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July 29, 2019

Ep.1084: Does the Old Testament Law Apply to Me?

Understanding what to take and what to leave from the Jewish Law

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Did Jesus make the Law even more difficult for his followers?

What if God directed you to do something that was literally impossible?

What would be the logic and plan behind requiring an impossible task?

Couldn't God have just skipped over the complicated rituals of the Law and just sent Jesus?

Theme Scripture: Galatians 3:10

The New Testament gives us a clear picture of Jesus replacing the Old Testament Law as our path to life.  As Christians we all agree with this, and yet so many of us still follow parts of that old Jewish Law.  Why?  Are certain aspects of it supposed to be carried over?  Are we required to keep the Sabbath or tithe?  What about “honor your father and mother”?  Shouldn’t we always do that?  With these particular questions on the table, we might conclude that Jesus didn’t really override the Law but instead just made some major adjustments.  Can that be true?  Fortunately the New Testament makes this all clear.  It all comes down to what Jesus did and did not do...and the answer is powerful!

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Christianity is obviously founded upon the sacrifice of Jesus.  The opportunity to follow him was given to both Jews and Gentiles.  Because Jesus was obviously Jewish himself, the question of what to do with the requirements and sacrifices of that Old Testament Law has been discussed and disagreed on for centuries.  The Jewish Law had been the centerpiece for communion with God for many centuries before Jesus came.  Letting go of it was an epic challenge for many Jewish Christians.

The New Testament book of Hebrews emphatically tells us the blood of bulls and goats offered as Old Testament sacrifices could not take away sin.  Those offerings provided a temporary bridge to harmony with God, and as such, needed yearly renewal. Jesus was THE sacrifice necessary for the sins of the world. That sacrifice was done once, and it was done for all. This one scriptural point clearly tells us that Jesus actually replaced the need for those temporary things.  Does this provide absolute proof Jesus lifted the requirements of the Law from the shoulders of Christians?  Sort of!

Jesus’ offering of himself did emphatically cancel the need for continual sacrifices required by the Jewish Law.  This change helps us understand the removal of the rituals of the old Law.  Interestingly, some Christians do still hold onto some of those old rituals such as tithing and physical abundance.  This is actually counter-productive to the whole idea of following in Jesus' footsteps.  Seeing it all in context and in the words of the Apostle Paul will make this plain.

What about the moral aspects of the Law?  Did Jesus take those away as well?  Check out our July 29, 2019 podcast, “Does the Old Testament Law Apply to Me?” to find out.  We look at how Jesus handled several aspects of moral living, quoted directly from the Law.  We examine several Scriptures that inform us on the differences between the works of the Law and a life of faith.  We also pinpoint why the Law came to humanity and how it actually dovetails with the purpose of Christianity.  Though these teachings may seem basic to some and irrelevant to others, they provide a sturdy foundation for the building of Christianity.  That is a lesson we all need!


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2 replies
  1. Wesley Smith
    Wesley Smith says:

    Since Romans 4:15 says without Law there is no transgression, how could Cain be charged with the murder of his brother Able? You cannot violate or transgress a law that does not exist.

    • Christian Questions
      Christian Questions says:

      Father Adam was created in the image of God. When he sinned, he received a sentence or curse because of his disobedience to the divine will. Thus, a law must have been given him that was sufficiently explicit. Adam and Eve were not prone to sin. They were righteous, surrounded by righteous and perfect conditions, and conscious of their obligations to their Creator. They knew, not vaguely, but precisely, what He had commanded. They were, therefore, without excuse in their transgression.

      Surely Adam’s children were well-schooled in righteousness in order to help them be faithful to God and to order their own lives. Yet, sin was now inherent in man. Adam’s children inherited the beginnings of a propensity to disobedience that would never have been there had he not sinned against direct instruction from God.

      As for a law, there need be no law in humans to realize that inflicting harm on another being was wrong. Written laws have been created because the farther mankind came from Adam, the more they sinned. They no longer instinctively knew right from wrong,

      The very fact that God didn’t exact the punishment of death upon Cain indicated that merciful God understood a degree of innocence was in him, yet he never was permitted to forget his sin. – Christian Questions


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