rev.

  8. Obviously we are to shun sin in every way; this goes without saying — it’s a given. When we accept Jesus Christ, we desire to please Him. We desire to turn from our sin. But until we accept Christ, few people desire to stop sinning, so why would one make it his mission and focus to preach at people to stop sinning when they don’t even know Christ or care if they are sinning? Is that not the definition of illogical?

  9. Reverend Finn obviously believes that Adrienne is the spearhead (or at the very least some part of) a nationwide movement to get rid of the Old Testament moral law so people will be free to sin. I have some bad news for Reverend Finn from a lawyer who is a prosecutor in Indiana. She has worked within the legal system for years. I read a detailed interview with her several years ago, and she made some very good points.

    In particular, she ridiculed the notion of placing monuments bearing the 10 Commandments on courthouse lawns. The notion of this runs rampant in my part of the country, and it is usually most supported by uneducated rural people who are not so good at handling ideas. The theory behind it, also acknowledged by the Indiana prosecutor, runs something like the following:

    “People commit crimes (sins) simply because no one has ever taught them the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, if we erect a monument with the 10 Commandments on it, people will walk by the monument, read it, and for the first time in their life will know what is right and what is wrong. Then they will be sure to do what is right.”

    The Indiana prosecutor is different from most prosecutors—not just an office person. She spends lots of time in jails, prisons, and other venues where she actually gets down and dirty and talks to the inmates—pumps them for information on points of interest like the difference between right and wrong—and she has done this for many years.

    Here is the truth from her. Overwhelmingly…Overwhelmingly…the people who commit a wide range of crimes from petty to outright dastardly tell her…actually tell her…they knew that their crime was wrong before they did it (not after they got caught and someone told them it was wrong). They knew going into it that it was outright wrong and sinful. They just went ahead and did the crime anyway because…quite frankly…they did not give a rat’s @#*& whether it was right or wrong—or whether God was watching.

    People do not do wrong simply because they have never heard a law that says what is right. People do wrong because they are imperfect in 1000s of ways and have a “be God” impulse within them. For those of you who might be anthropologically oriented like me, our primal, killer ape common ancestors (which Paul described as the “old man” and what Jesus described as “what is in man” is alive and well in each of us. This is why the impulse to sin is hereditary in humans. The compulsion to sin, to want to be God, to do wrong willfully and not care whether God is watching is written biologically into our members. This is why we cannot fix ourselves no matter how hard we try. This is why Jesus and grace are necessary—every split second of every day.

  10. When I tell someone about Jesus, I never tell them to stop sinning. I do tell them that God is Holy and hates sin. I also tell them that Jesus paid the penalty for their sin and by trusting Him they are forgiven. Of course they should afterward trust Christ to give them strength to live a better life and to please the Lord we should shun sin. I never tell, as an example, that a homosexual should continue their practice. I tell them the truth in that God condemns the practice and with Gods help they can work towards cleaning their life up. Am I wrong?

  11. My personal opinion is that you should read my posting on “Christians who Hate?” and think about it. You have a distinct issue with hating Democrats/Liberals/Left-leaning folks. You actually believe someone is not a Christian if they lean left or vote for liberal politicians. And you have major anger/hate issues with the president, (Obama). Get beyond your hate. Pray for the president. Try to love him as you should. Hating our president and showing him disrespect and resentment on your blog is SIN.

    Don’t be obsessive with homosexuals or those who believe in abortion either. Trust God to deal with them as He wills. Direct them to the bible and allow them to deal with their personal private sins alone with God. You are not their judge. You can tell them what the bible says, but you don’t need to beat them bloody with it.

  12. Well, if you are not a Rev., then what are you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: