The Ten Commandments given to Moses taught basic truths, but that did not mean that was the limit to what God desired for our behavior. Christians are hypocrites, it is claimed, because they say the Bible is God’s word but they pick and choose what they want to obey, especially when it comes to the Old Testament Law.. It’s the premise of countless memes and I have encountered it in one-on-one conversation more times than I can even count. Once you grant the main premise of the Bible — the surpassing significance of Christ and his salvation — then all of the Bible’s various parts make sense. 3. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. For example, when asked about divorce Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8). Judicial commands covered other aspects of life among the Israelites concerning community order, and weren’t about enduring questions of good/evil. God bless! Hebrews 1:1-2 Today God speaks through his son. As Catholics we believe that this new worship is connected to Jesus’ command to continue what He did at the Last Supper (“Do this in memory of me,” Luke 22:19), which is what we do at Mass. I have reread this and appreciate the basic clarity it offers in reading the Old Testament. Therefore the Old Testament is for the people of times past. 1. Most Christians don’t know how to respond when confronted about this, but the best place to start is often by describing the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Ephesians 6:2–3). I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Throughout his ministry, Jesus ignored Old Testament regulations regarding purification; he touched lepers and dead bodies, and declared all foods “clean.”. ( Log Out /  But even in the Old Testament, many passages indicate that the sacrifices and regulations of temple worship point ahead to something beyond them. This is most clear in His “Sermon on the Mount” in chapters 5-7 of Matthew. The moral law outlines God’s own character — his integrity, love and faithfulness. He reaffirmed some portions of the Old Testament, while not binding us to follow everything it contains. Sometimes it seems that the person asking the question doesn’t have a sense of the difference in how we approach these two sections of the Bible. This “something” was Jesus. Paul makes clear that the apostles understood the Old Testament moral law to still be binding on us. In other words, we should recognize that the Old Testament teachings were steps along the way to perfection, not the final reality. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). I do not have a problem with those laws, and yes I do agree that Christians must not follow the laws of the Old Testament that were modified by the New Testament. These were only intended to remain for a time, and were annulled by the coming of Christ. Do Christians have to follow everything in the Old Testament? Includes over 100 full color infographics, plus timelines, charts, family tree diagrams, verse-by-verse study notes and more. When he died on the cross, the curtain in the temple tore in two, demonstrating that the entire sacrificial system and its ceremonial laws had been done away with. 1. I don’t think these texts overturn the case I have made for my view. Colossians 2:14 Jesus erased the Old Testament. Jews try to obey the laws in the old testament, but Christians believe they live another law of the spirit. The important word here is that He came to “fulfill.” This is different from simply repeating old laws, and different from simply creating completely new ones. If Christ isn’t God, then one does not adopt the central proclamation of Christianity, nor can the Bible serve as a guide for much of anything. Or, in Isaiah: “‘What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?’ says the LORD. But Christians do not follow the old testament in the same way the Jewish people do. There are only two possibilities: If Christ is God, then this way of reading the Bible makes sense and is perfectly consistent with its main premise. It is about bringing the commandments to the purpose they had from the beginning. This article was adapted from Tim Keller’s article, “Old Testament Law and the Change of Inconsistency,” originally published in the Redeemer Report. Jesus affirmed that He was not abolishing everything in the Old Testament: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. What I am finding very confusing from the Christians is that they base their life all on the New Testament, and the New Testament does not have many laws in it. He reaffirmed some portions of the Old Testament, while not binding us to follow everything it contains. When someone questions a particular passage, it’s essential to take the time to understand how it fits into this larger picture. That sacrificial system included a complex set of rules for ceremonial purity and cleanness — you could only approach God in worship if you ate certain foods, wore certain forms of clothing, refrained from touching certain objects, and so on. The New Testament provides further guidance for reading and understanding the Old Testament. Questions about these may come from Christians trying to better understand their faith, or come as challenges from non-Christians. As The Letter to the Hebrews also shows the way that Christ’s offering on the Cross fulfills (and hence replaces) the offerings of animals in the Old Testament. Jesus showed that there were commandments in the Old Testament that flowed in part from hardness of heart. 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