Monday, September 13, 2010

Gods Law - Do the old testament laws still apply to us today

Do the old testament laws still apply to us today

I have often been asked about whether Gods Laws as handed down to Moses still apply to us today. Most people believe and often argue that Jesus came to do away with the law and that the laws in the old testament don't apply to us anymore because Jesus set us free from them. Is that truly so? I strongly believe in going back to the word of God in answering such questions and looking at it in context of the word and this what the word says:

Jesus speaks about the Law:

" Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5: 17-20.NIV

Gods moral and ceremonial laws were given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Throughout Israels history, however, these laws had been often misquoted and misapplied. By Jesus time religious leaders had turned the laws into a confusing mass of rules. The pharisees had added hundreds of their own rules and regulations to Gods holy laws and then tried to force people to follow these rules. They claimed to know Gods will in every detail of life. There are still religious leaders today who add rules and regulations to Gods word, causing much confusion among believers. It is wrong to claim that your interpretation of Gods word is as important as Gods word itself.

When Jesus talked about a new way to understand Gods law, he was actually trying to bring people back to its original purpose. Jesus did not speak against the law itself, but against the abuse and excesses to which it had been subjected. (see John 1:17) - "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ....."

If Jesus did not come to abolish the law, does that mean all the Old testament laws still apply to us today? To answer this we'll look at the types of laws given to Moses,

In the old testament, there are 3 categories of law:

- Ceremonial
- Civil
- and Moral

1. The Ceremonial Law:- related specifically to Israels worship. its primary purpose was to point forward to Jesus Christ; these laws therefore, were no longer necessary after Jesus' death and resurrection. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them - to worship and love God - still apply. Jesus was often accused by the Pharisees of violating ceremonial law.

2. The Civil Law:- applied to daily living in Israel (see Deuteronomy 24:10,1for e.g.). Because modern society and culture are so radically different from that time and setting, all of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands are timeless and should guide our conduct. Jesus demonstrated these principles by example.

3. The Moral law e.g. the 10 commandments is the direct command of God, and it requires strict obedience (see exodus 20:13 for e.g). The moral law reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies today. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely.

In Luke 11:46 Jesus speaks to the pharisees saying " And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift a finger to help them...." Luke 11:52...." Woe to you experts of the Law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge....."
Jesus criticized the pharisees and the experts in the law harshly. The burdens were the details the Pharisees had added to Gods law. To the commandment " Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy (Exodus 20:8) for example they had added instructions regarding how far a person could walk on the sabbath, which kinds of knots could be tied, and how much weight could be carried. Healing a person was considered unlawful but rescuing a trapped animal was permitted. Jesus condemned all these additions.

How did the law experts take away the key to "knowledge? ........through their erroneous interpretations of scripture and their added man-made rules, they made Gods truth hard to understand and practice. Caught up in a religion of their own making they could no longer lead the people to God. They had closed the door of Gods love to the people and thrown away the key. Which is why the Pharisees were enraged by Jesus' teaching and wanted him arrested for blasphemy, heresy, and lawbreaking.

Its important to understand that Law and grace are both aspects of Gods nature that he uses to deal with us. Moses emphasized Gods law and justice, while Jesus Christ came to highlight Gods mercy, love and forgiveness.

No more excuses for not tithing guys is Gods Law and not just an old testament thing, how else can we grow Gods kingdom and take care of those in full time ministry.
Don't commit adultery or look lustfully at your neighbours wife ---- don't do it thinking ohhhhh I'm saved by grace therefore my sin has been wiped away, true, God has wiped it away but as Christians we have moral guidelines to live by so that we can be examples to others and bring honour to the God we serve.
Honour your parents, Gods law says so.
Do not steal - even those notepads and pens from the office
Keep the Sabbath holy, don't get bogged down by whether its Saturday or Sunday on that day go to Church and worship your God and fellowship with other Christians.
The word of God says so.....

Most important the word for yourself. Like I've said before we are all interpreters of Gods one says it better than God himself and the Holy Spirit will reveal to you personally the truth that lies within.

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