Laws, Commands, and Errors

Understanding Differences Between Old and New Testament Commands
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).
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Understanding Differences Between Old and New Testament Commands
(1) Acts 10:9-29 confirmed 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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2 comments:

  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.

    ReplyDelete

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