Coral background

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Which Old Testament Laws Still Apply?

I've often wondered what the purpose of the Old Testament is and how much of it still applies (and have even taken a class on this question this semester). Some think it's just to show us how to be "good people," offering up exemplary individuals to model your life after. Some think it's a rule book. And others see it as pointing completely to Jesus.

I believe the entirety of the Old Testament points to the New Covenant God made through Jesus Christ as he took on all our sins and rose again, victorious over death, proving that God wholly accepted his sacrifice. That being said, I don't just straight up chuck the Old Testament.

Aside from pointing to Jesus, the Old Testament has lots of laws that we still follow. Not murdering? It's generally advised. Do not covet? While difficult at times, it is sinful. Not eating shell fish? Ehhh... That's where it gets a little sticky. Camping outside of my house once a month? Like, in a tent? Let's be real, that's definitely not going to happen.

While reading Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll, I stumbled across this wonderful categorization of OT laws, which states which laws apply and which ones don't:
  1. Ceremonial laws - these laws refer "to the priesthood, sacrifices, temple, cleanness, and so forth, [and] are now fulfilled in Jesus. These laws are no longer binding on us because Jesus is our priest, temple, sacrifice, cleanser, and so forth." 
  2. Civil laws - these laws pertain "to the governing of Israel as a nation ruled by God. Since we are no longer a theocracy, we believe these laws, while insightful, are not directly binding on us." Romans 13 refers to non-theocratic governments and how all authority is in place because God allows it to be and therefore, as followers of Jesus, we should submit to governmental authority.
  3. Moral laws - these laws forbid "such things as rape, stealing and murder. These laws are still binding upon us, even though Jesus fulfilled their requirements through His sinless life."
 The New Testament states over and over again how Jesus has fulfilled the law. And he has! Praise the Lord. We are no longer bound by a sacrificial system, because Jesus was the ultimate, eternal sacrifice. We don't have to be represented by a priest because Jesus is our High Priest, the ultimate intermediary between us and God the Father. While the Law has been fulfilled through Jesus, all of it, in its entirety, we still uphold moral laws in order to mirror our understanding of the Gospel.

No comments:

Post a Comment