Laws, Commands, and Errors

There is so much confusion between Old and New Testament concepts. It's absolutely essential to understand how Old Testament laws impact New Testament believers .#Bible #BibleLoveNotes

This devotion is important because there's a growing number of groups claiming Christians must obey Old Testament dietary and ceremonial laws. This study will help you understand the purpose and validity of Old Testament laws so you can answer questions and avoid false teachings.

The Old Testament contains sacrificial, dietary, ceremonial, civil, and permanent laws.

Christ fulfilled sacrificial laws that foreshadowed His death (Hebrews 10:1).

Dietary laws were fulfilled when Jesus said, "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth" (Matthew 15:11).(1)

Ceremonial laws reminded Israel of their spiritual history. We can observe feasts and festivals, but these laws also were fulfilled by Christ. Christians have new reminders such as communion and baptism (Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 28:19).

Civil laws governed Israel for a specific time in history. Christians glean principles from these laws but don't obey them.(2)

Permanent, universal laws are confirmed in New Testament commands.

There are a number of groups today claiming that Christians must observe Old Testament ceremonial and dietary laws. This view contradicts Scripture.

Christ didn't delete Old Testament laws. He fulfilled them (Matthew 5:17).(3) Following dietary and ceremonial laws does not make anyone a better Christian (Romans 14:4-6; Colossians 2:16-17).

New Testament commands deal with moral choices, not food or holidays. We obey these commands because we love Jesus (John 14:21; Romans 8:1-17).
There is so much confusion between Old and New Testament concepts. It's absolutely essential to understand how Old Testament laws impact New Testament believers .#Bible #BibleLoveNotes
(1) Acts 10:9-29 confirms this truth.This passage is more fully explained in today's Bite Size Bible Study.

(2) For example, the community was commanded to stone to death adult children who cursed their parents (Leviticus 20:9). There is a principle involved that still applies to us today (honoring parents-Ephesians 6:2), but the punishment was specific to that point in Israel's history. ~ We shouldn't be surprised that not every command is applicable to us today. This happens in the New Testament as well. For example, Christ gave the seventy-two missionaries specific instructions when He sent them out. Their instructions are in the Word of God, but they are not permanent laws for all missionaries or evangelists (Luke 10:1-17). 

(3) Note the context of this statement (Matthew 5:17-48). Christ follows these words by explaining that sin flows from the heart. It's not just about external actions but about thoughts and motives. Christ does not mention sacrificial, dietary, or ceremonial laws in this passage.

See more on this subject:  Which Old Testament Laws Apply Today?
To do a short Bible study on this devotion, check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.

For more on this subject:
"Do Christians Have to Obey Old Testament Law?" and "How Christ Fulfilled the Old Testament" and "Does God Require Obedience to Dietary Laws?"

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  1. Thank you for this post. It gives me a lot to study. I've run into discussions with non believers about some of these points and I'd like to deepen my understanding for next time.

  2. Thank you for this study; it's a subject I'm very interested in. I have these observations to make. The title Laws, Commands and Errors, what errors are you referring to as God doesn't make errors? Re Matthew 5:17, Christ fulfilling the Law doesn't mean we don't have to obey it. If you read further it says "for truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, (when Christ comes back) not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who SETS ASIDE one of the least of these commands and TEACHES others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." We have to read whole chapters to get the context not just pick out one verse which seems to agree with what we want to believe. In Matthew 15:11 how can you be sure Jesus is talking about food when the Pharisees are accusing him of eating with unwashed hands? If Jesus was doing away with the unclean foods law surely he would be more clearer? This passage was to show the Pharisees that tradition is not as important as deeds and loving people. The last verse also says "These (what comes out of a person's heart) are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them". Foods are not mentioned. Also if you dig deep into the passage in Acts it seems to be regarding people and telling us not to differentiate between anybody, (doing away with racism, prejudice etc) that God accepts anyone who fears him and does what is right. I don't think it's literally telling Peter to kill and eat these unclean foods as a meal was being prepared for him. Also in another study you mention only 9 of the "10" commands in Exodus are reiterated in the N.T. Where does it itemise 9 please?

    1. Dear Welshlady,

      We have had similar conversations on a number of my devotions, and I know that you feel strongly about a Saturday Sabbath and several times I have told you that we must agree to disagree. According to Romans 14, I respect your choice to observe a Saturday sabbath, and you are called to respect my choice to observe a Sunday Sabbath.

      You know very well from my devotions, including this one, and from previous comment streams, that I don't think God makes errors. The errors to which I refer in this devotion are ones like you are making - claiming that if we don't observe a Saturday Sabbath, we are disobeying God.

      The New Testament is full of warnings against this kind of law-keeping. I have listed the Scriptures in previous comment responses to you and I will list them again:

      Galatians 4:8-11:
      Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

      I capitalize Sabbath in the verse below, not to shout it at you, but to emphasize that you are violating this passage which very clearly and concisely speaks against the error you are committing:

      Colossians 2:16: Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a SABBATH day.

      You are emphasizing a Saturday Sabbath against the commands of Scripture. And you need to either repent of this sin or you need to find another blog that agrees with your beliefs.

      None of your arguments are Biblical, and that is why nothing you say is going to change my mind. I would quit publishing your comments because they have been so repetitive on my blog, sometimes on posts that aren't even directly addressing Sabbaths, but they provide me an opportunity to share the Scriptures that refute your beliefs.

      I pray that God will direct the energy you spend on Saturday Sabbaths to something that advances His kingdom.

  3. The Law of God in the New Testament

    As related to Commandments
    Exodus 20:3-17

    1. Ex 20:3 See NT Matthew 4:10 You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.
    2. Ex 20:4-6 See “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” I John‬ ‭5:21 and “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Acts‬ ‭17:29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
    3. Ex 20:7 See “That the name of the LORD your God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” 1 Timothy 6:1
    4. Ex 20:8-11 See “He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ There remains therefore a rest [keeping Sabbath,’] for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his work as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:4,9,10
    5. Ex 20:12 See “Honor your father and your mother...” Matthew 19:19
    6. Ex 20:13 See “...’You shall not murder,’...” Romans 13:9
    7. Ex 20:14 See “...’You shall not commit adultery,’...” Matthew 19:18
    8. Ex 20:15 See “...’You shall not steal,’... Romans 13:9
    9. Ex 20:16 See “...’You shall not bear false witness,’...” Romans 13:9
    10. Ex 20:17 See “...’You shall not covet.’” Romans 7:7

    1. As this devotion explains, "Permanent, universal laws are confirmed in New Testament commands."