Monday, October 19, 2009

Christians and the Old Testament

We believe that the Bible is God's Word. (inspired, accurate, authoritative.) The standard by which we measure the things we do in life.

So, what are we to do with the Old Testament laws?
Examples: Lev. 11:1-3, 9-12 Lev. 19:19, 23-28
The Jews found 613 commands in the Old Testament - 248 do's. 365 don'ts.

Therefore, how are we (as Christians) to understand and apply Old Testament law?

Answer: "we're under grace". Example: Rom. 6:14

So, are we not obligated to the sacrificial laws? dietary laws? agricultural laws? laws concerning the tithe? social justice? marriage and family? sexual boundaries? the 10 commandments?

Where do we draw the line? How do we decide which to follow or if to follow?


I. Define "The Law" - the law(s) of God given to Moses and passed down to us. (the Pentateuch or Mosaic Law)

II. The division of the Law - (Ed's division which seems to help deal with and understand the Old Testament Laws)
A. Civil - laws of the land (state, nation) - rights, violations, trial, punishment, etc.
B. Ceremonial - rules and regulations concerning religious observances - sacrifices, offerings, priesthood, tabernacle, festivals, etc.
C. Moral - describe and define what's right and wrong.

III. The Purpose of the Law.
A. Civil laws - rule society - ownership, violent crime, social responsibility - every nation or society has to have these rules and laws to function.
B. Ceremonial laws - introduce individual to God. teach about God, direct people to God, aid in worship of God
C. Moral laws - instruct in right and wrong. Rom. 3:20

Each aspect of the law has a different purpose.

IV. Our Obligation to the Law.
A. Civil - we are obligated to the civil code under which we live - except where it is totally in opposition to God's will. We are NOT obligated to the Old Testament civil code that was for those people 3500 years ago.
Rom. 13:1 1 Pet. 2:13-14 Matt. 22:21

B. Ceremonial - these have (mostly) been fulfilled and finished by Christ. Ex. the sacrificial offerings. Heb. 10:1, 3, 9, 19-22

C. Moral - these are eternal, immutable, universal. We are still obligated to keep these laws. They are the same under grace as under the law. There are no variations. They apply to us as they did to the Jews.

V. So, how do we determine? Which laws are civil? ceremonial? moral?
to which are are obligated? which are we free from?

Answer: It's not always easy or clear, but.....
A. recognize the divisions and distinctions - (civil, ceremonial, moral)
B. recognize they sometimes overlap Ex. the tithe - civil (taxes), ceremonial (worship), moral (give, share, assist)
C. recognize that all the laws have a moral base. Ex. Deut. 22:8 - you have a moral obligation to protect life when you can.

Notes and Observations

#1. When the New Testament says we're free from the Law, it generally refers to the Ceremonial laws. Gal. 4:9-11

#2. Freedom from The Law is never freedom from the moral truths of the Law.
Gal. 5:13, 19-21

Put another way,
#3. Freedom from the Old Testament Law does not mean freedom from God's Laws. 1 Cor. 9:21

Obedience to the Law will not get you to heaven or commend you to God. BUT, it can affect the relationship. God never commend wrong and it does matter.

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