Confusion about the Old Testament Law

There is a lot of confusion about the Old Testament Law (for example, Law and NTExodus 20-23) and how to apply it today. Atheists love to poke fun at it. One mockingly asked, ‘How much should I charge for my daughter if I want to sell her into slavery?’ How does one answer that?

The Old Testament Law was a special ‘deal,’ or covenant, that God made with the Israelites, to which they agreed. So the question is, why are these ‘obsolete’ laws in the Bible if they don’t apply to us? The reasons are:

  • The history of the Israelites in the Old Testament shows that they couldn’t keep God’s covenant. God proved that people are unable to please Him with laws. Scripture says, ‘Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law…’ 1 [this is very important – see the following point].
  • People could not keep the Law, so God gave His ‘solution,’ namely His Son. Jesus changes people’s hearts, and the Holy Spirit gives the power to live in a relationship with God. 2
  • Thus the function of the Old Testament Law is to show how important Jesus is, ’…No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ 3

Despite that, the Old Testament Law remains controversial. How do we answer the criticisms of God’s enemies, like the stoning of a Sabbath breaker? 4  The answer is to look at the New Testament. If a law is found in both Testaments, we can regard it as binding on Christians today. For example:

  • We are told to love God in Deuteronomy 6:4.  Jesus repeats it: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 5  So Christians are to keep that law today.
  • The Old Testament forbids eating pork.6 The New Testament declares all food clean in the vision that Peter saw.7  To make the message clear, it is repeated three times. So pork is not forbidden today.
  • Both the Old and New Testaments forbid adultery. The Old Testament command remains binding.
  • The Old Testament forbids working on the Sabbath.9 In Colossians 2:16-17 the Sabbath is seen as a shadow of the things to come. The reality is found in Jesus. In addition, the Jerusalem Council did not impose Sabbath keeping on the Gentiles.10 Today we will not kill a person who works on the Sabbath (Saturday).
  • Slavery is a special case. Both Testaments have instructions about it, but common sense will help. Contrary to the times when the Bible was written, slavery has largely disappeared.  The commands about slaves are not applicable.11

Conclusion

When you investigate both Testaments, it is clear which laws still stand. That might help to answer atheists and skeptics who claim every Old Testament law is binding today.

References

  1. Romans 3:20a
  2. Jeremiah 31:31
  3. John 14:6b
  4. Numbers 15:32-36
  5. Mark 12:30
  6. Leviticus 11:7
  7. Acts 10:10-16
  8. Exodus 20:14: Galatians 5:19
  9. Exodus 20:8-11
  10. Acts 15:19-20; see also Romans 14:5
  11. Colossians 3:22-25; 4:1

Why do Christians do bad things?

One of the questions Guy Harrison asks is,1 Why do the ‘Christians’ do such horrible things (which atheists Bad Christians copy

50 Questions

presumably never do)?  To reframe it a bit and make it more understandable, if I claim that I am a multimillionaire, does that mean I am one?  I doubt. Nobody will believe me, unless I can furnish proof. Which of course I can’t.

 

The same applies to some ‘Christians.’ Claiming something doesn’t necessarily make it true. Jesus said it is not enough to praise and worship Him, sit in church and be busy ‘with the Lord’s business.’  He asked, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?'” 2

 

Jesus gave two commands that are very pertinent to the question, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ This means, among other things, that we should be like Jesus who gave His life for others.

 

Jesus’ second guideline is, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 4  This means that you will not harm others.  A person who follows these two commands will not hurt others or do bad things like steal, murder, et cetera.

 

This should answer why Christians do bad things? They were not followers of Christ in the first place. Out of expediency, political power, or plain deceit, they claimed to be ‘Christians,’ but they were not. Jesus will separate Christians at His second coming, ‘The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.’

 

Till then we have to accept that there will be people who claim to be Christians but do bad things. Many of us have had some bad experience at the hands of some of them. God will sort it out. We just have to be sure we have forgiven them and pray for them.

 

Real Christians are taught to forgive and not to retaliate. Could it be that somewhere, somehow one of these ‘brothers,’ or ‘sisters’ have done you a bad turn? Have you forgiven? We had to learn through bitter experience the only way to keep one’s sanity and health is to do just that, forgive.

 

References

  1. Kindle location 1177-1235 of 5739
  2. Luke 6:46
  3. Matthew 22:37
  4. Matthew 22:39
  5. Matthew 13:41

Christian hypocrites

Have you ever heard the complaint from people who have left the church and are not interestedNo hypocrites in serving Jesus: there are too many hypocrites 1 in the church? That might be true, but it is difficult to know how they determined it.

 

However, the important point is, will hypocrites in the church, be with Jesus on the new earth? The Bible gives no guarantee if a person claims to be a Christian, that he is a Christian. A Christian is someone who obeys the greatest command Jesus gave, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 2

 

God has a test to sift hypocrites from those who love Him:

  • Have you ever seen a young couple in love? It is so obvious that they care for each other, think of each other, and want to be in each other’s company. A person who loves the Lord wants to spend time with Him in His Word and prayer.
  • God knew how difficult it is to grasp what love is, so He gave us an easy definition, ‘This is love for God: to obey His commands.’ 3  Easy, isn’t it? There are many verses in the Bible that clearly teach that ‘once saved, always saved’ is not true. Action is the key, not pretending.
  • Jesus amplified it with the following verse, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter, and will not be able to.’ 4  It takes effort to love and obey God, so we need the Holy Spirit’s help.

In the two verses we see that God has a test to screen out hypocrites. There is no guarantee that a hypocrite will be saved automatically.

 

The person who rejects God’s grace and mercy, because he doesn’t want to share the church pew with a hypocrite, is dumb. He puts himself at risk to be in the company of hypocrites for eternity: away from God, but near, very near hypocrites.

 

Summary

Sometimes people don’t think rationally. They opt for an easy solution to avoid meeting Jesus in a kind of Damascus road experience (Jesus met Paul so dramatically that Paul fell from his horse and was blind for three days). 5 They imagine, to accuse people in the church that they are hypocrites, is clever. It isn’t. They might spend eternity with the hypocrites who did not succeed in fooling Jesus.

 

References

  1. People who pretend to be what they are not
  2. Matthew 22:37
  3. 1 John 5:3
  4. Luke 13:24
  5. Acts 9:1-9

 

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