Christianity 201

March 15, 2015

Where Does the Old Testament Law Apply in New Testament Times?

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:25 pm
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We continue with the weekend theme Greg started yesterday; this is from the blog Having Life, written by Robbie in South Africa.  Click the title below to read at source.

Is the Old Testament Law Still Applicable to me as a Christian?

 

I met a Christian the other day on campus and he was speaking about him not needing to keep the law because he’s been saved by grace. “The law is gone right? There’s only the grace of God who saved us.” And didn’t Paul say in Romans 10:4 that “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Then I thought that there’s the other side where Christians try to keep the law because in Matthew 5:17 the Lord Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” And there’s this urge within us to be really good and to keep a requirement that someone put on us. So that’s why some people try to keep the law given to us.

Then another party may say “well there’s your proof that the bible is fake, the bible contradicts itself clearly in these two verses, the one says the law is over but the other that it needs to be fulfilled”

Just read on. The bible isn’t as black and white as it appears here. This is how I see this situation. So the way God dealt with His people in the Old Testament was according to the law; that was the basis for Him in receiving them. But in the New Testament the principle of how God deals with us is different; it’s by faith. We are believers who have faith in Christ, and that justifies us before God. That’s all He requires from us in the way He deals with us today.

What has ended is the principle of how God deals with people; He does it according to faith, not the law as He used to. Another thing that’s over are the rituals of the law that were meant to be kept, like offering sacrifices at the temple and keeping the Sabbath – so the “ritual law” is over, too. But the commandments of the law haven’t been done away with, in fact they’ve been uplifted to higher standard than they were before. This is seen in Matthew 5 where for example the Lord said not only to not murder someone, but to not even be angry with them in their heart. It’s Impossible right!? So here the Lord definitely didn’t remove the law in the way of “morals”, or the moral law. He actually made it higher and harder to keep. He definitely doesn’t want lawless people in His kingdom.

So when reading Matthew 5 of things like committing adultery not just being the physical act, but actually it being to look at a woman lustfully, what’s your response? Are we going to say “but there’s grace so it’s okay”, or will you say “let me try harder to not do it”? If you have the “it’s impossible, I’m hopeless, I know I’ll fail” response then you’re on the right track.

The Lord knows we aren’t able to keep His very high requirements, so the way we need to read them is not just as requirements but to see them as the capability of His life that is able to meet the demands that He places on us. However high the demand is, that’s how much the Lord can do for us by His divine life in us. Whatever He demands, that’s how much He can do.

Quick recap – Yes God does deal with us by faith through grace. The “ritual law” is over; we don’t need to offer up bulls anymore. But the “moral law” still exists and it’s higher than before, making it impossible for us to keep by trying – so it seems we are in a dilemma.

Okay, so here’s the drum roll verse to put the cherry on top of it all. Romans 8:4that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” This is God’s thought here, the law can be fulfilled by us, it is possible, but it’s by those who see their own life as hopeless, they realize they can’t make it, and they choose the Lord’s divine life by walking according to the Spirit.

When we flee to Jesus to walk according to the Spirit then His life can do all that is required to live in His kingdom. So yes, the law is still here, we are not exempt from it, and until we stop trying by our natural life to keep it and learn to walk by the spirit in constant fellowship with God then we’ll keep falling short. The point is to walk according to the Spirit. This is quite an aspiration to have. And surely if you love someone you’ll walk by them.

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